Stories from the Garden: from The Story Connective

This fall, garden coordinators, administrators, and board members from Grow Some Good met with the Story Connective to do a Story Bridge workshop. Participants were prompted to talk about a time they experienced in the garden that a child will never forget.

These stories provide a glimpse of the magic that happens in school gardens. Take a listen to these remarkable stories here.

Mahalo to the Story Connective for putting together this wonderful collection.

A Message from Kathy Becklin, Executive Director

Kathy Becklin, Grow Some Good’s first Executive Director, has done a tremendous job managing the organization and helping it move forward in critical areas of fundraising, curriculum development, and garden management. Now, as Grow Some Good enters its tenth year of providing school gardens, she shares why she’s stepping down.

As Kathy explains, she’s not going anywhere! She will still be active as a volunteer and serve as Treasurer on the Grow Some Good Board of Directors.

View on YouTube here.

Grow Some Good’s Strategic Focus

Growing Some Good for 10 Years

The 2018-19 school year marks the 10th year of Grow Some Good providing educational school gardens for Maui students. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years! As a strategic and visionary organization, we took a look at where we have been and where we should put our focus for the next five years and beyond.

 

 

 

Board Discussions

In June, the Board of Directors met to discuss the organization’s status and future strategic goals. As part of the process, we reviewed the strategic planning documents from our last session in 2015. A highlight of this review was recognizing all the great things we have accomplished since 2015!  It is also reassuring to see that we are still on our planned path toward our mission to “cultivate healthier communities by strengthening local agriculture and improving access to nutritious, affordable food.”

2018-19 Goals

Looking at the immediate future, Grow Some Good identified goals and activities for the 2018-19 School Year.

Strengthen School Relationships. Enhance our work in curriculum across grade levels, especially in the areas of science. Set expectations of schools and students and provide key curriculum, making it easy for teachers to utilize complementary lessons in the classroom. Demonstrate the true value of the garden as an effective learning tool.

Strategic Expansion. Focus on areas of maximum opportunity, such as adding a grade or class at an existing school or enhancing a specific project.  We see limited expansion into new schools during the upcoming school year.

Build and Solidify Partnerships. While we have an active and supportive network in the chef and restaurant community, we want to expand beyond this group.  Our goal is to reach more local farmers, businesses, community groups and educational resources.

Enhance our Outreach Programs. In our early years, GSG volunteers and staff actively participated in many community events. This has tapered off recently. Our goal for the coming year is to participate in relevant community activities to engage with new volunteers and supporters. Leveraging off a tagline we had for years, we are calling the Outreach Program “Grow Some Good in Your Neighborhood,” and will include participation in events, Work & Learn Days, and other activities.

Adaptation and Utilization of Specialists. We are reviewing various cost saving opportunities such as outsourcing some Human Resources activities, or utilizing an irrigation specialist. This allows GSG to leverage the expertise of people and groups in our community while focusing on what we do best.

Looking at the Future

With over 4,000 students participating in our programs at 11 Maui schools, Grow Some Good is one of the largest school garden program providers in the state. As the Farm to School movement in Hawaii gains traction, we recognize the opportunity to provide leadership, data, and activities to support the movement. Initiatives like the ‘Aina Pono Farm to School Program re-introduce local produce and agriculture products into select school cafeterias across the state. We anticipate this program will grow in popularity, creating a need and desire to provide more local and school-grown produce for school cafeterias, as well as opportunities to develop more growing spaces and food forests on campuses. Grow Some Good is preparing for this opportunity by reaching out to local partners and funders who might be interested in supporting this important change for our schools and students.

As we look to the next school year, we are excited about deploying some new projects, enhancing our gardens and working with our schools to increase the educational value of the garden programs.

Growing Food and Inspiring Healthy Eating

Harvest Festivals – What Students Taught Us

Amazing Dishes

 

Harvest Festivals are year-end activities that allow students to enjoy the fruits of their labor. This year, volunteer Chefs from DUO in the Four Seasons Wailea, Outrigger Pizza Company and Ono Gelato came out to share their skills with students in the garden. Quesadillas, harvest fresh salsa, smoothies, steamed kalo (taro), herb salad, rosemary and lavender lemonade, and ratatouille served on a kalo and ‘ulu (breadfruit) pancake, were some of the fun and unique garden-inspired dishes that the chefs shared. Find some of these recipes here.

Tasting Something New

While students were eager to try the dishes made from ingredients from their gardens, they hesitated on some of the more unique items. At Kihei Elementary School, many had never tried ratatouille before. To encourage students to try it, we started having them be part of the assembly process. Each student got a piece of pancake, and served their own ratatouille, as much, or as little as they wanted, over the pancake. This simple bit of engagement made them feel like they were part of creating the dish, and they were less intimidated to try it. When they did, they loved it!

Similarly, at Pomaika ‘i Elementary School in Kahului, the first class of students to participate in the Harvest Festival was hesitant to try the kalo (taro), with only about 10% tasting it. For the second class, teachers asked students to serve it to their classmates. With this small change, participation in the tasting skyrocketed, with over 80% of students tasting the kalo.

Meanwhile, at Kamali’i Elementary School in Kihei, students loaded on the veggies without hesitation when it was their turn to make quesadillas. Did having a hand in creating their meal make a difference? We think so.

Lesson Learned

In the end, teachers, chefs, and garden coordinators saw the importance of having students involved in the food preparation and serving process.  By having them try a dish they had served themselves, or having the encouragement of their classmates, students weren’t as fearful to try something new. They enjoyed their schools’ Harvest Festival events as a way to taste new foods and celebrate the ending of a successful school year.

Parents and caregivers can also learn from this experience. Having your child select produce from a local farmer’s market is the first step. Letting them help prepare the dish, and then serve it to family members, can have a big impact and get the whole family to try eating healthier foods.

Bon appetit!

Annual School Garden Survey Results

As the 2017-18 school year came to a close, Grow Some Good conducted its annual School Garden Survey of teachers and principals. Results of both surveys showed that school garden programs make a significant impact with students and are changing the faces of our school campuses.

Teachers’ School Garden Survey Results

The following tables highlight some of the most significant results that came from about 120 teachers who participate in our program. Results come from grade K-8 and across 10 schools.


Teachers Share Observations Regarding Students’ Activities and Learning.

Teachers in Grow Some Good Programs Report Major Changes in Student Learning as shown in 2018 School Garden Survey

Garden Lessons Extend Beyond Planting & Harvesting

Garden teaching enhances key curriculum as shown in 2018 School Garden Survey

Teacher Comments

“I think Garden is something we ALL look forward to.  The students love being outside and learning in a hands-on environment about things they genuinely find interesting.”


There are some children who struggle with academic learning but excel with the hands-on experience of the garden – this is an important part of their education.


“Students really enjoyed going to the garden and learning about the plants, growing plants, harvesting, observing the cycles of nature, learning about insects, composting, taking care of the plants, and much more!  Such a positive experience!”


“The students love garden days!”

Principals’ School Garden Survey Results

Principals agreed that the gardens make a positive impact on their school campuses.

100% of principals agreed that Garden:

  • Provides additional educational resources for teachers
  • Has added to the beautification of the campus
  • Students have a sense of pride about their school garden.

Principals Also Said…

“The garden adds so much to our school culture and promotes a sense of pride on our campus.”

“Our garden coordinator is awesome, dedicated and makes things happen.”

“It was great this year!”

Delicious Food & Great Fun at Taste of School Gardens

Friends of Grow Some Good Show Their Support

Saturday, March 10th, friends and supporters of Grow Some Good gathered to celebrate the 6th Annual Taste of School Gardens event, held at Maui Tropical Plantation. Guests enjoyed wonderful garden-inspired dishes, with fine wines, local brews, and music by the Deborah Vial Band. The event raised over $50,000 for our school garden programs.

“Zero Waste” Results

With the help of Maui Huliau Foundation Green Events program, we were able to reduce the amount of waste generated from the event that ended up in a landfill to just 7%, while 71% of waste was compostable, and 22% recycled.   

Gardens Change Lives

See how the kids enjoy the garden with our video, “Gardens Change Lives,” created in partnership with the Mālamalama Maui Project and Kilinahe Media.

 

Mahalo to all of our sponsors, restaurant partners, vendors, volunteers, and donors who helped make this a very special night.

 

                

                                                                  

Photo Credits: Mieko Photography

“Zero Waste” at Taste of School Gardens

Goals for the Environment

Grow Some Good cares deeply about our island environment, and it has long been a goal of ours to reduce the amount of waste generated at the annual Taste of School Gardens event. Through our partnership with the Maui Huliau Foundation Green Events program, and our event hosts at Maui Tropical Plantation, this year we hope to meet this goal and minimize the waste that goes to landfills.

What is “Zero-Waste?”

This year we’re excited to present a “zero-waste” event as part of our eco-plan for Taste of School Gardens. What does that mean? Can any event really be “zero-waste?”

Maybe not completely, but we can get close! Zero-waste stations throughout the event will have separate receptacles for food waste and recyclable material, diverting 65-86% of waste from landfills.  Each station has bins, educational signs and volunteers to ensure that items are disposed of properly. These waste stations become educational opportunities to share the importance of the tenants of reduce, reuse, and recycle, and demonstrate how simple it can be.

The use of compostable serving dishes, forks, and spoons, generously donated by Sustainable Island Products, will help reduce waste further. As gardeners, we know the value of composting and creating rich, vibrant soil, and we’re excited about using compostable materials.  We’re also encouraging guests to reuse their glassware, and providing rinse stations for glasses at the wine tents.

Mahalo to our partners in creating a zero-waste event at this year’s Taste of School Gardens.

 

Mahalo to Our Taste of School Gardens Sponsors

 

Taste of School Gardens 2018

Mahalo Nui Loa to Our Sponsors!

Taste of School Gardens at Maui Tropical Plantation

Taste of School Gardens took place Saturday, March 10th at the Maui Tropical Plantation Grand View Lawn. We’re grateful to our event hosts, Maui Tropical Plantation, for providing this venue surrounded by lush farmland, and with a breathtaking view of the Waikapu Valley.

Some of Maui’s best chefs served up delicious dishes inspired by school gardens. Mahalo for your support!

 

 

 

 

Featured Chefs and Restaurants:Photo of sample dish from Taste of School Gardens

 

Cheers!

Mahalo to our special fine wine and beer vendors:

Chambers & Chambers Wine Merchants

Johnson Brothers of Hawaii

Paradise Beverages

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Maui Brewing Company

 

Entertainment By the Deborah Vial Band 

Mahalo to Maui singer Deborah Vial for sharing your great vocal talent at this event.

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to our sponsors for lending their support and expertise to make this event a success!

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.