Meet Teague Weybright & Ocean View Farms
Ocean View Farms
Ocean View Farms is a picturesque garden, right across from the Santa Monica Airport. If you didn’t know where to look, it’s easy to pass by. However, once you enter through the steep driveway, it explodes into a fruitful and colorful landscape. The farm spreads around six acres, with a little bit of land left that they are waiting to develop into more garden space. Ocean View has been around for 38 years, starting back in 1977. The farm currently sports 500 plots and nearly 400 gardeners. While newcomers are given one plot, some people have stuck around since the beginning with three or four, and some have been grandfathered into garden plots. It’s called Ocean View for a reason — at any point on the farm, you can see the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
While most gardeners tend to their own plots of land, there are community fruit trees that are sprinkled around the farm. You can pick a handful of fruit at a time from the bountiful mulberry, fig, and citrus trees they grow. They run a pretty impressive compost operation, with the City of Los Angeles donating truckloads of horse manure for them to use. Their compost is mostly made of leftover greens from the gardeners, mixed with the manure. Wheelbarrows are available for gardeners to take the compost to their garden plots. Ocean View also makes its own mulch — they collect extra wood from around the farm and process it through the chipper regularly for gardeners to line the paths. Ocean View Farms is a remarkably sustainable operation, where the green waste from the garden operates in a cycle, allowing for the produce to flourish. The gardeners there are also a charitable bunch. Every Sunday, a group of volunteers collect and clean excess produce from the gardeners to bring to food pantries on the West Side of Los Angeles. The waitlist to get a plot at Ocean View is around four years, according to Teague, and it’s easy to see why. The location is beautiful, the people are friendly, and the soil there reaps a
wonderful harvest, year-round.
Teague Weybright has served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Community Garden Council for many years. He joined while he was running the L.A. Conservation Corps’ community garden development program. Teague is an Indiana native, where farming and gardening run in his blood. He recalls his love of gardening being born on his family’s 100-year-old Homestead Farm, where he gardened alongside his grandmother — gaining a lasting respect for the Earth’s bounty. Teague later spent two years in West Africa working for the Peace Corps before working with the L.A. Conservation Corps for nine years. When he married and had two girls, he chose to spend more time with his family and he now works for the Santa Monica school district doing outdoor and farm education with elementary schools.
Teague has been at Ocean View Farms for ten years, although he is quick to clarify that “the plot mostly belongs to my wife, I’m just here watering today.” The family plot is filled with herbs, kale varieties, berries, tomatoes, and flowers. The plot is maybe 10×10, but Teague and his wife have utilized every square inch it has to offer. Teague knows all of his garden neighbors, saying hello to them as they pass by and accepting samples of produce from their gardens. As we walk, Teague points to a plot across the way, “This man is amazing, he always has something growing.” And it’s true, there’s lettuce growing out of hollow bricks. Teague’s two daughters, now 7 and 9, accompany him today, picking berries and running around Ocean View Farms playing in the dirt. Gardening is part of his parenting philosophy, Teague comments that “Kids won’t be happy if they’re not in the dirt.” He’s grateful for his place in Santa Monica and his plot here at Ocean View, “There are not many places in cities that kids can run around and get dirty in,” he says. And he’s right, his children beg him for figs and play in the dirt, which is a rare sight in Los Angeles. Teague is lucky that his work has allowed him to be this involved with his children, and it is something to aspire to. He has me help shovel compost at one point, and gives me some kale to take home at the end of our day. Teague is the picture-perfect community gardener — he cares deeply about his family and the planet, wanting to pave the way for a greener urban landscape.
By Vik Bensen