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.

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