Mobile greenhouse stops in Rocklin

Compass Green Project co-founders spreading message of sustainability
By: Anne Stokes, Placer Herald Correspondent
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In the past year, Justin Cutter and Nick Runkle, founders of the Compass Green Project, have traversed the southern half of the United States with their greenhouse. Their conveyance? An 18-foot-diesel box truck that runs on vegetable oil. Cutter and Runkle started out in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 2011 and have traveled from town to town, to schools and universities, spreading a message of sustainability and challenging people to think about where their food really comes from. Now the two young men are headed back east, via a northerly route. Last Friday, they stopped in Rocklin to give the students at Maria Montessori a lesson in sustainability and eco-responsibility. “I’m hoping the kids will be more inspired to grow a greater percentage of their diet,” said Cutter. “It’s a lot to ask of the really little ones, but if they can at least see that growing food can be fun and exciting. It’s not something boring. It’s something you can do anywhere — even in the back of a truck. “And for the older ages,” Cutter continued, “to show them why it’s so important that people start growing more of their food locally themselves rather than supporting harmful industrial agriculture.” Montessori teacher Petsy Wendy coordinates the school’s garden project. “I’m hoping that [the kids] get a new understanding and a new respect for the Earth, for gardening, for growing things, and just sort of understanding the whole cycle where their food comes from.” Parent Heather Martin of Lincoln was glad to see such an innovative learning experience presented at her child’s school. “It fits in so nicely with our garden project here,” she said. “We’re working really hard to get kids to understand where their food comes from and how healthy and enjoyable it can be to be outside,” she said. “We’re just thrilled to have these guys here with such an interesting way to go about gardening.”