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How a Compton farm is educating kids one bite at a time




Farmer Kathleen Blakistone and partner Richard Draut
Farmer Kathleen Blakistone and partner Richard Draut
Beidi Zhang

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In the summer, there are many programs and activities out there for kids - basketball camp or swimming lessons. But what about one that returns them to nature?  For that, you have to check out Moonwater Farms. 

Fiber Goats and Milking Goats
Fiber Goats and Milking Goats

Located in the heart of Compton, Moonwater is part of the largest urban farming community in Los Angeles. There's chickens and goats and lush fruit trees all around. But it is unique in that it offers a program that teaches kids about agriculture - growing people in addition to lettuce.

Kathleen Blakistone and her partner Richard Draut run it. "We have had lots of school visits. People come on field trips, from preschool to high school, " says Blakistone. "We came up with this idea to do farm camp because they were so delighted and they never wanted to go."

Students gather on the farm to learn about the growing vegetables.
Students gather on the farm to learn about the growing vegetables.

Lessons range from milking the goats and naming bugs, to churning homemade ice cream and learning how to make tea from herbs on the farm.  

Ten year-old Dior McCall is part of a group of students who visit the farm, and she says she takes those lessons home to her family: "I’ve been been telling them we need our own garden, please get a garden, we need to grow our own vegetables so we don’t need to buy that much."

Student Dior McCall and her mother Tanisha Grant
Student Dior McCall and her mother Tanisha Grant

Resident and local cowboy Sidney Cosby runs a college prep program for young people called Southwest College Trio Services, and he often takes his young charges, like Dior, to Moonwater. 

"For me it’s always a learning experience," he says. "You get the farm-feel, you get the peace, tranquility, and you get the feeling of home, because it is a home."