One of my earliest memories is of Bill Clinton talking about DOMA on the news. I saw two women kiss and eagerly asked my mom “Can a girl marry a girl?!” She replied “In some states, yes.”
At that moment I was both excited and perplexed. I thought “Wow, love is limitless!” followed by “Why isn’t it allowed everywhere?” The topic didn’t come up again until I was bullied in middle school for being queer, despite not having come out yet. This kept me in the closet even through high school where I was involved in various forms of activism, namely environmental and human rights. I was honored to receive awards my graduating year for my justice work and community service.
I came out just months before darting off to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. I served as a member of Pride Union, the campus’ LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, for two years before being elected as the Director of Public Relations, then as the Vice President the following year. Some of the highlights of my work include initiating a volunteer program and collaborating with local organizations. Pride Union received awards in cultural diversity and programming excellence during my years of leadership. I was involved in many other student organizations, including the rugby team and Alpha Phi Omega. Throughout college, I worked a handful of jobs including as a supervisor at the campus cafe. I didn’t realize how much I loved making lattes and macchiatos until I left. There is something quaint and homey about the late night coffeehouse environment.
After earning my bachelors in conservation biology, I moved to the Santa Cruz area to work. Conservation work is a labor of love. My dreams of operating a wildlife nonprofit seemed bleak with the incredibly low wages. I started to brainstorm ways to solve this, while noticing more localized problems: Santa Cruz doesn’t have any queer bars, cafes close rather early, pets are often welcomed but rarely offered their own menu.
The more I dreamt of the idea, the more passionate I became. I researched the processes and drew up the first drafts of the business plan. Through Cabrillo College and MPC, I took courses in business, communications, and anthropology. I am currently working on a graduate certificate in nonprofit management at Harvard University.
All of this led to the Neighbor’s. On a personal scale, it blends all of my passions — LGBTQ+ community, conservation, socially responsible companies, community service, and pet-friendly businesses. It pays a little homage to my hometown and the City of Good Neighbors, Buffalo, NY while serving my new hometown of Santa Cruz. On a larger scale, it provides solutions to local and global issues. It offers an inclusive menu, late hours, and gives back to local and global communities.
Thank you for your time and support!
♥ Frankie Lynn Farr