Home Depot Foundation builds garden at Compton school

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By Emilie St. John

Contributing Writer

COMPTON — The Compton Unified School District celebrated a new garden, made possible by the Home Depot Foundation, at its Early College High School on July 27.

The Home Depot Foundation’s Team Depot recently built a 2,800-square-foot garden area at Compton Early College High School. In a ceremony attended by more than 100 Team Depot volunteers, Compton school board Members, Compton Superintendent Darin Brawley, school staff and students, the garden was dedicated and opened to the school.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees for the Compton Unified School District, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Home Depot for their generous donation of $40,000,” said school board President Denzell Perry. “This generous contribution will make a tremendous difference to our Early College Gardening Project. The Home Depot’s commitment to cultivating education and fostering a love for nature within our community is truly commendable.

“We are incredibly thankful for your support, and we’re eager to see the impact that this project will have on our students and our community,” Perry added. “Together, we are planting the seeds for a more sustainable and educated future. 

According to U.S. News & World Report, The Compton Early College is the No. 1 school in the district and ranked No. 13 in the state.

According to an official from Home Depot, this was one of the largest grants awarded in the western region to date. The Team Depot volunteers were employees from various local Home Depot stores including Compton, Paramount, Gardena, Torrance and Hawthorne.

Some were even Compton residents and former district students. In fact, one of the Home Depot employees, Keishon White, was part of Compton Early College High School’s first graduating class, who recently graduated from UCLA.

Compton is considered both a “food desert” and a “food swamp.”

Research studies suggest that the presence of “food swamps” is an equally strong predictor of obesity rates because of the absence of full-service grocery stores. Based on the findings, local government policies such as zoning laws simultaneously restricting access to unhealthy food outlets and incentivizing healthy food retailers to locate in underserved neighborhoods warrant consideration as strategies to increase health equity.

In 2018, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health published a report detailing that 69% of Compton residents live in close proximity to a supermarket or grocery store which makes the need for community gardens extremely high considering only 62% of Los Angeles County residents live in close proximity to a supermarket or grocery store.

School board member Micah Ali was happy the garden was built for the students to enjoy.

He said the school board was appreciative of the contribution from the Home Depot Foundation to help improve the Compton Early College High School yard.

“We are thankful to the 100 Home Depot employees who worked alongside students from Compton Early College High School to create an incredible garden area at the school,” Ali said. “Seeing the substantial amount of hard work and effort from the Team Depot volunteers morph into an amazing natural area for students was awe-inspiring. If you get a chance to visit Compton Early College High School, definitely check out this beautiful garden.”

The Compton Early College High School is located at 2601 N. Wilmington Ave.

Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at emiliesaintjohn@gmail.com.

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