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School Garden Coordinator (several positions)

Summary

Do you love working with kids and sharing your passion for growing your own food and eating health? Apply today!

The Garden Coordinator leads curriculum-focused outdoor classes and garden-based nutrition workshops. The Garden Coordinator works with teachers as they plan their lessons utilizing the outdoor classroom and models skills that teachers need to feel comfortable using the garden to teach science, history, social studies, cultural studies, math, literacy and other standards in practical real-life applications.

HOURS:

There are several positions available which may be either Grow Some Good staff or Department of Education positions or private school positions.

  • 10-35 hours per week depending on position
  • Variable based on school hours but typically 7 hours/day between 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. up to 5 days/week + prep time
  • Location: various across island of Maui
  • RATE: $17 – $22 per hour

Responsibilities

  • Work with teachers to develop lessons that support classroom teaching in a range of curriculum areas (science, social studies, mathematics, language arts, etc.). Lead garden classes, incorporating both environmental science and nutrition education as they relate to the garden.
  • Oversee and coordinate students’ hands-on experiences in the garden (planting, tending, harvesting and cooking).
  • Lead safe and efficient maintenance of the garden, coordinate volunteers, support school outreach functions and work with PTA and PCNC (Parent Child Networking Coordinator) and Grow Some Good to secure needed supplies.
  • Collaborate with Grow Some Good on garden scheduling / maintenance, plan and prepare for garden work activities, co-manage planting schedule, ensure availability of tools and other necessary materials.
  • Establish garden time schedule with curriculum coordinators and teachers.
  • Participate in community garden events that bring students, families, teacher and community members together.
  • Maintain necessary records of garden use and volunteer activity.

Required Qualifications

  • At least 2 years of college, with work in agriculture, science, ecology, environmental science, education or related field. Relevant work experience may be substituted for college background.
  • 1+ years of facilitation or teaching experience with youth aged 5 – 14.
  • Knowledge and experience in growing a variety of edible plants in tropical climates. Knowledge of topics including urban gardening, botany, biodynamics, indigenous farming techniques; environmental science, health and nutrition, food systems, food access are a plus.
  • Able to establish positive rapport with diverse groups of students and volunteers through written and verbal communications.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with diverse populations including youth and adults.
  • Ability to organize work plans and work independently.
  • In good physical condition with willingness to participate in occasional physical labor in garden setting. Much of day is spent on your feet in outdoor setting. Must be able to lift and carry 25 lbs.
  • Should have access to transportation for occasional supplies procurement and delivery and be able to show proof of insurance for vehicle used.
  • May be required to meet Department of Education minimum qualifications for employment and/or complete background check.
  • Must be able to access a personal computer and have a cell phone.

About Grow Some Good

Grow Some Good cultivates a healthy community by strengthening local agriculture and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. Grow Some Good is a nonprofit community program that currently supports schools in grades K-12 across Maui.

As a non-profit, positions are dependent on organization getting grant funding and donations. Positions are typically for the school year and breaks are not paid for unless there are special projects.

To apply, send cover letter and resume to apply at growsomegood dot org with Garden Coordinator Position in the subject line.

MFSN Program Manager – Closed

This job posting is now closed as of Aug 26, 2019. There are still openings for Garden Coordinators.

Job Description

This is a new position reporting to the Executive Director which is responsible for management of Maui Farm to School Network (MFSN) program. This job is critical to the success of our merger with Maui School Garden Network where many of the duties were previously performed pro-bono. 

Grow Some Good works with over 40 K-12 schools on Maui and Lana‘i to cultivate an understanding of how to grow, harvest, and prepare nutritious food in sustainable school gardens with emphasis on promoting healthy eating habits and  promoting agriculture careers while integrating agriculture related learning and including Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) education and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into the curriculum.  

Job Duties

Program Management

Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence, program evaluation, communications, and working systems; recommend timelines and resources to achieve Grow Some Good’s strategic goals. 

Develop and lead the team of Garden Coordinators / Educators who work at various schools across Maui and Lana‘i.  Hire and manage Garden Coordinators and Garden Educator staff including working with schools to hire Part-time Teachers (PTT) as well as our own part and full-time staff. Assign coordinators to schools. Give feedback and mentoring support as needed to garden coordinators. Facilitate roundtable meetings with coordinators quarterly. 

Be the primary contact with school administration to establish garden sustainability plans, garden goals and assist with staffing and training of garden personnel.  

Manage and approve expenses for school garden programs including staff and resources.  Connect with community to engage volunteers and get donations.  

Maintain statistics and metrics on approximately 40 K-12 schools on Maui and Lana‘i with updates on a semester basis (hours of garden classroom education, number of students, produce harvested).  Run annual survey of principals and teachers to get feedback on program value, staff performance and opportunities for improvement. 

Prepare monthly program report and attend the Board of Directors meeting to keep board members informed of the program activities. 

Training and Retention 

Work with schools to provide qualified staff to support school programs.  This may include posting positions, interviewing and hiring, and working with school’s class scheduling staff. Not all people selected  will work directly for Grow Some Good and may report to the school. Review performance of staff annually and mentor qualified staff in career opportunities. 

Establish, plan and implement required training programs for Garden Coordinators and Garden Educator staff.   Training includes but is not limited to the following: 

  • Detailed Curriculum Training
  • Food Safety Training 
  • Safe Garden Management practices including tools use and storage, safe harvest practices, Integrated Pest Management, soil testing, companion plant management. 
  • Class management techniques
  • Garden maintenance strategies and long-term plans  for school gardens (crop rotation, weeding, pest control, tools, water supply, pathways, etc.). 

Garden Network

Communicate with school garden leads, and school administration to highlight successes, initiatives, training and resources available to schools.  Participate as Maui Island Coordinator of the Hawai’i State Farm to School Hui  and relevant working groups. This includes travel to other islands quarterly. Engage in legislative action that supports the interaction of the DOA, DOE, and DOH in establishing sustainability goals for the state in areas of independence including food supply, clean water, renewable energy, and supportive infrastructure. 

Network activities includes: 

  • Identify resources to solve garden challenges (irrigation, build garden structures, organize community volunteers, mulch and soil). Maintain a current list of specialists in the areas of irrigation systems, composting systems, native plant starts and garden design.
  • Maintain list of grant opportunities for all schools (public, independent, and charter) in the areas of garden learning and nutrition.
  • Maintain the Farm to School Field trip Manual 
  • Share training and conference opportunities
  • Share Hawai‘i Farm-to-School Hui resources and materials. Share Farm-to-School initiatives that may impact school and garden programs. 
  • Guide schools in developing their own lists of potential volunteers for fundraising, gardening class support, mala work days, and harvest festivals through the school PCNC, PTA, and other relevant internal school support organizations.
  • Connect with principals, food service managers, teacher leads and PTA’s to engage and support the school garden programs at the schools. 

Development Support

The Program Manager must work with Grow Some Good’s Development Director and Executive Director to define programs, estimate projects and define potential grant projects and fundraising opportunities.  The program manager is responsible for assisting in writing grant reports and maintaining budget information for their programs.  

Community Outreach and Partnership Development

Prepare stories for social media, website, and e-newsletter and encourage staff to do the same.

Work with community leaders and partners to connect organization to the community. 

Establish and build relationships with farming, agriculture and natural resources training programs, invasive species education, Master Gardener training, health and nutrition education training, conservation training, watershed education, native plants education, seed saving education, composting education, and aquaponics education to provide available resources to garden coordinators and schools. Maintain and cultivate relationships with food pantry partners, farmers and food producers, and organizational partners to ensure quality programming that meets community needs. 

Minimum Qualifications 

  • Bachelor’s or advanced degree, with at least 2 years related work experience  
  • Must have good project management skills as well as ability to write reports. 
  • Ability to establish rapport and develop strong relationships with a diverse group of people, including youth, teachers, school administrators, community leaders, and managers from nonprofit organizations and local institutions.
  • Ability to work independently, set priorities and meet deadlines in an unpredictable environment.  Able to weigh multiple factors to act quickly, decisively and diplomatically. 
  • Valid driver’s license and reliable vehicle 
  • Willing to travel to remote areas of Maui, Lana‘i and other Hawaiian Islands
  • Ability to work weekends and evenings when needed
  • Must be computer savvy with knowledge of tools such as Google (Doc/Sheets/Drive) and/or Microsoft Word/Excel. 
  • Must be comfortable with public speaking (events, training, radio and TV interviews) 

Desired Qualifications 

  • Excited about the work of Growing Gardens!  And growing keiki.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in education, agriculture, environmental science or comparative years of experience.
  • Proven record of managing team of 10+ workers. 
  • Willingness to transport materials to schools.  (Truck and/or willingness to use rentals) 
  • Experience working with schools and after-school programs.
  • Organic gardening experience.
  • Knowledge of use of garden equipment and tool safety. 
  • Familiarity with Hawaii local food systems and food safety.
  • Commitment to healthy eating and garden and nutrition education. 
  • Well connected with the culture of the Hawaiian Islands. 
  • Ability to communicate to both adults and students. 

Work Environment

  • Includes substantial office-based work and connecting w/community; position is about 50% or more office work. We do not have an office so home office or comparable option is required.
  • Must have ability to lift/carry 40+ lbs. 
  • Must have ability to stand, stoop, reach and bend.  Must have dexterity to grasp large and small objects. 
  • Must have ability to stand for long periods and walk distances over uneven surfaces.

Benefits:

This position is a full-time salaried position with medical benefits available. Salary range is $40,000 to $50,000 based on experience and skills. Mileage reimbursement. Paid time off.

2019 School Garden Survey

Each year, we do a School Garden Survey of teachers and principals to check in with our schools and determine if we are meeting their needs, and how we can do better. The results shown are from 149 teachers and administrators at 11 Maui County DOE schools.

Differences in the Program This Year

Grow Some Good introduced new curriculum this year with approximately 16 lessons per grade level that are mapped to Next Generation Science Standards. It was designed to be used as appropriate, not necessarily in order, and it provided a great framework for garden coordinators to use to align garden lessons with classroom learning.

Key Findings from the 2019 School Garden Survey

This annual School Garden Survey report shows that we had some gains in many areas, and there are still pockets where teachers and schools want more from Grow Some Good and our partner, Maui School Garden Network.

With regard to attributes that teachers observed among students, 88% of teachers reported seeing an increased interest in eating fruits and vegetables; up from 84% last year; 58% of teachers reported seeing an improved attitude towards school; up from 53% last year.

With regard to garden benefits in academics, we continue to excel in the areas of science, and health and nutrition, with 98% of teachers saying the garden benefits students in these areas.  79% of teachers said the garden benefits lessons in math, up from 56% last year; 87% of teachers said the garden benefits lessons in English/language arts, up from 69% last year; and 85% of teachers said the garden benefits lessons in Hawaiian Studies, up from 61% last year

Following is a report on the percentage of teachers who indicated on the School Garden Survey that they saw a benefit or change in students in the described areas.

Attributes Observed of School Garden Participants

87% Increased environmental attitude/attitudes
49% Increased community spirit and interest in volunteerism
52% Improved social skills/behaviors
88% Increased interest in eating fruits and vegetables
29% Improved motor skills
31% Academic gains
58% Improved attitude towards school

Comments about observed attributes:

  • The garden has been a great space to encourage mindfulness. It provides a silent spot for students to sit and observe the garden, and has been a huge benefit for students who need to learn how to self-regulate.
  • Their ability to work cooperatively has improved as well as more awareness of things/people around them. They are less egocentric after working in the garden.
  • Students work together to solve problems. I think they make more connections between nature and their academics.
  • Increased interest in agricultural careers.
  • Students are smiling and engaging with each other in a more positive, different way.

Student Behavior Benefits:

94%Students are learning new gardening skills
61%Students are more focused in classroom activities after being
in the garden
35%Students/parents are starting home gardens as result of school
garden program
39%Students have better attendance on garden class days
73%Students have improved attitudes with respect for others, and
demonstrate caring and nurturing behaviors

Comments about observed benefits:

  • Garden class gets my students outside with a purpose. Also, many live in condos so they may not have experience with growing food or caring for nature.  The garden coordinator and the outdoor classroom were exciting and the students learned about life cycles. Later in the year we were able to gather, care for and observe the life cycle of 11 butterflies! The kids were so excited. The garden coordinator got the students, even my picky eaters, to try new foods!
  • Students are learning to try new things as well as gaining a respect for nature and how things are grown.
  • Students LOVE garden class; learning how to be gardeners and appreciate nature more!
  • I have noticed that students know more about plants, gardening, etc when reading stories about such topics.
  • They have more respect for where their food comes from and a better understanding of Hawaiian culture in relation to specific foods in Hawaii.
  • Students are introduced to healthy foods they have never had before.
  • I love having the garden not only because of the beauty it brings to our campus, but the learning is tremendous!
  • Students make a connection that outdoors in the garden is another learning environment… not just inside the classroom.
  • Kids enjoy the hands-on aspect and they learn how to synergize with each other.
  • Students discover that trying new things (even when muddy or ‘yucky’ or buggy) isn’t as scary as they originally thought. Now students are more interested in giving things a try whereas before – they were very hesitant.
  • They (students) are kinder to bugs, because they know they help the plants.

Core Curriculum Benefits

  Topic Extremely
Beneficial
Beneficial Somewhat
Beneficial
Total
Benefit
Math 15% 35% 29% 79%
Science 60% 31% 7% 98%
English/
Language Arts
19% 37% 31% 87%
Hawaiian Studies 37% 31% 17% 85%
History/Social Studies 23% 35% 23% 81%
Health and Nutrition 69% 27% 3% 98%

Comments about Core Curriculum

  • Target a couple science standards for each grade level.
  • Perhaps assign some take home papers or readings to extend the learning and work on addressing ELA CCSS.
  • Students would enjoy having more tasting sessions.
  • Gardening can be related to nearly all core curriculum classes in varied presentation aspects.
  • Encourage more core teachers to get involved.
  • The collaboration and communication time with certain grade levels will help with the execution of lessons and garden integration with the curriculum and place/project-based learning.
  • Implement more math and reading or writing into the garden.
  • Having time for the students to visit the garden to do other content area skills. Writing stories and connecting math to the garden.
  • Keep building lessons that support NGSS.

Non-Core Subjects

To the best of your knowledge and observation, which of the following non-core subjects are taught in the garden?

  • 93% Health and Nutrition
  • 86% Environmental Studies
  • 77% General Learner Outcomes (GLO)
  • 71% Agricultural Studies
  • 61% Home Ec/Cooking
  • 55% Service Learning / Community Service
  • 52% Art
  • 20% Physical Education
  • 12% Special Education

General Comments to the School Garden Survey

  • We are very happy with GSG & MSGN in our school. Thank you very much.
  • I’m not sure (how to improve), this program is fantastic! Keep up the great work!
  • I’ve only been once (to the garden) and from that one time, I’ve realized how beneficial it is for the students. I would like to design lessons around it to connect it with my content.
  • Every time a student goes to garden, they bring veggies or cooked food back. They really enjoy eating and sharing the food with their teachers (even their core teachers).
  • Our teachers’ involvement with the garden and value for the ‘aina has greatly increased in the last few years. Our teachers are starting their own beds with their students and prioritizing project and placed based learning through doing in the garden.
  • My students are all eager to participate in garden. We go at the end of the day, and my students perk right up. They are engaged in the content and ready to dive into the dirt, even the ones who said they don’t like getting dirty!
  • We need to have our garden coordinator continue his/her work in the garden and deliver the relevant and important lessons to our students.
  • Our garden time is the highlight of our week.

Improvement Suggestions

  • It would be nice if students could go out to the garden more often.
  • Could we allot more time per class? Or could we include discussion/lesson time in the classroom, so they are more prepared for the hands-on experience?
  • Create a small activity book (on recycled paper). 
  • Provide a regular lawn maintenance person
  • Provide extension activities to classroom teachers.
  • We are very happy with GSG & MSGN in our school. Thank you very much.
  • Introduce local produce. Helping to minimize food waste from the cafeteria is a concern for me. Students often don’t eat much of what is served.
  • Help us to build more gardens at our school :).
  • Provide PD for how teachers can utilize the garden outside of their dedicated garden class time.

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!

Taste of School Gardens 2019 Recap

On the evening of March 9, about 375 people came together at the beautiful Maui Tropical Plantation, to celebrate 10 years of building school gardens with Grow Some Good at the Taste of School Gardens 2019. Mahalo to the chefs, vendors, sponsors, volunteers, auction donors and guests who made this event come together. It truly takes a community! We raised over $46,000 to support school gardens and engaged many old and new friends.

Taste of School Gardens Opening Ceremony

Taste of School Gardens 2019 started with an opening that featuring hula and song by the 4th graders from Pōmaikaʻi Elementary School. Throughout the evening, our videos featured songs from Songs For Change where all songs were written and performed by students and teachers from Pōmaikaʻi.

Kathy Becklin, current Grow Some Good Executive Director, and Dr. Phyllis Robinson, started the program. Phyllis was a founding member of South Maui Sustainability, where Grow Some Good got started 10 years ago. She is now the Program Director for FAM — the Farm Apprentice Mentoring Program so we like to think that our students may someday join her program. Phyllis interviewed Kathy about how Grow Some Good has grown over 10 years. Kathy shared that we have provided over 250,000 class hours in our gardens. The program all started 10 years ago with just one teacher and her science classes; and that teacher, Ms. Alana Kaopuiki-Pellegrino was one of our guests!

Founding Teachers at Taste of School Gardens 2019
Alana Kaopuiki-Pellegrino (right) was the infamous teacher who first asked us to build some garden beds. Sandee Rivas (left) was also one of first teachers at Kihei Elementary School and was instrumental in starting a garden program at our newest school, King Kamehameha III Elementary School, where she is now the technology coordinator.

The Food, Entertainment and Silent Auction

Maui’s most conscious instrumental funk ensemble – Three to 5! provided great music as a backdrop to the social part of the event. Food is always the #1 feature at Taste of School Gardens and once again our ten chefs blew everyone away with their fabulous creations. Guests enjoyed friends, food and drinks and the silent auction. Make sure to take a look at the detailed photos below of the delicious food, beautiful setting and look for yourself and friends.

Program – 10 Years and Progress

The program was kicked off by co-founder and first official garden coordinator, Kirk Surry with a short video about the Day in the Life of a Garden Coordinator.

The Live Auction followed. Next, Grow Some Good co-founder, Nio Kindla, engaged the audience talking about progress that is being made in our school lunch programs through the ‘Aina Pono program. School gardens are an important part of the success of the program by connecting kids with the food they are eating. A focus on nutrition and waste reduction is improving the quality of lunches served in our schools.

Taste of School Gardens -- a look at the changing face of school lunches.

In celebration of Grow Some Good’s 10 year anniversary, volunteer Peter Liu compiled a video that tells our mission and garden stories, using footage collected over 10 years. This video is technically just over three minutes long, but during the 10 year’s worth of rolling credits, precious kids quotes take up another 3 minutes! Best to watch on a big screen!

The Closing : ‘Ohana

We closed with a final paddle raiser fundraiser, and then everyone joined hands in singing ‘ohana, from Songs for Change.

Growing a strong community – ‘Ohana

Means I’ll take care of you, you take care of me – ‘Ohana

Here’s the karaoke-style video of the kids singing, which was the led at the event by Ms. Melinda Carroll and the band. Melinda was the teaching artist who helped the students compose and perform the songs on Songs for Change.

Taste of School Gardens 2019
Enjoy all 184 photos from our Flickr Album.
Day of event photography by Mieko Photography.

Mahalo to all who participated in the Taste of School Gardens 2019!

If you missed the event and would love to contribute to this amazing cause that is changing the way kids think about their food, connecting them with the earth and building strong minds and bodies for our future generations, we would be very grateful. Join our ‘ohana!

Donate Now!

2019 Taste of School Gardens Menus

Want a glimpse into the wonderful dishes the chefs are preparing? Scroll through this list and share your favorites!

Thanks to All of our Sponsors

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.

Composting in School Gardens

Tips on Composting from our ED & “Compost Queen” Kathy Becklin

This morning I was out at the Kihei Elementary school garden.  Since it was hot, I spent much time in my favorite (and shady) area…the composting area. Sadly our 6+ bins were all in pretty bad shape but I worked to turn our composting effort around!
The bin in the photo above is my home compost pile.  It is about the same size as the ones at Kihei El.  Some of our schools have a 3-bin system (on right) but personally I find those limiting unless you have a small garden as each bin is too small. I prefer a 5ʻ diameter wire bin any day! I can also move them around the garden easily.

My Favorite Tips for Successful Composting

  • Tend to your Compost every 1-2 weeks for best results. In a perfect world, you would turn the whole pile but that has never been feasible for me.  I “stir the pile.” I jab my spade fork in as deep as possible and stir. The whole pile should move. I have a hose and get moisture down into the pile. I move the spade fork 12” over and repeat until the pile is sufficiently “stirred”. I stir my pile before adding a lot of material. The piles at Kihei were very dry; compost should be damp but not dry. If you tend to them frequently, the fork goes in easy, sometimes steam comes up, the rodents stay away and it takes just a few minutes per pile.
  • Breaking the Structure of Material — You donʻt have to cut everything into tiny pieces to add to the pile. It will compost faster but it might not be practical to do each time.  What is encouraged is to break down the structure of the material.  We had lots of stacks of paper plates and stacked cups from our harvest parties.  Stacked they are not easy to break down; single items scrunched work much better. Stomp on dried leaves, fold up branches (I can take a big branch of a pigeon pea and fold it up, breaking the rigid structure to small size in a few seconds), and spread out the material.  I actually like leaving a few branches (< 1” diameter) long in the pile as they help the stirring to move everything around and let the air in.
  • Adding Layers — The classic composting advice is to add material in layers of 1 part green to 2 parts brown.  This is not precise science but do think in terms of browns and greens.  Greens are things that were recently living and growing — grass clippings, weeds, recent cut branches, kitchen scraps and live plant material.   Browns are branches, dried leaves, paper plates and shredded paper.  Yes, if you leave greens in the sun, they turn brown.  Do this if you have too many greens. Composting is much more effective with a nice mix.  The  top layer is usually browns to keep rodents and flies away.  You should not create any layer too thick that it will totally compact and be impermeable. I like thinking that the layer should cover the previous layer so it canʻt be seen –  about 3″ max unless you have dry fluffy leaves.  Be really careful with lawn clippings, thick vines and shredded paper as a thick layer can stop the composting process.  For example, there was some hay bale material in the Kihei Elementary bins but the chunks were not broken up enough…  it formed a thick mat that did not let air or water through.  Composters  (i.e. fungus, bacteria and invertebrates  – “FBI” ) do not work in an anaerobic  or dry environment!
  • Label your Bins: If you are fortunate enough to have multiple bins, label them! Otherwise you may have lots of bins but nothing is ready.  You must label your bins so everyone knows where to add material.  I recommend the following signs (maybe have 2 of each):  ADD LARGE MATTER HERE, ADD MATTER HERE,  RESTING and READY TO SIFT.  For Kihei Elementary Iʻm going to laminate 8×11 sheets, put in plastic sleeves with holes so  that they can be zip tied to each bin.  Painted signs work well too! The signs can be moved from bin to bin as the composting process evolves.

    I like keeping one bin for bigger items that take longer to break down.  Think palm branches, evil weeds, papaya or sugar cane stalks, branches > 1” diameter.  Please note that is is still good to include a good mix of greens and browns.  Also throw in an occasional layer of compost to really get it working.  If you donʻt have enough space or bins, then I recommend removing this material from the site.


    This is where the majority of items are added from the garden and kitchen.  This is a very active pile that goes up and down… process it and add, process and add.  Decomposition is happening! How do you know when to change the sign to “RESTING”?   If you are maintaining your piles and adding material in layers, you will reach a point where the bin is perpetually 3/4 to full.   You can add layers but it never goes below the 3/4 full mark.  That would be the time to let it rest.  In my home garden, where I only have 1 official bin, at this point I remove the wire that constitutes the “bin” and move it to a new place.  I let the pile rest a few months before I start to use. In the photo above, Iʻm almost ready to let it rest.


    During resting, continue to stir and water,  but quit adding new material.  You may need to stir less frequently.  When the bin is about 1/2 full (or half empty) and you can dig down about 6” and find beautiful compost then it is ready for sifting.  The outside may still show a lot of debris and dry material.  This is a great time for students to observe the composting process. Smell how beautiful it smells, observe the different types of bugs; they are part of the composting process.  The rest period should be no more than about 3 months.


    Sifting is a great workday activity. Make sure volunteers wear gloves and close-toed shoes. In my experience, centipedes are inevitable (Make a game out of counting them and carefully move them over to your add pile so they can keep working) and hope you donʻt see any rodents. Place a sifter over a wheelbarrow.  Start taking material from the compost pile and into the sifter.  Break up big chunks of compost and let the beautiful compost collect in the wheelbarrow.  Two people hold each end of the sifter and move back and forth (slow shake) is the most effective way to process quickly.  Ideally disperse composted material directly around the garden or create a “ READY TO USE” pile.  At first it seems like there is more being left in sifter than is composted but that changes fast.  Toss the unsifted material back into one of your ADD piles; the addition of compost will get those working even better.


If youʻve been filling all your bins for awhile like we have at Kihei El, there may be an enormous amount of good compost on the ground around the bins.  Get out your shovel and collect it for use in the garden beds.

Watch for future updates on vermi-composting and bokashi!
Please share your compost tips below.

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