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The CityFarm is an Agricultural Haven on a Hill

Glassell Park's City Farm grew from local man's effort to provide healthier food for his family.

About eight years ago, in preparation for the birth of his daughter, Reies Flores of Glassell Park began a small garden in his backyard. He started with some basic fruits and vegetables and a few chickens.

 “I had read about all that was going on in the food industry and I wanted to provide her with something better,” Flores said.

Now, almost by happenstance, that personal initiative has flourished and Flores is sharing his locally raised bounty with a growing number of his Northeast Los Angeles neighbors.

He is the man behind The CityFarm, a modest agricultural industry operating on one acre of land off Loma Lada Drive, nestled between Glassell Park and Mount Washington.

Born and raised in Glassell Park, Flores leased the hillside real estate about one year ago from his neighbor, artist Yoshua Okon, who had purchased it in an effort to prevent development.

Along with Daniel Moreno, owner of DTM Construction in Mount Washington, Flores took a slow and steady approach to establishing The CityFarm.

“We tried to do everything at the lowest cost possible," Moreno said. "We found a great deal on a fence in Brentwood through Craigslist. The only catch was we had to go the guy’s place and take it down ourselves. So, this has been done through a lot of sweat equity.”

Moreno volunteers his skills to the farm, which he considers a labor of love.

“It’s so beautiful up here,” he said.

The CityFarm is currently home to about 30 chickens and eight ducks. In terms of flora, Flores has planted gopher resistant olive and citrus plants, the roots of which are either too bitter or too sour for the hungry pests. Flores has also planted figs, mulberry and pomegranates.

Sumac and Lemonade Berry  are also prevalent on the land as well, the latter of which provides a surprisingly bittersweet treat to visitors.

Despite the lack of aggressive marketing, The CityFarm has caught on with Flores’ neighbors. The normally abandoned lot at the end of Loma Lada Drive was packed with cars on a recent Sunday afternoon and several more pedestrians filed into the farm to purchase fresh eggs.

Others, mostly those with young children, camped out near the ducklings for extended fawning sessions.

Flores said that, while he indeed hopes his egg trade will be profitable, lookie loos are more than welcome, too.

A substitute teacher at , Flores said he makes a conscious effort to educate visitors about sustainable agriculture.

“We want to help people experience nature, and we want to educate them about how what they are getting here is better for the animals, and better for them, than what they are used to getting.”

Jenny Rivera, Flores’ wife, runs an educational booth with their daughter Malia, which provides visitors with various egg related factoids, which range from cute to downright illuminating.

Did you know, for example, that if an egg floats, it’s probably rotten?

Among those who had made to trip to the farm on Sunday was Max Haberman, a longtime Mount Washington local who said she’s been walking in the neighborhood for years, but only recently discovered City Farm.

“I’ve lived here for 21 years and I usually walk down to the lot and then turn around because there’s graffiti tagged everywhere,” Haberman said. “I’m thrilled. I can’t wait to go home and bake with duck eggs.”

Despite the growing popularity of City Farm, Flores’ has remained as modest in his mission as he was nearly a decade ago when he began readying a fresh harvest for Malia.

“I know I can’t feed everybody, but I can feed some people in this corner of Los Angeles,” he said. “That’s a good start.”

jenny rivera May 02, 2011 at 07:28 PM
Thank you so much for coming on Sunday! We were a tad worried that either no one was going to show up, or we would need crowd control. We were happily shocked when people showed up before were all set up. It's so great to see people wanting to eat locally, healthily, and ethically. My husband is an awesome visionary with a grounded soul. It's hard to keep up, but he's very inspirational. ~Jenny Rivera-Flores
jennifer kelly May 02, 2011 at 08:19 PM
What are the days/hours for visitors to the farm?
Reies Flores May 03, 2011 at 09:36 PM
Hi Jennifer, Hi Jennifer. We haven't set up a day for visitors yet. We're still recovering from the open house which was quite a large turnout. We're thinking of maybe having the farm open for a few hours the first Sunday of each month but nothing is finalized yet. For now we're working on a FB page for photos and info under the name The Cityfarm. You can also e-mail me at thecityfarm@hotmail.com for info if you'd like. Thanks for your interest. -Reies Flores
David Fonseca (Editor) May 03, 2011 at 10:26 PM
Thanks for commenting, Reies! When your Facebook page is up and running, please do send us a link.
Reies Flores May 06, 2011 at 05:56 PM
Thanks to everyone who e-mailed me about the Cityfarm. We're still trying to sort out egg orders, a possible website and our next farm visit. In the meantime we set up a FB page which we will use for distributing info and that documents some of the last year on the Cityfarm. If you want to check it out or even like it, here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Cityfarm/207161779318821 Thanks again.
judith amdur March 26, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Hi! What happened to the sheep? We haven't seen them for awhile... Judith judith_amdur@yahoo.com
Reies Flores March 28, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Hi Judith! The sheep are still there, they have been in their barn due to the rain and mud as well as for their new found appetite for citrus leaves! I've got to wrap the remaining trees with netting before they get their free roaming priveledges back. Until then they just have supervised outings. They'll be out soon, though, I should get everything done by this weekend. Thanks for asking!
Gordon Milligan September 20, 2012 at 03:52 PM
My wife is trying to talk me into going with her to LA sometime in Nov. of this year. If I do come out I would love to come visit your City Farm. I am a beginning farmer that has a farm blog and I have already done a post about a Farm in the city of Chicago called City Farm http://milligansganderhillfarm.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/city-farm/ I would also like to do a post about your farm. Anyway I could get a visit of your farm when I am out there? It will be at the end of the week if I come and I can be there during regular working hours or in the evening, what ever works for you. Thanks, Gordon

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