Teaching in the Central Valley

Traveling past green hills,  wind farms, and numerous almond orchards, we made our way to the central valley to kick off the spring California tour on Wednesday, April 3rd in Fresno, CA. We would like to send out a huge thankyou to Carl Kaku, an engaging and passionate instructor at Fresno high, who helpedwith organizing our opportunity to work  with their school. During the first day we presented and shared with 125 high school students from environmental science and biology classes, with a couple of English classes as well.

One of the joys of teaching is when you find yourself learning new things in return; we were excited to hear about a water system that Fresno uses for their city’s water catchment and storage. Throughout our time there, we observed large water collection ponds that filter into underground aquifers beneath the city to supplement their water supply. The central valley is one of the main agricultural regions in the state, and also hosts the problem of being under persistent drought, so it was neat to see their alternative infrastructure for storing water. Now if that region’s monoculture agriculture could only switch to bio-intensive methods, which use up to 87% less water, then, combined with their water storage systems, they’d be headed towards a more sustainable future with today’s drought epidemic and the growing climate change.

We also learned that in Fresno county, almond production accounts for bringing in approximately $820,000/year. In order to feed the world’s burgeoning population sustainably, we need to adjust our diet. John Jeavons taught that filbert trees would produce 5 times the amount of calories, protein and calcium as almonds do. Don’t get us wrong, we love almonds just as much as anyone, but sustainability is to do less and accomplish more, or in this case it would be grow less and gain more.

Bringing our time in Fresno to a close, on Thursday, we had the refreshing experience of teaching 3-5 year olds as a part of Fresno City College’s early childhood development program. This brought us back to the basics of becoming in touch with where our food comes from, and the simple and elaborate systems nature provides to support life of plants, and ourselves, together on earth.

New Teaching Assistant


Compass Green was happy to welcome a new member of the team as she joined Justin in Fresno this Wednesday to begin the Spring tour. Justin and Nick first met Amelea when they were teaching at Warren Wilson College, which she graduated from in 2011.

Amelea Canaris is an alternative education enthusiast, through this she engages in work that creates more awareness with youth around environmental, farming, food & nutrition issues. Amelea has studied art education as well as studying and receiving her degree in environmental education at Warren Wilson College where she developed skills in curriculum writing and teaching as well as program planning. She has been trained in Joseph Cornell’s flow learning and Sharing Nature program, participated in the Nature Play Corps, and worked with the Natural Learning Initiative in North Carolina. In 2012, she was a teacher-in-residence at the educational non-profit farm, Slide Ranch in Muir Beach, CA. Recently she has worked with Urban Adamah garden, and currently she works for the Shorebird Nature Center and Adventure Playground in Berkeley, CA.

She did a great job this week, and Justin is looking forward to teaching with her next week, in Antioch, CA.

Support Compass Green’s Spring Tour!

Klean Kanteen

Hello everybody, happy March! We are busily scheduling our California tour which will be running north to south in both coastal and central California. We were so excited, that before the tour even officially starts, we went and taught at Washington Elementary in Richmond, CA. The day went very well, with a big thanks to Kelli if Urban Tilth for making it happen!

Great news for our fundraiser. All who donate $100 or more will now receive a new Reflect bottle by Klean Kanteen. Spread the word, and click here to donate now!

Washington School Washington School (2)


EcoFarm Conference a Success!


Compass Green just spent the last few days at the EcoFarm Conference in Pacific Grove, California. It was so inspiring spending time with some of the most influential people in the sustainable food movement and hearing about all of the incredible initiatives taking place across the country. We’re more inspired than ever to begin scheduling our 2013 west coast tour for this March!