Gnocchi in the Garden

Chef Geno Sarmiento of Nick’s Fishmarket recently visited the gardens to give students a hands-on cooking demonstration.  Together they prepared gnocchi with an herb tomato sauce and pan-seared shrimp. Garden Coordinator Jadda Miller, along with  Chef Geno, take questions from the class.

Chef Geno holds up a cherry tomato, one of the ingredients in making the herb tomato sauce. He showed the students how to roll and then cut the dough used to make gnocchi, an Italian dumpling.

          

Students had fun!

“I like rolling the dough.”  “I like cutting the dough.”  “I like eating the gnocchi!”

        

Chef Geno and Tri-Star Restaurant Group

This garden cooking demonstration was put on by Chef Geno Sarmiento, Executive Chef, and the team at Tri-Star Restaurant Group, which manages Nick’s Fishmarket inside Fairmont Kea Lani, Sarento’s on the Beach on Keawakapu Beach, Manoli’s Pizza Company in Wailea, and Son’z Steakhouse inside Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa in Kaanapali.  Mahalo to the entire team for supporting this fun cooking demonstration event for our students.

A Special Mahalo to our  Photographer

Bjarne Salen, of Endless Flow Films, spent two days in the gardens with the students, Garden Coordinator Jadda Miller, and Chef Geno and his team, documenting the cooking demonstrations. Mahalo Bjarne, for donating your time and talent to create wonderful photos of this fun and memorable experience for our students.

How to Make Gnocchi?

Chef Geno generously shared his recipe with us:

Cheese gnocchi (dumplings):  Mix 1 pound of goat cheese and 1 pound of ricotta cheese until evenly combined. Then mix-in 1 cup of flour until the dough is soft. On a floured surface, divide dough into 4 even pieces and roll into 1/2 inch-thick “ropes”. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Cook dumplings in salted boiling water until they float to the surface, about 1 to 2 minutes, blanch cooked gnocchi into ice water, then drain.
Tomato Pesto Sauce: In a food processor, puree garden tomatoes and a handful of garden basil with parmesan cheese (and toasted pine nuts if preferred). The amount of tomatoes, basil and cheese is up to your liking. If you prefer more tomatoes, add more tomatoes or vice versa. Put into a saucepan and bring to a simmer mixing often so as not to burn the sauce. Add gnocchi until heated thoroughly.
Adding protein: Feel free to add protein (shrimp, chicken, etc) or any other vegetables (mushrooms, asparagus, etc) in your dish. Simply sautée in a separate pan and once cooked, add to the sauce and serve with cheese gnocchi topped with grated parmesan cheese.

 

Lesson from the Garden: How Do Seeds Grow?

What is a seed?

Most plants grow from seeds, which come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures.  Within this compact package, seeds contain everything a plant needs to grow and reproduce. Some seeds, such as grass, begin life with one leaf. These kinds of seeds are monocots. Other seeds, such as beans, begin life with two leaves. These kinds of seeds are dicots.

The outside covering of seeds is called the seed coat. It protects the baby plant, or embryo, inside the seed. The seed also contains endosperm, or a food supply, that the embryo uses to grow until the plant can manufacture its own food. In order for seeds to grow into plants, they need soil containing nutrients, water, sunlight, the right temperature, room to grow, and time. In this lesson, students will have the opportunity to observe this process for themselves.

What do living things need?

Discuss what living things need to live and thrive. They will begin with a discussion of what people need. They will compile a list that includes the following: food, water, a place to live, ways to stay warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot, and someone to care for them. They will then go through the same exercise for animals and plants. They will discover that all living organisms have similar needs. At this point, students will probably realize that seeds, which contain a baby plant, also have these same basic needs. Throughout the lesson, they will form a better understanding of this as they look inside a seed and then plant seeds and watch them grow.

Next, students will work in pairs to dissect lima bean seeds that have been soaked overnight. Using a hand lens, they observe the embryo and food supply. Then they complete a “What Are the Parts of a Seed?” worksheet, which asks them to label a diagram of a seed and write down what each part does. This section of the lesson will conclude with a review of what plants need to grow.

Now, the fun part!

Students should place one or two seeds in the hole and cover them with soil. Students are instructed to water the soil when it looks dry. They can tell when the growing plants need water by sticking their fingers one inch into the soil. If it feels dry, then watering is necessary.

Students will write down their observations on the observation sheet.

After the plants have started to sprout, go over the different parts that are emerging. Make sure that students can name these parts and describe their functions:

  • Root: Anchors the plant and takes in water and nutrients from the soil.
  • Stem: Helps support the plant.
  • Leaves: Take in light, which the plant will use to make its own food.

On their observation sheets, students should draw pictures of the growing plant, labeling each part as it emerges.

 

 

Lesson from the Garden: Phototropism

What is Phototropism?

Tropism is a growth response between a plant and an external stimulus. The stimulus could be weather, touch, time, gravity or light. A positive response is indicated by growth toward a stimulus and a negative response is indicated by growth away from the stimulus. Light is a stimulus that plants respond to. This is called phototropism (photo= light).

Plants and Light

Plants usually display a positive phototropic response to light, which means they grow toward a light source. Plant hormones called auxins play a part in phototropism. Auxin is a plant growth hormone. When light is shined on one side of a plant the auxins move to the dark side of the plant. The hormones stimulate the cells on the dark side of the plant to elongate, while the cells on the light side of the plant remain the same. This elongation on one side and staying the same on the other causes the plant to bend in the direction of the light. This bending allows more light to reach more cells on the plant that are responsible for conducting photosynthesis. Wow!

Bend a Plant

You can create an experiment to see phototropism in action!

To see the effects of phototropism on a plant, make your own shoe-box maze.  You will need: a shoebox, extra cardboard, scissors, tape, and a small potted plan. Bean plants work well. Students should have an adult help with the following cutting and box building steps.

  1. Cut a large hole at one end of the shoebox. Hold the box up to the light and be sure to tape up any other spaces where light shines through.
  2. Cut two pieces of cardboard in the following sizes:
  3. First make both pieces half the width of the shoebox.
  4. Then make both pieces the same height of the shoebox.
  5. Now divide the box in thirds and tape one cut cardboard piece on the left side of the box at the one-third mark. Next, tape the other cardboard piece on the right side of the box at the two-thirds mark.

The box should look like the box shown below.

 

Place the small potted plant in the shoebox opposite the hole, make sure that it is well watered. (We started a bean in a plastic cup.)

 

 

 

Close the box, tape it, and place it in a sunny window.

 

In about 4 or 5 days open the box and notice how the plant grows in the direction of the light coming from the hole!!!

Lesson from the Garden: Can plants move?

Can plants move? Yes!

Plants have evolved adaptations that allow them to ‘move’.  Not in the sense that they uproot and walk away, but in other ways.  Plants can move toward or away from water, the sun, and in response to gravity! This is called tropism.

What is Tropism?

Definitions:

Tropism: the means by which a plant grows towards or away from stimuli

Stimuli: a thing or event that evokes/influences a functional reaction

Garden Class Activity

During class, students split up into groups and  search for examples of tropism in the garden. These include:

  • Thigmotropism: growth or movement in response to touch
  • Hydrotropism: growth or movement in response to water (towards or away from moisture)
  • Heliotropism: “sun tracking” – growth or movement in response to the sun’s location
  • Gravitropism: growth or movement in response to gravity

Once all groups have found their example, each group will share what they found and how it is a type of tropism. These might include plants growing up trellises, toward sunshine, or toward a water source. We have many vining plants in our gardens include green beans, peas, watermelon, ipu, and lilikoi, which make great examples of tropism.

Lesson from the Garden: How Plants Breathe 

See How Plants Breathe    

Fill a glass jar with water. Select a large leaf from a plant or tree nearby, drop it into the jar and screw the lid on.  Place the jar in a sunny spot. After an hour, ask students to look in the jar and report what they see inside.

What Do You See?

What would happen if we held our breath, underwater, at the pool and then let out air?

Bubbles!

As oxygen is released by the leaf in the sun, many tiny bubbles form showing photosynthesis in action. The process of photosynthesis is what allows us to see the bubbles — as the leaf releases its extra oxygen while submerged, the oxygen can be seen as bubbles in the water. As a leaf creates that energy, it needs to get rid of the items it no longer needs so it will expel both the extra oxygen during photosynthesis along with water, called transpiration.

And since oxygen is lighter than water, the bubbles will eventually rise to the surface.

Are We the Same?

Does a tree or plant breathe the same as we (humans) do? No. A plant, tree or leaf doesn’t have any lungs or respiratory system; but it is a living organism just like we are.

Harvest Festival Fun for Keiki Farmers

Harvest Festival Fun

Keiki farmers at Kamalii Elementary School and Kihei Elementary School enjoyed a fun Harvest Festival at each of their schools. These annual events are a highlight of the school garden program, as students make and enjoy healthy snacks with fresh produce, from recipes designed to be simple, so they can be easily duplicated at home.

Chef Kevin Laut from Outrigger Pizza Company brought his portable pizza oven to Kamalii Elementary School to cook up some quick pies with the assistance of Makena Golf & Beach Club’s Executive Chef Chris Kulis. See more pictures on the Makena Golf & Beach blog.

Outrigger Pizza Company Chef Kevin Laut assists in preparing the pizzas. PC: Matthew Thayer, the Maui News.
Makena Golf & Beach Resort Executive Chef Chris Kulis helps with spreading pizza sause. PC: Makena Golf & Beach Club.
Makena Golf & Beach Resort Community Engagement Manager Leahi Hall visits with keiki. PC: Makena Golf & Beach Resort
Chefs and keiki enjoyed a wonderful morning making pizza and fresh-squeezed lemonade. PC: Makena Golf & Beach Club.

At Kihei Elementary School, Chef Travis Morrin from Fork & Salad and Three’s Bar & Grill came by to assist students with making tortilla-veggie pizzas on the grill. The results were ono-licious! See Chef Travis’ fun interview with the keiki.

Chef Travis Morrin PC: Kiaora Bohlool.
Kihei Elementary School kids enjoy the product of their work – veggie pizzas!
Chef Travis Morrin and Garden Coordinator Nadine Rasmussen.

 

Mahalo!

Thank you to the wonderful chefs who made time to come our to visit with our students!

Chef Chris Kulis, Makena Golf & Beach Club

Chef Kevin Laut, The Outrigger Pizza Company

Chef Travis Morrin, Fork & Salad and Three’s Bar & Grill

And thank you to The Maui News for this front-page piece!

 

Keeping Our Gardens Safe

Addressing the Spread of Rat Lungworm Disease and the Zika Virus

Grow Some Good and Maui School Garden Network are working together to address the spread of Rat Lungworm Disease and the Zika virus on Maui.

As recent news reports have indicated, Rat Lungworm Disease, or RLWD, has come to Maui via its predominant, intermediate host the semi-slug. According to the Rat Lungworm Working Group Facebook Page, “It is among the most serious threats to human health of all diseases carried by wildlife in Hawaii, and in many other tropical and subtropical countries around the world.” Humans can become infected by unknowingly consuming intermediate hosts, like the semi-slug, or paratenic hosts, like prawns and land crabs, that contain the infective third stage larvae. This can also occur through eating fresh produce contaminated by “slug trails” or slime containing the larvae.

The Zika virus has been reported in at least one case on Maui. This mosquito borne virus can cause birth defects and neurological disorders, and infects humans through mosquito bites. It can also be picked up from an infected person and spread via the mosquito to other humans. Most cases in the US have been reported by people who have travelled to an area where the disease is circulating, primarily Latin America. However, there have also been cases where the virus has spread from an infected human, via mosquito, to another human.

In conjunction with Maui School Garden Network, the Department of Health, Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Island Rat Lungworm Working Group in the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, Grow Some Good is working to reduce the spread of RLWD and the Zika virus through a variety of approaches.

School Safety

Maui School Garden Network has contacted each school principal and school garden coordinator in Maui County to provide a Maui Island update on RLWD. This update includes best practices for RLWD prevention, including integrated pest management (IPM) procedures, safety precautions, and methods for disposal of slugs.

Schools have received a School Garden Safety Manual, produced by Hawaii Farm to School and the School Garden Hui. This manual covers safe growing practices and safe food handling practices.

Training School Garden Educators

School Garden coordinators across Maui have received training on several areas in the last few months, including safe food handling, preventing infection, safety precautions in handling semi-slugs and other carriers, and preventing mosquito reproduction by removing standing water around garden areas.

This training contains a set of lessons to be taught to students. It includes specific lessons on IPM, and about the Rat Lungworm lifecycle, both which meet the current curriculum science standards. Through these lessons, students can learn garden planning, pest detection, and how parasites live and grow, as we address these important community issues.

Tracking Data

More data is needed to understand the lifespan of the Rat Lungworm and its hosts and carriers. Through our network of school gardens, there is an opportunity to contribute data to current research projects.

Using safety methods recommended by the Department of Health, garden staff can safely collect and count the number of semi-slugs found in each garden, tracking factors such as region, date, moon phase and weather.  Submitting this information helps grow the database and help inform the researchers.

Public Outreach and Information

Grow Some Good is actively providing information about RLWD and the Zika virus to the public through presentations at our volunteer Work & Learn Days conducted at school gardens across Maui, and information shared in our monthly eNewsletter and Facebook page.

Community Meetings have been taking place across the island. More are scheduled soon:

  • Wednesday, April 19 – Kula Community Center – Growers and Landscapers Meeting – 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Tuesday, April 25 – Kahului – UHMC – Community Service Building by Extension Services (CTAHR)- Growers and Landscapers Meeting 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Wednesday, April 26  -Pukalani – Hannibal Tavares Community Center 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

More Information

Please join us at a meeting in your area to learn more. For online references, please see the Hawaii State Department of Health website for information on Rat Lungworm Disease, and for more information on the Zika Virus.

Checking the leaf. Is it heart-shaped enough to qualify?

Garden Scavenger Hunt at Kahului Elementary

A Fun Review of Garden Lessons

Kahului Elementary School’s 1st grade garden classes recently did Garden Scavenger Hunts as a fun way to review the lessons they have learned so far this year:

  • Identifying the parts of the plant: flower, stem, leaves, roots and their purpose
  • Recognizing our insect and bug friends in the garden, and where to find them.
  • Using our five senses to discover sounds, smells, textures and colors (and tastes!) in the garden.
  • Understanding what “weeds” are, how to identify and remove them. (If in doubt, don’t pull it out!)
Scavenger Hunt List
Scavenger Hunt List

Each pair of students was given a collection box courtesy of Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods containing a “checklist,” scissors and a “bug cup” with instructions to collect the following:

  1. A flower.
  2. A bug, insect or worm.
  3. Two weeds – one per student.
  4. Something that smells/stinky.
  5. A heart-shaped leaf.
Looking for Insects
Looking for Insects
Clipping a heart-shaped leaf.
Clipping a heart-shaped leaf.
Looking for Weeds.
Looking for Weeds.

What they Found

Marigolds provided lots of flowers; students hunted down ants, sow bugs and worms, and weeds were easy to come by. “Smelly” items included the lemon, Thai or Italian green basil, green onions, sage, lemongrass or rosemary which all have strong smells. One student insisted the flower of the marigold was sufficiently smelly to qualify! ʻUala (sweet potato) was the first choice for a heart-shaped leaf, but the beans and squash plants lost a few leaves too!

Getting Checked

The Garden Educator “checked” the items for the first pair of students to complete the scavenger hunt. Subsequent pairs of students were “checked” by classmates. This is where the real learning came in as they questioned each other as to whether or not a plant “smelled” enough, whether a leaf was “heart-shaped” enough, and whether or not the top of a weed counted or, “Does it need to have the roots attached?”

Demonstrating cooperation in the garden.
Demonstrating cooperation in the garden.

Garden Literacy

During after-activity follow-up questions with students it was clear all had improved their garden literacy and ability to identity and describe what they had found, as well as added new words to their vocabularies. Some students also learned that keeping an ant in a cup has its challenges.

Well done, Kahului Elementary School!

What's in your tray?
What’s in your box?

The Academic Impact of School Gardens

Harvesting flowers Mieko PhotographyMaui Teachers’ Perspectives

It’s no secret that students, parents, and teachers love our school gardens! During garden visits, students spend hours discovering the wonder of growing their own food; the gardens bring beauty to our school campuses; students, families and members of the community enjoy the fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs they produce. As an organization, we take time at the end of each school year to reflect on how the gardens are fulfilling our goals of providing students with outdoor learning experiences that connect them to their food sources, inspire better nutrition choices, improve health, and teach them how to be better stewards of the land.

As we strive to grow, improve, and to “turnip the beet” in our programs, Grow Some Good conducts an annual Teacher Survey. We wanted to share with you some highlights from the 2015-16 school year.

Survey Results – School Gardens have a Positive Impact

According to the survey, a majority of teachers surveyed report that school gardens have a positive impact in students’ academic achievements in all core curriculum areas, and particularly in science, health, language arts and Hawaiian studies.

We know from more than eight years of managing these programs that hands-on, interactive lessons in the gardens improve retention and help reinforce classroom learning. Maui teachers surveyed agree:

  • 96 percent of teachers’ responses report that garden lessons were very or extremely beneficial in supporting the core curriculum area of science.
  • 72 percent said school gardens are very or extremely beneficial in language arts
  • 66 percent of teachers said school garden programs are very or extremely beneficial in supporting Hawaiian Studies.
  • Nearly all teachers, 97 percent, said school gardens are very or extremely beneficial in in supporting health and nutrition standards.

Teachers were also asked to indicate what attributes they have observed in their students who participate in school gardens:

  • 94 percent said they saw an increase in environmental awareness.
  • 73 percent said they noticed improvements in health and nutrition.
  • 44 percent also noted improved social skills and behaviors.
  • 48 percent witnessed an increase in community spirit and interest.

“We Love Mondays!”
Girls with Kale Wailuku El

Teachers shared their thoughts on the impact school gardens have on their students.

Leslie Farthing, sixth-grade Social Studies teacher at Lahaina Intermediate School, said, “This program has been incredible for my students. It is a great introduction to working in a garden. For most students, it is their first time working with plants. They really enjoy it and take pride in their work. [The garden coordinator] always ties it to what we are learning which is very helpful. I did not grow up gardening so as an educator I love the experience as well.”

Teachers also commented:

“The garden is a wonderful addition to our school and the kids love it! Thank you!!”

“My students are so excited to be a part of this program! They are planting gardens of their own and are so inspired by [the garden coordinator].”

“The garden brings out interests and curiosity that I have not seen in class.”

“We are very thankful to have the opportunity to teach our students gardening skills.  This is a life-long skill and our children are learning about how to be self-sustaining.”

girls hanging ipu to dry“We truly enjoy our garden time.  The students learn a lot and it is important to continue to educate our students about healthy eating habits. [The garden coordinator] does an exceptional job sharing her garden knowledge and skills with our students.”

“I truly appreciate the knowledge shared with our students.  This year, [the garden coordinator] had excellent lessons aligned to the Common Core State Standards.  Very impressive.”

“I enjoy watching my students investigating and taking notes.  It shows that they are really interested in the garden.”

“We love Mondays. We get to go to the garden!”

 

For more details, you may review the complete survey results here: Grow Some Good 2016 Teacher Survey Data