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?
Share

Visit Lahaina Intermediate’s School Garden

See the School Garden at Lahaina Intermediate School

Take a “virtual tour” of the Grow Some Good school garden at Lahaina Intermediate School, featured in the video below.  This piece was created by students as part of the PBS Hawaii news show HIKI NŌ.

“We Can All Work Together”

The video features many of the students, faculty and staff that support the garden. School Principal, Stacy Bookland, says the garden has taught her:

“we can all work together to contribute to something positive, not only
in our community, but in our bodies, in our minds, and in the growth
of our students.”

Academic Impact

Teachers also chime in, explaining how they see the garden benefiting youth by reinforcing classroom lessons, while at the same time giving them life-long skills that can increase their self-sufficiency. Their comments demonstrate school gardens have a positive impact on academics and learning.

Lots of good things are growing at Lahaina Intermediate School – Take a look!

HIKI NŌ

This piece was created by students in HIKI NŌ, an educational initiative by PBS Hawaii. HIKI NŌ is the nation’s only state-wide student run news program. Students from middle and high schools across Hawaii produce PBS-quality video news segments about current issues and people of interest in our community. This story first aired during the First All-Middle School edition of HIKI NŌ on PBS on May 28, 2015.

Share

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

Share

Hawaii Legislators Support Farm to School Programs

KITV screenshotOver the past few months, we’ve seen news highlighting school gardens and their importance to supporting better nutrition and local agriculture. On July 7, 2015, Governor David Ige signed Farm to School bill SB 376, which aims to increase the amount of local produce in our school cafeterias.

A recent KITV4 interview quoted Dexter Kishida with the Department of Education (DOE), “Growing it and cooking it are two ways kids eating behaviors change.” The report also estimates the DOE imports more than 80 percent of produce in public school lunches.  That number may be soon decreasing with the signing of this new bill.

The governor’s press release explains “SB 376, Act 218 established the Hawai’i farm-to-school program and funds a farm-to-school coordinator position. Across the nation, farm to school programs are reconnecting students to a better understanding of the food system and where their food comes from. Farm to school programs introduce students to healthier eating habits and help them become familiar with new vegetables and fruits that they and their families will then be more willing to incorporate into their own diets. The farm to school coordinator will negotiate the complicated process of procuring local agricultural for our schools.”

Local farmers have had tremendous challenges competing with mainland prices and Hawaii DOE volume restrictions that require one vendor to supply an entire 256-school system.

“I think one of the important insights is that it doesn’t have to be the exact same suppliers statewide,” said Kyle Datta, general partner at the Ulupono Initiative, in a recent Hawaii Tribune-Herald article. “You can let local agriculture scale up to the community.” He said one of the early missteps in launching statewide farm to school was trying to get local producers to support the needs of the entire state as opposed to their specific areas.

“Maui kids eating Maui pineapple, Oahu kids eating Dole pineapples,” he said. “There’s a lot of things we should have more of that are completely possible.” (Source: Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

Some local charter schools have successfully incorporated local produce into their lunch programs because they manage their own individual procurement. Food hubs, where farmers combine their harvests for higher volume distribution, are also gaining momentum in other school districts nationwide. Here is a recent article in from the St. Paul/Minneapolis Star-Tribune describing one example of this venture.

“We need to make sure students are connecting and understanding where their food comes from and why it matters,” said Lydi Morgan, Coordinator with Hawaii Farm to School & School Garden Hui.

School garden programs are an important part of supporting this initiative. When students grow, harvest and prepare their own dishes using school garden produce, they are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables in school lunches and bring that enthusiasm home to the dinner table.

If you’d like to dig the school garden movement on Maui, visit our volunteer page and introduce yourself! We look forward to seeing you in the garden!

Share

October – Farm to School Month

Leah Belmonte, Governor’s Representative, Maui at State of Hawaii joined Grow Some Good and MSGN at the Lipoa Farmer’s Market today to offer this official proclamation.

“… proclaim October 2015 as Farm to School Month in Hawai’i and ask all the citizens of the Aloha State to support activities that heighten the awareness of farm to school and school garden programs as successful means for improving the health and well-being of our keiki, communities and the ‘aina.”

Grow Some Good also gave away about 25 ‘ulu trees, basil, tomatoes, chard and eggplant and received generous donations to support our program.

Hawaii Governor proclaims October as "Farm to School" Month
Hawaii Governor proclaims October as “Farm to School” Month

Mahalo to Governor David Y. Ige and Lt. Governor Shan S. Tsutusi for your support and seeing the importance of our programs.

 

Share

Good Things Growing at Kamali’i Elementary School

kamaliiKamali’i Elementary School garden program provides nutrition education and curriculum support for all grade levels. Theme gardens, such as the Pizza Garden, Green Smoothie, Pioneer Garden and Native Hawaiian Gardens match learning objectives for each grade and connect the relationship between fresh garden fruits and vegetables to students’ favorite foods. Year-end harvest parties feature local chefs working with students to prepare kid-friendly recipes with garden-grown ingredients.

To learn more about getting involved in this program, visit http://growsomegood.org/volunteer/

Share

New Garden Sprouts at Kahului Elementary

A new edible classroom at Kahului Elementary School has sprouted from the passion, enthusiasm and collaboration of an awe-inspiring group of educators and volunteers. First grade teachers attended a recent school garden tour and turned their inspiration into action. The whole grade level is applying outdoor learning as part of their new curriculum-based school garden program.

Together we created soil nutrient building systems in each bed – while talking about lessons on carbon, nitrogen, decomposers and microorganisms. The awesome garden dig-in ended with a community picnic under the shade trees, talking story and appreciating all the good things growing.

Mahalo nui loa to Maui School Garden Network, Hui Malama Learning Center, ISI Irrigation, Ace Hardware and all the volunteers, students and families who are partnering with Grow Some Good to create an amazing gift of growth and prosperity for keiki and community. Check out more photos on in our Facebook album.

Share

Food Economics: Where in the World… and Why?

Food EconomicsThe harvest stage of a school garden provides an ideal setting to observe interdependence of producers and consumers: harvesting food in the garden vs. buying produce in a store or a restaurant.  This is when Social Studies benchmarks can be supported in the garden and students can gain an understanding of how consumer choices affect food sustainability on Maui.

Discussion Points

Limited Resources and Choice: Explain scarcity and effects on daily life. Discuss water scarcity in Hawaii and how it affects farmers / gardeners. What happens when there is less rainfall on the island? How does it affect farmers? What happens if local farmers stop producing a fruit or vegetable? How does it affect the price? What happens when consumers buy imported produce instead of local produce? How does it affect a local farmer’s ability to grow more?

Role of Government: Discuss responsibility of government to provide goods and services – ie. In supplying water to areas where needed.

Economic Interdependence / Role and Function of Markets:  How do people benefit from trade (exchange of goods and services)? Discuss relationships between buyers (consumers) and sellers (producers) and how they depend upon each other. Why do farmers need customers? Why do customers need farmers?

ActivitiesFood Economics

  • Display imported produce: a tomato (from California), banana (from Ecuador), eggplant (from Philippines), cabbage (from Mexico) and ask the students to find where these items are growing in the garden. Have students search for “local” produce bring a sample of each back to circle (or a leaf from the plant if fruit or vegetable is not ready to harvest).
  • Locate origin of each imported produce item on the globe and estimate how many miles / amount of time each one traveled before being sold to the consumer here on Hawaii.
  • Discuss all the human resources involved in delivering that food (farmers, truckers, shippers, store clerks, etc.). Which ones require gas/fuel to do their jobs? Students act out each stage of delivery and exchange.
  • Compare the imported food chain to how many steps / people / how much energy or fuel it took to deliver food from the garden to the table.
  • Ask students if they know someone who grows food on Maui. Discuss the concept of local vs. imported. What is local? Are you local? Why?
  1. If you bought a local banana from a store that sells your uncle’s / auntie’s bananas, who would get the money?
  2. If you bought an imported banana from Ecuador, who would get the money?
  3. If a local farmer gets money for their bananas, can they grow more local bananas? Why?
  4. How can you tell where something comes from when shopping in a store? Show examples of food labels that list the origin of produce.

Final Observations / Questions
Why do stores in your neighborhood import food from other countries? Not enough supply? Not enough demand? Do imported bananas taste better?

  • Taste testing: Sample and compare slices of a banana from Ecuador or other country to an apple banana from Maui. Samples are divided on two plates with no identification on origin.
  1. Which tastes better? Then, reveal which bananas are imported vs. local.
  2. How does supply and demand affect a store owner’s decision to carry local vs. imported bananas?
  3. Which consumer choice supports farmers who live on Maui?
  4. Which banana would you choose? Why?

For more ideas on connecting students their food sources and sustainable practices, check out the free downloads and other resources available via the Center for Ecoliteracy.

Share

SOS: Saving Our Seeds for a Sustainable Future

Seed Saving

In the final months of school, garden lessons turn to a continuation of the life cycle with ‘Saving Our Seeds’ workshops at all grade levels. This exercise connects students to sustainable practices that preserve their favorite plants, ensure food security and support benchmarks in science (life cycle), social studies (food economics) and more.

During hands-on lessons, students dig into discussions and activities that illustrate stages of the life cycles (germination/birth, growth, reproduction, and death) of various plants and animals, pointing out details that distinguish each stage. Students also learn the value of seed saving and how it affects food availability for the future. As our jr. gardeners/scientists/economists become more experienced, the learning possibilities are endless. Here are just a few ideas to get started:

Discussion Points

  • Where can you find seeds in the garden? In a flower? In a fruit? In a dried pod?
  • At which point of the life cycle is a seed? The beginning or the end? Answer: Both! Discuss when a seed is at the end (in flower, fruit or seed pod) and when a seed is at the beginning (when planted and watered) of the life cycle.
  • Why save seeds? Discuss the value of preserving genes from healthy plants, saving money, food security, etc.
  • How does age / storage affect germination rates? Review germination, discuss how seeds lose their ability to germinate over time or under poor storage conditions (heat, moisture, oxidation, etc).Seed Saving

Activities

  • Students divide into groups to search for seeds throughout the garden and collect with volunteer and/or teacher supervision.
  • Seeds can be compared by weight, shape, color, texture, etc.
  • Demonstrate different ways seeds travel – by wind (lettuce seeds with feathers fly in the wind), wing (birds eating from a plate of sunflower seeds), water (place a seeding flower or open seed pod on a mound, simulate rain with watering can to watch a seeds travel in the water stream and replant itself downstream).
  • Seeds are sorted, categorized, bagged or jarred, and labeled with collection dates.
  • Seeds are then stored in a cool, dry, airtight place for use in next year’s school garden and/or planted in starts containers for students to add to their summer home gardens.

Seed SavingCheck out more ideas for all grades and experience levels in this free e-book download made available by the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.

Share

Sept. 22 Workshops: Youth Gardens as Classrooms

Home Gardening Support Network, Maui School Garden Network, Community Work Day and Grow Some Good are pleased to announce a Youth Gardening Workshop to make school garden information and experiences more accessible to teachers, volunteers and others who work with youth-oriented garden programs. Click on the link below for a workshop agenda:
These workshops will feature hands-on activities to help integrate school garden work within all disciplines and give advice on how to maintain and fund school gardens. The workshop day will run from 8:00 am – 1:30 pm with optional post workshop sessions from 2:00-3:00 pm and will include lunch and a food demonstration.
Register by emailing Anne Gachuhi at hgsn@gmail.com or calling (808) 446-2361.  The fee is $35.00.
Scholarships:  Kihei Elementary School and Lokelani Intermediate School teachers, staff and counselors can receive scholarships from Grow Some Good by sending an email with interest to info@GrowSomeGood.org. Please include your name, school, grade level and phone number for follow up in your email.
We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to gain knowledge that will help advance your programs and create more real-life learning opportunities for your students.
Share