While I may not have a green thumb (yet), I very much appreciate the art of farming and gardening. Yes, I said art. Because it is very much an art. And sadly, in our mass-produced, quantity-over-quality world, small farms (especially in urban areas) are on the decline.
Imagine my delight and surprise, when I learned about Farm Lot 59 in nearby Long Beach, California from an in-the-know friend. After doing a bit of research (ok, Instagram stalking), I asked if they would partner with us on Beyond Inspiration (our event that just happened last weekend — recap to come soon!).
The lovely Sasha Kanno, founder and farmer at Farm Lot 59 graciously loaded us up with beautiful flowers for our event. It was super special for me to have them come from a woman farmer who believes in sustainability and very much practices what she preaches.
Today, you’re getting a behind-the-scenes peek at Sasha’s life, work and all of the love, sweat and tears that go into the making of an urban farm. I hope you enjoy it! xo
I’m so thrilled to have discovered you thru Rachel (our Beyond Inspiration Event Director) and am beyond grateful to be able to partner with you on such an event and help share the beauty of what you do down in Long Beach, with our readers! So, let’s start at the beginning, tell us, who you are and what do you do + create + love?
My name is Sasha Kanno and I’m the founder and farmer at Farm Lot 59. I grew up in St. Augustine Florida, the oldest city in the nation. It was a nice mix of Florida country and beachy surf life. My Dad raised us with a garden and fruit trees in the yard, so I was always surrounded by home grown edibles.
I moved to Steamboat Springs and worked on a cattle ranch for a few years until my tropical roots took me to Hawaii. I lived most of my 20’s on the islands and learned the trade of floral design. I met my husband and we moved to Southern California in 2002. I will always love Hawaii, but I think I truly am a Cali girl!
We bought a cute little house in 2007 and I started a community garden. After running the garden for 2 years, I realized I wanted to have a real working farm. My film industry experience and design skills made the process a little easier, but I learned how to farm by teaching myself. There was nothing like this already happening in Long Beach so I went for it!
So cool, I love that you just jumped right in! Can you tell us a bit about what’s important about the work you guys are doing and give us some insight into your mission?
We teach the importance of farming and food. Where it comes from and how it’s grown is super important. We also host field trips, classes, workshops. A lot of times it’s the first time people have been on a farm. Its small but packs a mighty punch! We even create local green jobs for people in our community. I feel like we make a difference in our local and global community by what we’re doing.
Your mission is no doubt worthwhile (and so necessary in the world today), so thank you! But I know it must not all be unicorns and rainbows. How do you stay motivated and inspired in work/life, when things aren’t going so well?
It’s always summer here so it does get a little tiresome physically, but the motivation comes from the product we are producing. Our produce is specialty, rare, and in some cases endangered varieties. We only grow the best. We do it for the food.
I love that (“We do it for the food” – I feel like that’s a t-shirt waiting to happen). 🙂 What does it mean to you, to live a life and have a business WITH SOUL?
It’s not enough to work hard and think that’s going to be enough. You have to put everything into whatever you are doing. We grow our soil biodynamically, we nurture it and take care of our little patch of earth. The beautiful vegetables we grow are the byproduct of the beautiful soil.
Besides the food (and the soil), what gets you out of bed every morning?
I have a 4-year-old son that is the light of my life. He is my best farmer and wakes up smiling every day. After breakfast, we head to the farm and start our day. I love getting to see the farm with fresh eyes every single day.
So cute, I love that! Speaking of seeing with fresh eyes, I’m a big believer that our six senses are a pathway to fulfillment and joy. What are your feelings about this idea?
I believe that life’s experiences make who you are. Travel on a whim, eat nourishing food, live a well-rounded life of love and happiness.
If someone was headed to your town (Long Beach, CA) to visit, what are the top 3 spots you send them?
- The Aquarium
- Farm Lot 59 (of course)
- Restauration (for great eats)
We’re big birthday (month) fans around here – what’s your dream way to spend a birthday?
On the beach with friends. Drinks and cold fried chicken!
Nice, that sounds about perfect! I’m curious, what are you working on right now that feels like a celebration?
We are working toward building a children’s space at the farm. Somewhere we can have the little ones touch, grow, plant and explore safely. It will greatly change the dynamic of the farm to have this little Children’s Garden built.
If you knew then, what you know now — what message would you have for your younger self?
Stand up for yourself and know that’s its ok to say No. Respect your personal space and be a confident woman. And travel more!
And finally — what is one thing you know to be true?
That my kid loves me and I am the best mom I can be.
. . . . . .
As you can see, Sasha is a woman on a mission and a beautiful one at that. It’s so inspiring to see someone take hold of their dream and make it happen. Thank you for helping to make your corner of the world a healthier and more vibrant place to live! And thank you for your support of The Girl Who Knows and our recent Beyond Inspiration event!
Head over to check out Farm Lot 59 and learn more about sustainability and biodynamic farming. And of course, if you’re in the LA-area head over to Long Beach and check out the great work Sasha and her team are doing in their community.
Photos courtesy of Sasha Kanno