Havilah Mills

School Garden Director & Volunteer Coordinator

Haiku Elementary School

Havilah remembers growing and harvesting food from a large backyard garden in Idaho. That experience had a huge impact on her connection to food and what it meant to care for the land that provided for her family. She brought that passion with her to the tropical climate of Hawaii. She became a certified Maui Master Gardener in 2017 and took over as the School Garden Director at Haiku Elementary School shortly thereafter. She’s an active member of the Hawai’i Farmer’s Union United, where she runs their “Junior Farmers Program” and has worked with Grow Some Good in various capacities over the last three years. We are happy to welcome her aboard as the new Volunteer Coordinator to assist with volunteer needs for all school gardens across the island.  

Havilah’s goals for the school garden program this year:

  • Expanding our compost system to get students excited about the process of creating healthy soil for our garden.
  • Installing a much needed irrigation system.
  • Creating a vertical garden to show how we can use engineering and design to maximize efficiency in growing food.
  • Installing an outdoor “kitchen” space where students can learn practical food preparation and cooking skills to encourage them to make healthy choices.
  • Expanding our after school garden club to provide more time in the garden for those students interested in learning and helping more!    

What I’m looking forward to most: Our harvest parties! When students are able to harvest what they have seeded and planted and learn the preparation and cooking skills on how to turn that fresh produce into healthy and nutritious food is one of my favorite things! 

Favorite inspirations from the school garden: When children get excited about building healthy soil! 

What guides my work with students in the garden: A deeply rooted passion for educating our keiki about how we can collectively grow our own healthy, organic food to care for ourselves, our community, and our planet. 

My favorite fruit or vegetable that grows on Maui: Ulu!

About your new position as Volunteer Coordinator: Volunteers are indispensable. The success of school gardens and the farm to school movement depends on the time, energy, and commitment of volunteers that are passionate and willing to help where needed. Through community involvement in school gardens, we can build the momentum needed to make positive change and to reconnect our children, our communities, and our islands to local food systems.

Do you have a favorite volunteer story/experience to share? My favorite volunteer experiences are the workdays where there’s music and laughter and teamwork and community building. There’s nothing better than finishing a workday or a project and seeing what a big difference we made. Recognizing the significance of the effort and the impact it will have on the children’s learning experience, while celebrating the new friendships we’ve formed is priceless.

Anything else you’d like to add to your profile? I’m looking forward to connecting any and all interested volunteers, including local businesses, work groups, clubs, organizations, and others to the important and highly heart-satisfying work that’s being done in school gardens across Maui.  

To sign up as a volunteer, send email to volunteer@growsomegood.org.

Read more about all of Grow Some Good’s staff.

Sophia Mershad

Garden Coordinator

King Kamehameha III Elementary and Makawao Elementary

Sophia holds a degree in Sustainability Studies with an emphasis in Permaculture Design. She is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leader School in Patagonia, Chile and has an appreciation for herbal medicine. While in college she had an internship at an Environmental Education Center and realized that there was a way to combine her passion for children, farming, and the environment.  

My goals for the school garden program this year:
To get the children excited about the wonderful world of plants!

What I’m looking forward to most:
Getting the children to eat different fruits or vegetables that they normally wouldn’t.

What I like most about school garden programs:
Getting children outside and getting their hands in the soil. There is a lot less of that happening these days.

What inspires me about working with kids in the garden:
Seeing the big smiles and excitement that comes from discovering and learning new things. We are all meant to connect with nature.

My favorite fruit or vegetable that grows on Maui:
Longans, dino kale and lilikoi!

Scott Lacasse

Farm to School Program Manager

Scott joined Grow Some Good in November 2019 as the first Farm to School Program Manager. With the merger of MSGN this was a much needed role. Scott will focus on managing and improving farm to school support and program impact for nearly 8,000 students on Maui and Lānaʻi.

Scott joins us after a six years at Montessori School of Maui as Living Classroom Resource Teacher and student-led Sustainability Committee facilitator. Scott’s background includes extensive experience in landscape architecture and design. He also recently completed a Master of Science Graduate Degree in Environmental Studies from Green Mountain College (Vermont) with a vision of applying these principles to our living classrooms.  

When he’s not rooted in research or teaching, you can find Scott, camera in hand, at the forest or beach with his wife, Megan, daughter, Mae, and dog, Abbey.