New TA, New Tour!

Matty B here! I’m a new team member of Compass Green and will be filling y’all in on the latest and greatest of the Pacific Northwest Tour.  Before we delve into the meat of the post I should remember my manners and introduce myself. I grew up in the suburbs of LA&SF and had a mother with a passion for travel; hence, this Compass Green tour was a perfect fit for my newfound passion for sustainable agriculture and seeing the world. Justin and I found each other near the tail end of my GROW BIOINTENSIVE internship with John Jeavons. Previously I was a senior at University of the Pacific majoring in Environmental Science fell for food after a California Flora class and laboring through rewarding garden research. Through connections within the department and “gifter” of the collegiate garden, Walter Robb, I encountered an opportunity to become immersed in agri-culture of Northern California on the beautiful Ridgewood Ranch (home of Seabiscuit). There is the skinny on me and now time to get to the first days of CG’s Pacific NW Tour.

Thursday October 9th we hit the road out of Sacramento heading up to Talent, Oregon. Getting fueled up with waste veggie oil in Sactown was nothing short of full overall-ed grease-monkey madness. A few ruined articles of clothing and several cubies later, we topped off the tanks and hit I-5. After a couple hours of road dog talk our rumbling tummies landed us at an Olive Pit stop to sample Sacramento’s best, I recommend the stuffed Red African peppers. Dusk was in the air as we trucked on to Ashland. It’s worth mentioning the Black Sheep British Pub with the most amazing made-to-order scones with clotted-cream n’ raspberry that we winded down at after bombing up from Sacramento. We finally arrived at our first crash pad, a redone garage into a fab single with some friendly neighbor ducks.

Friday morning we stopped at Oregon’s Right 2 Know campaign headquarters to pick up some lit to help Oregonians make an educated decision in November, we were back on the highway and setting sights for our first workshop as part of The Good Life sustainability conference on the Linfield College campus in McMinnville, OR. We arrived at the tail-end of the first conference day and caught the eye of a few stragglers who expressed interest in the glowing mobile greenhouse. One frustrating, and almost alienating, fountain encounter later (some stories from the road stay on the road…) we arrived the next morning to the classroom to present on the state of our current food system and biointensive principles. An engaged crowd, flurry of great questions, and inspiring facts later, the first Pacific Northwest tour hit it off!1924979_777679362291950_7302297054095530172_n 1964908_777679628958590_8329407640831896659_n 1901262_777679495625270_1535263421045310256_n IMG_20141012_110139777

Oregon and Washington, Here We Come!

Next week we are heading out for our 2014 Fall Tour through the Pacific Northwest! We are incredible excited, and doing all the last minute work to get our crops in, our veggie oil system functioning well, and all the schools scheduled and confirmed. It is going to be an amazing tour, and we are hoping for some more responses like the ones below, from our Spring Tour through Northern California:

“You know, we have many speakers come to this school, but I think this may be the best presentation we’ve ever had.”

-Leo Fuchs, Principal, Learning Without Limits


“It was a brief, clear presentation on what is sustainability, and what it takes to grow food in that manner.”

-Karla Gurrero, Teacher, Monroe MS


“The tour of the greenhouse was of greatest interest to the students and the hands on nature of it was great. Also, getting their own plants to grow was a huge hit. There are several growing in my classroom and students have said they’re growing them at home too. Students are constantly checking on the plants here. I also think the images in the presentation were powerful and helped students stay engaged and relate to the presentation.”

-Kari Bohlen, Teacher, Paul Revere MS


“Our goal as a class was to have the students exposed to, and to become more aware of where their food comes from. I believe that they were able to glean a beginning understanding of sustainable energy and why it is important in the context of growing their own food.

I think that having the students climb into the moveable greenhouse & seeing plants firsthand was the strongest part of the program. Our students have very few chances to do hands-on learning, so being able to use their eyes to observe was a powerful tool.”

-Ester Dahl, Teacher, Monroe MS


“Particularly strong: the enthusiasm, empathy, dedication, and knowledge that Justin and Potato shared with the kids.  The idea of a self-contained, travelling, perfect little garden is like a fairy tale come true to a 12-year-old.”

-Molly Deich, Teacher, New Brighton MS

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Summer summer summertime!

Rhubarb crunch, watermelon, sweet peas and okra fritters. These are some of the good things that have been going on with Compass Green. Of course there’s been swimming and weeding and all too much time spent on the phone and computer, but that’s part of our project too.

The Compass Green team has been working on scheduling our Fall Tour through the Pacific Northwest, writing grants so that we can keep offering our programs to at-risk youth for free, and making connections so that we can expand our reach and add new facets to our organization. Today, I am making some final additions to a garden plan for the first school garden that Compass Green will be building in South LA with Urban Gardens Community.
Things keep growing well for us, although our gardening puns are running low. If you have any more, please share 🙂
Hope you’re having a wonderful and delicious summer.


Thank you Dana!

The Spring Tour is over, and the numbers are still coming in, but it looks like we taught over 3,600 students in March and April. I would like to take a moment to recognize the great people that helped me teach sustainability in these schools: Todd McPherson, Erin Wooden, and Leda Mast all jumped in on random days when I needed a volunteer to fill in, and they did an excellent job sharing about our waste veggie oil system and alternative energy.

My true superhero sidekick (who was so awesome that I often felt like the Robin to her Batman) was Dana “Purple Potato” Biederman.

Dana is a 23 year old rock star of the human race. She has had an exceptional amount of life experience all over the world, and is highly accomplished in the field of Enviro/Garden Ed, having worked at Slide Ranch and the Gateway Mountain Center. Her teaching enthusiasm, experience, ability to listen to the students and speak to them rather than at them, was a true asset along the tour. She is also responsible for making “Kale yeah!” a permanent part of Compass Green’s vocabulary.

I feel very fortunate to have had such an amazing human being and skilled teacher join me on this adventure, and as she moves on from this teaching internship to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, I can only wish her the best and assure that she leaves Compass Green a better organization than when she joined it.10265647_679799638746590_781650703958403862_o 1556388_684318701628017_51995731892969150_o 10293644_686705328056021_3617248751167729662_o