Saturday’s Tuscan-themed Dinner Helps Convert Vacant Lots to Community Gardens

Long Beach Organic, a local non-profit organization which transforms vacant lots into low-cost community gardens, is offering a Tuscan-inspired dinner to the public on Saturday, July 28th at 6pm at a private residence in the Bluff Heights neighborhood.

Titled “Bella Notte: An Evening in Tuscany,” the event features live parlor jazz music by The Funny Valentines, a dance floor, silent auction with many local businesses contributing and table drinks to accompany the five-course meal.

pictured, offerings from the last fundraiser dinner.

Garden Director Joe Corso described the menu as “inspired by the cuisine of Tuscany, which relies on simple preparations and the freshest ingredients. It was dictated by what is in season at the peak of summer. Vine-ripened tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, corn, and bushels of fresh herbs. We’ve made some special plantings for the event, and gardeners our many community gardens will be donating produce from their own plots.”

pictured, Joe Corso’s vegetable-based pasta noodles

Long Beach Organic currently provides gardening space for more than 200 local families in their seven community gardens across the city. Check out this feature video we created on their efforts at South 40 Garden.

Founded in 1994 by Charles Moore, the organization’s impacts have been far-reaching, remediating soil and improving the local environment through eco-conscious designs that include ponds, bees and pollinator-friendly plants, as well as providing volunteer and member-driven learning opportunities that range from organic pest control to cultural approaches to preparing garden produce for the table.

Janesse Roberts, a Long Beach Organic member, speaks to the impact that the organization has for her personally, stating: “My community garden has been my therapy and helps me get my hands dirty which helps me positively know where my veggies come from. For the first time ever I am planting potatoes in my garden and that’s very exciting!  Since I’ve been physically challenged (I have had a stroke), it has been difficult to prepare the foods I use to. The clean and healthy dishes and special menu prepared by the chefs at our fundraisers are very inspiring!”

Attendees can reserve a seat and receive payment information by contacting Tickets can be reserved individually with a cash-deductible donation of $105 per person, or $800 for a table of eight. Becoming a Long Beach Organic member for two years reduces the cost to $95 per person. All proceeds go to help LBO meet its operating costs as they continue to provide organic gardening space for Long Beach residents. Those who want to support the organization but cannot attend the event may donate at

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