Urban Farm Movement is Thriving in Altadena and Pasadena

By MEREDITH McKENZIE

Sunday, May 17, 2015 | 1:06 am

Riding Down Loma Alta

2042 Maiden Lane-MLS-025

McDonalds Farm

Long before the current California state drought emergency, local individuals and families quietly started purchasing property – or renovating their current home – into urban farms and homesteads throughout Altadena and Pasadena. Driven by a desire for resilient and sustainable living, these urban farmers grow their own food, recycle their on-site water usage whenever possible, raise animals, landscape with native plants and often work from home.

Ophelia the Goat

Ophelia the Goat

Over the past eight years, this small band of pioneers has grown into a large network of people who care about healing the earth, feeding their families healthy food and living a right livelihood.

Today, such urban farms as Pasadena’s Urban Homestead, an early leader in this movement, and Altadena’s Mariposa Creamery, Panther Ridge Farm, Rancho Dorado Capra Diem, and McDonalds Farm strive to raise chickens and goats, create permaculture food gardens, and trade/swap goods and services as often as possible through such groups as RIPE (Residents In-Season Produce Exchange).

These farmers have also helped spawn such organizations as the A.R.R.O.Y.O. Time Bank, Transition Pasadena, and the Arroyo Food Co-Op while supporting local Pasadena Farmer’s Markets and, in particular, the Altadena Farmer’s Market, quickly developing into a weekly organic food and family gathering center with picnicking on the grounds of Loma Alta Park.

Newer regulations help as well. It is now legal to own backyard chickens (but not roosters!) in Pasadena and recent green building ordinances support the use of on-site renewable energy and greywater systems.

Altadena in particular has become the hub of the local urban farm/homestead movement, due to its agricultural community tradition, its larger parcels zoned for domestic livestock, and its long-time creative/artistic ‘vibe.’ In addition to urban homesteads with backyard chickens and goats, Altadena is still home to more than 150 horses, boarded at three stables and several backyard barns. It’s common to see horsemen and horse women riding along Loma Alta Drive on their way to the public equestrian arena.

Though urban farms are growing in popularity, the availability of usable and affordable land space for these homesteaders is quickly diminishing, as property prices rapidly increase and larger scale parcels are sold to non-farmers seeking to build their dream McMansions.

Today’s Altadena/Pasadena urban homestead community continues a long tradition of community building and self-sufficiency in our region, allowing families to live close to the land and nature yet in close proximity to the heartbeat of urban culture.

For more about the organization mentioned above, see:

Pasadena’s Urban Homestead
https://www.facebook.com/urbanhomestead
https://twitter.com/urbanhomestead
http://urbanhomestead.org/

Altadena’s Mariposa Creamery
http://mariposacreamery.com
https://www.facebook.com/MariposaCreamery

Panther Ridge Farm
http://pantherridgefarm.org/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Panther-Ridge-Farm/295842377216550

Rancho Dorado Capra Diem – no website and facebook

RIPE (Residents In-Season Produce Exchange)
http://www.ripealtadena.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RIPEAltadena

A.R.R.O.Y.O. Time Bank
https://www.facebook.com/arroyotimebank/info?tab=page_info
http://arroyoseco.timebanks.org/page/about-neighborhoods

Transition Pasadena
http://www.transitionpasadena.org/
https://www.facebook.com/TransitionPasadena

Arroyo Food Co-Op
https://www.arroyofoodcoop.com/index.html
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Arroyo-Food-Co-op/133889070154

Pasadena Farmers Market
http://www.pasadenafarmersmarket.org/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pasadena-Farmers-Market/133188605508

Altadena Farmer’s Market
http://altadenafarmersmarket.com/
https://www.facebook.com/AltadenaFarmersMarket

About the Author: A graduate of Loyola Law School, Meredith McKenzie delivers ethically-driven, top-drawer professional real estate service to her seller and buyer clients. Her practice, based in Pasadena, covers a wide variety of real estate transactions through the Arroyo Seco corridor, which spans from Downtown Los Angeles throughout Northeast Los Angeles to Pasadena and Altadena.

A 23-year real estate veteran, Meredith works with both residential and commercial clients, including individuals, corporations, and non-profit institutions. Recognized numerous times for her outstanding real estate sales production, Meredith was honored in 2013 as a Podley Pasadena Top Ten Associate and in 2011 as one of the Fabulous 50 Women of Pasadena by THE Magazine.

Meredith holds certificates in corporate relocation, luxury/estate home marketing, and second home/vacation properties. An avid equestrian, Meredith is known for her commitment to sustainability, urban homesteading and the ‘green’ lifestyle.

In addition to her real estate practice, Meredith is an expert in urban river revitalization and teaches environmental planning at Cal Poly Pomona. She is affectionately known as the Arroyo Lover for her commitment to restoring the Arroyo Seco to its natural habitat.

Meredith may be reached at (626) 243-4330 or arroyolover@gmail.com. Her website is www.meredithmckenzie.com.

 

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