Saturday, December 31, 2011

Food Stories of 2011

As we come to the end of 2011, for my Care2 Healthy Living post this week, I wrote about the big food issue of the year, namely food safety and how it has dominated the news and remains one of the biggest food issues to consumers Top Food Stories of the Year.

Here's to hoping that we finally start getting it in 2012 and make a commitment to supporting and encouraging the development of local, sustainable food!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Make Your Holidays Sustainable!!

Santa Paula Christmas Tree Farm

Here is my Care2 Healthy & Green post for this week. From the tree to the food, yes, you can have a sustainable holiday and here are some tips on how to do that:
4 Easy Ways For A Sustainable Holiday Season

Friday, November 11, 2011

From Fighting To Farming

In honor of Veteran's Day I updated my Fighters to Farmers story I did a couple of years ago about the wonderful work that the Farmer-Veteran Coalition does. They help our veterans heal and also work towards building a healthy and sustainable food system.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

UPDATE 11/11:Tom T. Ishibashi Farm Misc. Equipment & Supplies For Sale

Those of you who follow LA Farm Girl regularly know that not only has it been ages since I have posted, but that I have written much about the wonderful Tom T. Ishibashi Farm @ Torrance Airport and that sadly, Tom passed away in May and his family is finishing out the season since he planned/planted for it.
Tom T. Ishibashi’s farm stand and farm is located at Torrance Airport and is the last farm in Torrance. He was the last farmer from a Japanese American family that has farmed in the South Bay, since the early 1900s mostly on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and in Torrance, the Ishibashi’s have been farming the area at the Torrance Airport for the past 60 years and sadly, with his death, the end of an era and the farm comes.

This means that all of the equipment, etc. has to be sold or disposed of. So, I have offered to help spread the word for them.

UPDATE: The farm is now closed. So, if you are interested in any of the following items they have made an email address available for people interested in finding out more info.

Address: 24955 Crenshaw Boulevard, Torrance, CA

Here’s a list of some of what they have (looking for best offer on most things):

Lug Boxes - They have about 1,000 of them. For those who buy a lot of them, they are asking $5 a box; or if you only want a few, then they are asking for $10 box.

Lug Box

Strawberry Baskets – There are 34 cases of clear plastic type, (Pactiv Brand item # 92519) 4 1/8 x 4 1/8, and are asking $100 per case (1200 in a case).
Clear Strawberry Basket

Tomato Trays – They have about 200 of these

Strawberry Trays - They have about 200 of these

Fruit Trees – They have a Japanese persimmon, 3 olive trees all in ground, and 9-12 fig trees, green figs, not sure of variety but they are all in the ground.

Miscellaneous Farm Equipment & Trucks – They have tractors and trucks that are all different and all different ages, some very old and some not so old.

Tomato Stakes – 5 feet each, they have several hundred of these.

5 Foot Tomato Stakes
Irrigation Pipes - They have narrow ones that are 20 feet in length, and wider ones 10 feet. They also have fittings plus working sprinkler heads.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

30 Years of Good Food

Here's my LA Urban Agriculture Examiner post all about this week's Good Food Festival and Conference in Santa Monica. It runs from Wednesday, September 14 through Sunday, September 18. Come and celebrate Santa Monica Farmers' Market's 30th Anniversary and have yummy food, hear from renowned good food panelists, attend the trade show and learn how to be a better urban farmer!

Check out my story for links and more info. 30 Years of Good Food

Friday, July 15, 2011

Come To Celebrate & Honor The Ishibashi's Farm History on PV Peninsula

It seems that in the past few months, my blog has become very Ishibashi family-centered and sadly, not always with good news about them.

This morning's Daily Breeze has a front page article about plans to sell the family's historic Ishibashi Ranch on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Ishibashi Family Selling Historic Portuguese Bend Ranch.

The 5-acre ranch is part of the land that James' and Tom's father leased in the early 1900s. The Ishibashi's were one of about 40 Japanese American families who farmed the Palos Verdes Peninsula on leased land at the turn of the 20th Century since they were not permitted to own land.

As a way to honor their farming legacy, Sande Ishibashi is having a celebration at the ranch house on Saturday that is open to the public.

Annie's Stand
Here are the details:

What: Celebration at the Ishibashi Ranch

When: Saturday, July 16, 2 p.m.

Where: 5521 Palos Verdes Drive South, Rancho Palos Verdes

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Support the Ishibashi Family and Shop At The Farm Stand!

Today I was at Torrance Memorial Medical Center and for those familiar with the area, you know that it is right across the street from Torrance Airport and the Tom T. Ishibashi Farm.

I parked up on the roof of the parking structure and stopped to look down at Tom's fields and tears came to my eyes when I saw the bounty that was still there and nearly ready, namely the wonderful sweet, white corn that he has become so famous for each summer.

Tom T. Ishibashi's last crop of sweet corn
For a brief moment I forgot that he was gone. It was both comforting and sad to see the farm was still there. Despite the sadness I feel, I am happy that his family is finishing out the season and that the farm stand is still open. So please, go and shop there and support them in this difficult time and give Tom a successful last season.

The Tom T. Ishibashi Farm Stand is located at 24955 Crenshaw Boulevard in Torrance, alongside the Torrance Airport next to Armstrong Nursery.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rest In Peace My Farm Hero, Tom T. Ishibashi

LA Farm Girl is very sad, not only have I lost a wonderful friend, but our community has lost a wonderful farmer, one who cared about not only his land, but the community surrounding it.

He was the last living legacy to our farming past and the contributions of he and his family cannot be understated and must never be forgotten.

I was so privileged to know him and to have him as the "star" of my book. If you are right Tom, then you are reunited with your beloved Maya. I will miss you.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Are You Right For A CSA?

If you are thinking of becoming a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program, you might want to think about if YOU are a good match for one.

Check out my Healthy & Green Living post that asks you to think about the kind of eater you are, the kind of cook, and if you are adventurous enough to join one!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Your Excess Produce Can Help The Hungry

If you are still doing your spring planting and planning your summer garden/farm, you might want to plant an extra row for those who need. New statistics show that LA County leads the nation in the percentage of people who do not have a consistent source of food.

Here's my Care2 Healthy & Green Living post that talks about how to donate and help. We can all make a difference!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy National Agriculture Day

Today, March 15, 2011, is National Agriculture Day. I wrote about the day and what it means to me for my post this week on Healthy & Green Living, in honor of National Agriculture Day.

Monday, February 28, 2011

LA Farm Girl's Post Re: Los Angeles Wine Country!

Some of you know that I not only write about current farming in California and especially here in LA, but that I am obsessed with farm history and am working on a new book about Los Angeles agriculture.

As part of this, I am blogging with my book partner at her UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Los Angeles Agriculture blog.

Here is Part Two of:
"How Los Angeles Became The Commercial Winegrowing Capital of America"

Yes, long before the Napa Valley or Sonoma became the winegrowing meccas that they are, LA was it, a position it held until the late 1800's.

Jean Luis Vignes winery, downtown Los Angeles

I am working on Part 3 so watch for it soon!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Am An Urban Homesteader

It is funny how life turns out, if you would have told me that one day I would even consider referring to myself as an urban homesteader, I would have told you that you were crazy.

I mean I am an LA girl, born and bred. The fact that I am LA Farm Girl is a big enough stretch from who I always thought I would be, but, urban homesteader? Hardly.

First Crop on My Urban Homestead, July '09

But, over the past several years my career as a farm writer (how I got there is a story in and of itself that I will blog about one day) has led me to “walk the walk” instead of just “talking the talk.” It started with me applying to become a University of California Master Gardener, and paying for the privilege of volunteering in the community teaching them to grow their own food. This led me to ask myself; why am I not growing my own food?

Since I am a University of California Certified Master Gardener (yeah, throwing around my “big credentials” at every opportunity) I always like to defer to our parent campus, UC Davis for definitions of things related to gardening and farming, and, it turns out that they actually have one for urban homesteading.

According to UC Davis’ Small Farm Program “an urban homestead is a household that produces a significant part of the food, including produce and livestock, consumed by its residents. This is typically associated with residents’ desire to live in a more environmentally conscious manner.”

While I am a long way off from producing a “significant” amount of our food, especially the livestock part, I do plant more each year and I do it in an environmentally conscious way.

How? Well, two summers ago after getting tired of hearing me express my desire to grow my own food, my dear hubby ripped out half of our back lawn and built me the most beautiful raised bed garden, complete with a beautiful basket weave fence and gate around it.

At the time we needed the gate to keep our sweet lab out. Sadly, a few months after it was built we lost her, so now the gate just looks pretty and somehow makes me feel as if she’s out there with me when I am working in the garden just like she used to be.

Ms. Maggie in newly built and planted raised bed garden, June '09
Not only do I now have a dedicated space to grow my own veggies, but we got rid of much of our wasteful lawn, and replaced it with the raised beds that have a drip irrigation system, and that use only organic soil amendment and compost.

Another way I garden with the environment in mind is by using only non GMO, non-treated, open pollinated seeds, preferably heirloom varieties, and transplants of the same.

This year I am going to plant some more burpless cucumbers, lollipop heirloom tomatoes, and other heirloom tomatoes. french baby carrots, pole beans, and for the first time, sugar baby watermelons from Baker Creed Seeds.

August 12, 2010 Harvest
I am not as self-sufficient as many of my other urban homesteading friends are and I probably will never be. But, each year I make more progress in weaning myself from the grid and slowing down my pace, and my dependence on a food system that frankly scares the hell out of me.

My next goal on the road to more self-sufficiency is preserving more of my own food, I just barely scratched the surface last year, and have invested in some canning tools to help make this happen this year.

So, on this, the Urban Homesteaders Day of Action, I want to suggest that you join me by becoming an urban homesteader and discover the joys of growing your own food at your own urban homestead.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stand Up "Urban Homesteaders"

Not sure how many of you are aware of a brewing controversy but there's a Los Angeles area urban farm that has said that it has trademarked the terms "Urban Homestead" and "Urban Homesteading." There's a great blog post about it here, on the OC Weekly.

So, some very upset Urban Homesteaders have created a Facebook Fan page so that we can take back our term and they are asking people to go and like it. Here's the link:
Take-Back-Urban-Home-Steadings Facebook Fan Page

Oh, and here's the profile photo that they created for this fan page, I love it:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

SLOLA: Saving Seeds For The Future - Los Angeles Urban Agriculture |

Here is my latest post from my Los Angeles Urban Agriculture Examiner page, all about Seed Library of Los Angeles (SLOLA). Come and join this awesome group at their monthly meeting this Saturday, January 15 at 2:30 p.m. at Learning Garden at Venice High School. Help them "grow" and save the seeds of our future!

SLOLA: Saving Seeds For The Future - Los Angeles Urban Agriculture