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School Garden Coordinator (several positions)

Summary

Do you love working with kids and sharing your passion for growing food and healthy eating? 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.

Lacey Abercrombie

Garden Coordinator

Lokelani Intermediate and Kamaliʻi Elementary

Lacey joins Grow Some Good with a very eclectic background. Growing up in St. Louis, she loved spring, summer, and fall when she could run around outside and winter when she could practice figure skating at outdoor rinks. Lacey was a Girl Scout for 12 years, with lots of fond memories at overnight camp. Her love for children began when she was still an adolescent herself, with her Mom working as a Parent Educator and an older sister who ran a summer daycare in their backyard at the age of 11 (Lacey was one of her assistants). At age 16, Lacey put her years of figure skating practice to use and started coaching children, between her babysitting jobs. Upon getting her Bachelor’s in International Studies, she worked for 3 years at the International Institute of St. Louis, a refugee resettlement agency, which was extremely rewarding work; helping people learn specific English skills needed for citizenship and acquiring donated goods for families.

Lacey has called Maui home for the last 4 years. Upon moving to Maui with her husband for his job, her passion for the outdoors grew to one of conservation and sustainability. Therefore, she enrolled in a Sustainable Science Management course at the University of Hawaii, Maui College. Since then, she has worked for Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO) and Four Seasons Maui, trying to find a job that fits all her passions and now she finally has: Working with children of all backgrounds, learning about new cultures, protecting our planet and food sources, all while being active outside.

Laura Finkle

Garden Coordinator

Kihei Elementary

Laura grew up in the Ridge and Valley region of rural northwest New Jersey. She spent her childhood hiking the Appalachian Trail, mountain biking the woodlands, and working with her siblings in their family’s produce garden. She fell in love with nature at an early age; in turn, she has developed a deep passion for helping others to learn about and find their place in the natural world.

She has taken part in nearly a decade of experiential education, working for camps, nonprofits, outdoor science schools, and state parks across the country and island of Maui. Laura believes that outdoor education programs that surround children with the natural world and a supportive community, enable them to develop confidence, character, life skills, and simply blossom as individuals. To be part of something so meaningful and to have the opportunity to create magical experiences for young people, is what continues to drive Laura’s passion for this work.

Amber Shettler

Garden Coordinator

Kahului Elementary and Waiheʻe Elementary

Amber grew up in the Redwood forests of Northern California where her love of the outdoors began. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Education which allowed her to combine her passion for sharing knowledge and her desire to be out in nature. She went on to work for seven years at the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program where she had the opportunity to manage their garden space and oversee the curriculum for their organic garden and composting program. It was there that Amber realized her true passion was in teaching youth about gardening and sustainability.

As a Garden Coordinator for Grow Some Good, Amber is excited to continue sharing her love of plants and the garden ecosystem with her students.

Jadda Miller

Development Coordinator

Jadda started working with Grow Some Good (GSG) in 2017 as a Garden Coordinator at Kihei Elementary. During this time she became aware of the impact that GSG’s programming was creating in the lives of her students: Inspiring them to care for the environment, fostering a love of vegetables (even the green ones), learning about where their food comes from, and obtaining a healthier perspective on life. In February 2020, Jadda was offered a position working in development for the organization.


Jadda was raised on a farm in Northern California, where her love for the natural world sprouted and grew into a deep-seated desire to protect the environment and cultivate community-supported, sustainable food systems. She holds a B.S. in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, an M.S. in Environmental Studies, and is currently a Ph.D. Student in Sustainability Education.

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.  

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

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.  

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.

$1500 Garden Maintenance Materials

If you think after planting, your money spent on a garden is done, you will learn quickly that is not the case. Last year at Kihei Elementary we spent about $1500 on garden maintenance supplies. This is pest deterrents, organic amendments, fungi treatments, cover crop seeds, compost pile materials, and a long list of other things to address challenegs.

Estimated Cost $1500/school/year

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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.