Firehouse Community Farm
In September 2013, Long Beach firefighters moved of the building at Gundry and 65th Street which they had occupied since the 1930s and into a new facility just a few blocks away.
Their departure from the old Spanish Colonial-style building which is now listed as an Historical Landmark, offered an opportunity that Nehyam Neighborhood Association seized.
The city granted them a lease to create a demonstration climate-friendly mini-park garden with a teaching farm on the grounds of the old fire station.
University of California master gardeners began teaching classes in growing fruits and veggies; they also added new elements to the site what used to be called the North Long Beach Victory Garden, has now recently changed to Firehouse Community Farm.
Firehouse Community Farm now includes ten different fruit trees, a living fence with berries and grapes, a shade garden, pollinator garden, a patio garden, raised-bed gardens and a composting operation. We just added a bee colony in Spring of 2021. In addition we have just added a new Tropical Fruit Tree Orchard next to our raised beds.
The future goals are to rehabilitate the building and utilize the charming interior for classes and community events. Our Master Gardeners have plans to refit the old kitchen and begin partnering with groups to teach food preparation and cooking, from garden to table. For tips on growing your own food with some fantastic recipes , check out our resident cooking teacher Benoist (Benny) Tellier.
The building is widely believed to be haunted by the friendly ghost of John Makemson, a long- time firefighter at the station who died of natural causes in 1988.
Currently, the Firehouse Community Farm Crop Swap gathers every FIRST Saturday of every month starting at 9:30 am till 1:00pm and it draws together backyard farmers from around the area to trade their surplus and share expertise on how to grow and prepare various fruits and veggies.
We like to think that the additional company in the building pleases the ghost of John Makemson.
From left to right; Phil Geisen, Lee White, Melissa Shilling and Jeff Rowe.
Kneeling is Melissa Botten, who used to lead cooking demonstrations and yoga-in-the-field classes.
She has since moved to Oregon.
Growing Fruits and Veggies at Home
District 9 Community Farm, 6509 Gundry at 65th (old fire station)
Welcome to the University of California Master Gardener Victory Garden Program.
We’re part of a statewide effort to encourage people to grow fruits and vegetables at home. It’s fulfilling, healthy and fun. Not only will you experience the taste thrill of freshness and flavor that only just-harvested fruits and veggies can provide, but you also will reduce your grocery bill and turn your yard into a conversation topic.
Each class will include a review of the basics of growing fruits and veggies and then the more specialized topics below. The goal is to help you become a successful home farmer.
Tuition for the entire class series is $55.
UC grants some scholarships; ask us about those.
Here’s our schedule (All classes are on Saturday mornings, 9 am to 11 am):
Class 1 Soil testing, amending and preparation, gauging soil moisture content, cool/warm season crops, seeding and transplanting.
Class 2 Insect posts and plant diseases and how to deal with them; Integrated Pest Management
Class 3 Growing herbs
Class 4 Rotating crops, fruit and veggie “friends.” Low-chill fruit trees.
UC Master Gardeners Lee White, Melissa Shilling, Valerie Uyeda, Stephanie Prien and Jeff Rowe
Feel free to contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 562-343-3834
Class sponsors: LB Fresh, University of California Cooperative Extension
Upcoming Classes: Pruning, composting, grafting, grass-removal techniques, climate friendly gardens, home farm tour including aquaponics and chickens; growing wine grapes