live Finalist / 2019
San Pedro Public Orchard
We want to create a public orchard on an unused strip of City property in San Pedro. The public orchard will serve not only as a free source of food for the community, but also as a gathering place to honor, educate, and continue San Pedro’s rich history and culture of food cultivation. The underutilized site is currently a blighted strip of land choked with weeds and litter, but spectacular views of the port and a central location give it landmark potential.
What does your organization do?
Green Girl Farms grows produce in empty spaces and distributes it to the community through donations and produce stands. We build viable, environmentally sound, socially just community food systems.
Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.
- San Pedro Bay Historical Society
- Feed and Be Fed
- The Garden Church
Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.
Lara Hughey wanted to grow her own food, but found the space and opportunities for urban apartment dwellers difficult to find. Unfazed by these obstacles, she started her own system. Lara began a container garden at a local preschool and and planted food in her sidewalk parkway. Soon she was filling containers with edibles anywhere she could get permission. In one garden, Lara heard a little girl squeal with delight. She had just tasted something but didn’t know what it was. Lara explained that it was a yellow cherry tomato. The girl didn’t know tomatoes could be that size or color. Lara knew her hobby had become impactful and important work. She realized growing food and working with nature is empowering for everyone, and that the entire community longs for more opportunities to do so. She dedicated herself to gardening for the community while educating herself. She became a Certified Master Gardener in 2012, and founded Green Girl Farms in 2014.
Today, Green Girl Farms has increased our community’s ability to interact with growing food and cultivates the freshest possible produce at a socially equitable and affordable price. The organization has created stand-alone edible gardens in public spaces that collectively and annually draw in over ten thousand visitors, produce over five thousand pounds of sustainably grown produce that is distributed in our community, and diverts over three thousand pounds of food waste from landfills that is instead turned into compost that continues to nourish the gardens. Each of these projects has created a tremendous impact in our community. People are thankful to have a green space designed to be consumed, and surprised and delighted by the freshness and flavor of the food grown at Green Girl Farms. As Lara maintains her constellation of project gardens that were once empty lots or unused space, she is constantly reminded by the community what an impact she has made. Parents and teachers use her farm as a classroom. Local restaurants are thrilled to have a farm to table option. Volunteers help keep the farm running and take home fresh vegetables to feed their families. Lara Hughey saw a need in her community, and grew it into an opportunity for everyone.
Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?
- Access to healthy food
- Number of households below the self-sufficiency standard
- Tree canopy cover
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- South Bay
- San Pedro
How will your project make LA the best place to live?
The year of LA2050 funding will be spent in the following ways: We will employ a diversified team to oversee the project’s management and timeline, city, county and state compliance, and coordination of volunteers and partners. We will execute a multi-pronged community outreach and engagement strategy that includes our local councils, organizations, social media, and neighborhood events. Green Girl Farms will leverage the support of our collaborative partners to increase engagement, volunteers, and the collection of both monetary and in-kind donations.
San Pedro has a highly diverse population and the residents in the proposed project area are considered disadvantaged by many of Los Angeles city metrics. According to the California Disadvantaged Health Index, the neighborhood has a score of 4 out of 100 in the areas of Economic and Health Improvement Need. Over half the renter households spend over 30% of their income on rent, and half the population under the age of 64 have incomes twice below the Federal Poverty Line. Nearly 25% of the people in this neighborhood lack health insurance.
Outreach June-August 2019
Door to door conversations, pop up events, neighborhood fruit picks, garden swaps, farmers markets, walking tours, site cleanup, social media campaigns, surveys, guerilla marketing and town hall meetings will comprise our diverse outreach phase. Through this work we intend to understand the priorities of every stakeholder in the area and consider them in our implementation plan.
Project Design September-December 2019
We will assess data collected during our community outreach phase, refine project design and timeline, and finalize proposal with the community, local agencies and contributing partners.
Green Girl Farms will obtain permits, materials and equipment. Our volunteer pipeline will be activated to clear, prep and plant the fruit forest. Leadership will set up a Board and sustaining partnerships to implement continued maintenance, timeline and systems for stewardship, harvest, distribution and local food system education.
The fruit forest will help make LA the best place to LIVE by helping people rethink our food system. We seek to normalize fruit picking as a supplement to grocery shopping. In a place where so much food grows on trees, education about cultivation and gleaning is paramount to alleviating issues of food waste and food insecurity. We will identify barriers to fresh produce and educate residents about food gathering opportunities available through Green Girl Farms programs. Participation in the cultivation and harvest of fruit trees in our neighborhood will not only improve our tree canopy cover by upwards of 20 trees, but will make a measurable increase in our self sufficiency rating. Data collection will measure community participation, food harvest, and distribution to show the fruit forest’s progress in making Los Angeles a healthier place to LIVE.
In what stage of innovation is this project?
Pilot project (testing a new idea on a small scale to prove feasibility)
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
Success of our project will be defined by public participation and measured in food distribution and consumption, as well as through goal metrics. In our community engagement phase, we will identify and collate the needs of the community in order to inform our project physical plan and design. As the project moves forward, we will measure participation in the community by engagement in events and build days. Further on in the process, an activated volunteer team will be responsible for the project’s continued success and measurements. This will include measuring number of visitors and volunteers, tracking fruit harvest in weight and distribution, and tracking outreach strategies including website visits, newsletter opens, and social media engagement data. As well, the public orchard will continue to grow its collaborative partnerships to include other like-minded organizations and continue fundraising efforts to ensure long-term sustainability. There are currently no trees at our chosen location, and we estimate to add about twenty to the tree canopy of our neighborhood. By normalizing fruit picking we hope to increase our resident’s self sufficiency rating substantially while measurably increasing access to healthy food.