My Story


Long Beach, California. I would like to call it home, my final destination after over 40 years of searching. Despite being a very large city, it has a very different feel. There are many different neighborhoods and they all have their own unique character. Several are cozy and quaint. I live in the historic Rose Park neighborhood in district 2. It includes friendly people of many different ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I love Long Beach, the beach itself, the climate, the architecture, the abundance of community gardens and parks, the numerous farmers markets, several fabulous restaurants, and the people. It gives one the feeling that Long Beach is a progressive, inclusive, diverse place to live. They key word is inclusive, more than just merely tolerant, but instead welcoming with open arms. However, recently I have experienced and/or witnessed many forms of bigotry and intolerance in my beloved Long Beach, making me question whether this feeling is merely an illusion. I would like to fix this in my own way.

The first issue that I wish to tackle is that of intolerance towards backyard urban agriculture in Long Beach, and all of the rules present in the municipal code that make such an endeavor nearly impossible, despite the agricultural past of this city. Basically, I would like to raise my own happy healthy free-range organic chickens as pets and for their eggs, and I would like to raise my own happy healthy Nigerian dwarf lap goats as pets and for their milk. This is being permitted in several other big cities with minimal restrictions, including San Francisco, Oakland, Pasadena, Seattle, and Portland OR. However, one of my neighbors has put an end to this bit of happiness that I have been making, and that I need to make, for myself and for my family. Your neighbors should not have so much power.

Please read the other pages of this LONG BEACH GROWS website to learn more about the benefits of urban agriculture, including raising your own chickens and goats. I hope that my audience will include people like me that wish to provide better for their families, policy-makers so that they can make decisions based on facts rather than on misinformation, misconception, or prejudice, and anyone who wishes to learn more about the benefits of backyard urban agriculture and other activities that enhance and grow our communities by ensuring local food security.

Yours sincerely,

Donna Marykwas