GIVE Urban Farms originated in 2013 when Les Hamasaki, a sustainably-minded urban planner, joined Union Church L.A. and met its pastor, Rev. Tim Yee. Inspired by the church’s vision to serve its immediate Little Tokyo and Skid Row neighborhoods, and seeing the potential of the location and property of the church building, Les suggested a wild idea of starting an urban garden on the church property using the water-wise Tower Garden technology. Les donated his tower garden and for over a year, the church benefited from local vegetables grown from their very own garden. Later, Rev. Yee joined the team and the vision grew to include training for the many job-ready homeless in Skid Row, veterans, and local seniors in the neighborhoods. Eventually, the idea spread to Rae Huang, a new Los Angeles transplant who had experience in non-profit administration, fundraising, and grant-writing. Finally, in October 2015, Les, Tim, and Rae decided to take the plunge and start applying for grants, sharing their vision with others, and building capacity for a new non-profit. In January 2016, they received two generous grants from the Presbyterian Church (USA), which jumpstarted their project and is moving them forward today. Originally called, Green Institute for Village Empowerment (G.I.V.E.), they changed their name to Give Urban Farms in 2016.