Field Trip: MoonWater Farm

We hear more and more about urban agriculture and small farms cropping up in the middle of big cities. MoonWater Farm, the collaborative effort of Kathleen Blakistone and Richard Draut, is exactly that. But MoonWater Farm is more than just a homestead microfarm, it’s a learning experience for kids of all ages.

Want to learn how to milk a goat or build an inexpensive compost bin? Have a burning desire to take care of horses or create a dry garden? Kids from all over Los Angeles come to participate in Farm Camp, a summer program that covers topics from creative writing to drumming, and from gardening to aquaponics.

Recycled ficus trees enclose a pond and seating area for contemplation.

Recycled ficus trees enclose a pond and seating area for contemplation.

We should mention that all of this takes place in Compton, CA. In this particular part of Compton, MoonWater Farm fits right in. We saw a Latino cowboy walking his horse down the street when we arrived, and saw a group of African-American car aficionados picnicking out front a few doors down. In this atmosphere of a lazy Sunday afternoon, cultures overlap in a rich and beautiful way.

The vegetable garden winds down, but still has squash, basil and other crops.

The vegetable garden winds down, but still has squash, basil and other crops.

Pumpkins climb the garden fence.

Pumpkins climb the garden fence. Tromboncino squash grow on a Tipi trellis.

Horses are part of this microfarm.

Horses are part of this microfarm.

Goats! For milk and for fiber. They have plenty of room to run around and climb.

Goats! For milk and for fiber. They have plenty of room to run around and climb.

Richard built the structures to house the animals as well as the aquaponics bay (sorry, couldn’t resist a Star Trek reference). He uses recycled materials as often as possible.

An aquaponics garden lines the driveway.

An aquaponics garden lines the driveway.

Compost is an important part of any homestead farm. They compost garden waste and manure from the horses and goats.

Compost is an important part of any homestead farm. They compost garden waste and manure from the horses and goats.

Three compost bins process garden and animal waste into fertilizer for the garden. The bins are discretely hidden from the rest of the property.

The farm also has an event space for classes or concerts.

The farm also has an event space for classes or concerts.

Hymn for Her plays in the event space while guests drink lemonade.

Hymn for Her plays in the event space while guests drink lemonade.

The tour continues in the front yard…

The front yard has fruit trees, California native plants and more.

The front yard has fruit trees, California native plants and more.

A bioswale captures water when it rains. The dry garden surrounding it soaks up water during the rainy season to survive the rest of the year.

A bioswale captures water when it rains. The dry garden surrounding it soaks up water during the rainy season to survive the rest of the year.

Edibles mix with natives to create a plentiful garden during the growing season. It also provides habitat, pollen and nectar for visiting birds and pollinators.

Passion Fruit climbs a wire toward some recycled arches across the garden.

Passion Fruit climbs a wire toward some recycled arches across the garden.

MoonWater Farm is a fantastic place for kids to learn about farming and homesteading in the middle of the city. The Farm also offers the event space for pop-up dinners, classes and yes, even weddings. Visit MoonWater Farm to experience an oasis in the city.

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