Zero Waste School Lunch Pilot Launches in Lahaina

When Gretchen Losano, co-founder of West Maui Green Cycle, approached Grow Some Good about a garden coordinator position, inspiration for a new pilot program with Lahaina Intermediate School was born. In her letter, she proposed a different option for the position via mentorship with the Windward Zero Waste School Hui, a school food waste composting program started by Mindy Jaffe on O‘ahu.

“I am bringing the method to Maui and I can envision the most perfect partnership with your incredible program,” said Gretchen.

That was mid-September. The school garden at Lahaina Intermediate School had totally overgrown during the summer, and Grow Some Good’s budget for hiring a school garden coordinator for one day a week was a tough match for a space that needed lots of work to make it safe for classes to begin. 

“On Gretchen’s first visit to the school campus our focus quickly shifted from rebuilding a garden to zero waste and soil building.”

Kathy Becklin, Grow Some Good Executive Director

In mid-November, Gretchen ran an audit to see how much waste the cafeteria was producing. “What I saw was so extensive, I couldn’t stand to see it go to the landfill,” Gretchen said. So she built her first compost piles that day.

Working closely with the school’s principal and food service manager, Gretchen was hired to manage the Zero Waste Program pilot in the cafeteria. She collected buckets and bought equipment to set up the first phase of the compost system, located just outside the cafeteria in a large, sunny open land area adjacent to the school garden. The space was already equipped with a large pile of wood chips perfect for composting and easy access for future drop offs from local tree trimmers. 

More than 730 sixth- to eighth-grade students attend Lahaina Intermediate School.

During the school’s three lunch periods, Gretchen and student helpers are collecting and diverting 150 to 200 pounds of food waste per day.

Instead of throwing everything away in trash bins, they sort drinks, food, plastics, cardboard trays, unused/unopened items, and non-recyclable trash. Food waste is then carried in buckets to the Zero Waste station where it is converted into compost. Grow Some Good’s program manager, Scott Lacasse, filmed a sneak peek video on the process during a recent visit.

“When students are first-hand witnesses and participate in diverting massive amounts of waste from the landfill, they understand that they are part of something much bigger.”  

Gretchen Losano

After school, Gretchen and her daughter, Kaliko, separate and measure single-use plastic waste, such as plastic utensils, and fruit cups, filling a 13-gallon bag every day. She’s saving the overstuffed plastic bags to give students, parents, and community leaders a visual demonstration of the importance of reducing single-use plastics on Maui.

While several islands have passed bans on some of the highest volume waste products – on Maui (styrofoam), Big Island (styrofoam) and Oahu (single use plastic) – reducing product use is slow. 

“When you look at the scope of this issue on Maui and the system that needs to be built to divert waste islandwide, it can seem overwhelming.” Kathy said. “Students at Lahaina Intermediate are starting by addressing what’s right in front of them and modeling a path to better solutions for waste reduction on Maui.” 

Kathy Becklin

Since 2008, Gretchen has been involved in statewide advocacy initiatives to help Hawai‘i legislators and students to understand the consequences of using styrofoam and plastic on the environment.

“The products are still out there, and single use plastics are out of control. None of it is being recycled,” Gretchen said. “Diverting waste from the landfill isn’t just a good thing to do. It’s the only way we’re going to survive.”

Support Zero Waste Programs on Maui

Several other schools have expressed interest in the Zero Waste Program; however, growing outreach at this stage requires additional funding to cover basic supplies, such as hand carts, buckets, tarps, gloves, and other compositing equipment. Funding also supports staff training and labor. On average, it takes three to four hours a day to oversee collection and processing of food waste from the cafeteria.

Grow Some Good is just $10,000 short of its funding goal to complete the 2019/20 Zero Waste Program pilot. Please consider making a donation toward the continuation of this important pilot through the end of the school year. Stay tuned as this program develops. Leave your comments, ideas, and questions below and subscribe to our email newsletter.

6 Tips to Grow and Harvest Your Sunflower

Here are some tips to  help you grow sunflowers. Sunflower

  1. Water your sunflower seed start container every morning to keep the soil and sprouting seed moist.
  2. Once the sunflower sprout reaches a height of about 4 inches, transplant it directly into the soil. Sunflowers have long tap roots, so they don’t grow well in containers.
  3. Choose a spot that gets direct sunlight at least 6-8 hours each day.
  4. Give your sunflower plenty of water every morning, watering at the base of the plant. Try to avoid splashing water onto the leaves as excess moisture can cause powdery mildew and interfere with the growth of the plant.
  5. As the sunflower reaches its maximum height, it will begin to droop at the head. When petals fall off, the center florets dry up and the seed kernels begin to swell. At this stage, it’s best to cover your flower head with a mesh onion bag or loose burlap or paper bag. This keeps birds from eating your seeds.
  6. Cut the stalks at the base when the ripened seeds develop a hard shell. If you plan to eat your sunflower seeds or preserve them for your bird feeder, wait until the seeds are completely dry; then remove them by hand or by rubbing them over wire mesh into a basket. Store in tightly closed containers to maintain freshness and keep rodents away.

Would you like a more in-depth post on growing sunflowers?  Here it is  — compliments of Peter Weeks from The Daily Gardener.   Mahalo!

Cow Pig Bun

cowpigbunCow Pig Bun is a Fundraising Partner, participating in our annual Taste of School Gardens fundraiser and other events to benefit Grow Some Good programs. The restaurants co-owners have kids who have participated in our school garden programs since kindergarten and have seen first hand how garden education inspires better nutrition choices and greater learning experiences. Visit Cow Pig Bun’s facebook page for more information.

Fabiani’s

Fabiani's Wailea Logo CMYK-1Fabiani’s is a Fundraising Partner since 2014. A participant in our annual Taste of School Gardens fundraising event. Fabiani’s is a sponsor with kids participating in Kihei school gardens. Our garden ohana restaurant offers fine Italian dining and baked goods with locations in Kihei and Wailea. Visit their website to make reservations.

four seasons resort maui at wailea

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

FSMAUlgFour Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is a Garden Visionary Partner with Grow Some Good as a sponsor of our annual Taste of School Gardens event since 2012 and host property of several food and wine events throughout the year, benefitting Grow Some Good. As the employer of hundreds of parents whose keiki benefit from school garden programs, this model partnership is a great example of corporations taking a direct and personal interest in the health and sustainability of their ohana. Mahalo nui loa.

Taste of School Gardens Raises $54,000

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Mieko Photography

What an amazing celebration! Big MAHALO to 450 new and old friends who gathered for the 3rd Annual Taste of School Gardens event Saturday night at Hotel Wailea.

Guests enjoyed delicious gourmet cuisine made with local and school garden- grown ingredients, sipped fine wines and local brews, took in the beautiful ocean views and kicked up their heels to bluegrass music by Aloha Chicken.

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Mieko Photography

Together, we raised more than $54,000 in ticket sales and donations!

Thanks to you, Grow Some Good is continuing to grow and support school garden programs on Maui – currently serving more than 3,000 students in 12 school gardens in South, Central and West Maui. That’s double where we were last year at this time.

Looking forward to digging into another year of supporting community food and healthy keiki programs on Maui.  We still have more funds to raise for our 2015-16 school year, so stay tuned for more opportunities to help us grow our programs.

Check out our Facebook album to see more beautiful moments from the event captured by Mieko Photography.

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Mieko Photography

We have a long list of personal thank-yous on the way, but here’s a start: All the incredible sponsors you see listed below:

Hotel Wailea, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Makana Aloha Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Maui No Ka ‘Oi Magazine, Maui Time Weekly, Capische?, Private Maui Chef, Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman, Spago, DUO and Ferraro’s at Four Seasons Maui, Cow Pig Bun, Fabiani’s, Sangrita, The Outrigger Pizza Company, Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods, Whole Foods Market Maui, Surf Rents Trucks, Tri-Isle Resource Conservation & Development Council Inc., Ali’i Linens, Maui Culinary Academy, Young’s Market Maui, Chambers & Chambers Wine Merchants, Kupa’a Farms, See Farms, Simpli-fresh Farms, Ainalani Farms / Fresh Island Herbs, Oko’a Farms, Oprah’s Farm, Epic Lighting LLC, All Pure Media

Mieko Photography
Mieko Photography

…and all the restaurants, chefs, teachers, parents, volunteers, long time supporters and new friends who truly made this a memorable evening for everyone.

More great events to support school gardens to come!

MAHALO NUI LOA!

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Princess Nahi’ena’ena Joins Grow Some Good Ohana

10636092_783752615014145_7515040288284561589_nAloha Maui! We’re excited about new school garden programs launching on the West Side in collaboration with Maui School Garden Network and generous support from Chef Nabavi, Makana Aloha Foundation and Ulupono Initiative. School garden programs are sprouting up this month at Princess Nahi’ena’ena Elementary School and Maui Preparatory Academy. Students are composting, preparing soil for new beds and planting seeds for their new edible classrooms.

We’ll keep posting to this album with more photos from all the good things growing in these schools.  Next stop — Lahaina Intermediate School… Stay tuned 🙂

For more information on getting involved with these programs, visit https://growsomegood.org/volunteer/

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 https://growsomegood.org/volunteer/

Baldwin High School – Workforce Readiness Grows Here

Students in the Work Force Readiness Program (WFRP) at Baldwin High School plant, tend, manage and harvest from the garden on a daily basis and harvest produce to create added value products as part of an entrepreneuriBaldwin High School - workforce readiness programal venture that helps to sustain the program. Added value items for sale, include weekly teacher box lunches, jellies and salsas, pot pies, banana breads various pickled produce items, teas and dried herbs. By partnering with the Agriculture program WFRP will be able to have a ready supply of additional produce items to create value added products and to meet their goal of using 100% school grown produce in their weekly plate lunches.

For volunteer information, visit https://growsomegood.org/volunteer/