Hawaii Legislators Support Farm to School Programs

KITV screenshotOver the past few months, we’ve seen news highlighting school gardens and their importance to supporting better nutrition and local agriculture. On July 7, 2015, Governor David Ige signed Farm to School bill SB 376, which aims to increase the amount of local produce in our school cafeterias.

A recent KITV4 interview quoted Dexter Kishida with the Department of Education (DOE), “Growing it and cooking it are two ways kids eating behaviors change.” The report also estimates the DOE imports more than 80 percent of produce in public school lunches.  That number may be soon decreasing with the signing of this new bill.

The governor’s press release explains “SB 376, Act 218 established the Hawai’i farm-to-school program and funds a farm-to-school coordinator position. Across the nation, farm to school programs are reconnecting students to a better understanding of the food system and where their food comes from. Farm to school programs introduce students to healthier eating habits and help them become familiar with new vegetables and fruits that they and their families will then be more willing to incorporate into their own diets. The farm to school coordinator will negotiate the complicated process of procuring local agricultural for our schools.”

Local farmers have had tremendous challenges competing with mainland prices and Hawaii DOE volume restrictions that require one vendor to supply an entire 256-school system.

“I think one of the important insights is that it doesn’t have to be the exact same suppliers statewide,” said Kyle Datta, general partner at the Ulupono Initiative, in a recent Hawaii Tribune-Herald article. “You can let local agriculture scale up to the community.” He said one of the early missteps in launching statewide farm to school was trying to get local producers to support the needs of the entire state as opposed to their specific areas.

“Maui kids eating Maui pineapple, Oahu kids eating Dole pineapples,” he said. “There’s a lot of things we should have more of that are completely possible.” (Source: Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

Some local charter schools have successfully incorporated local produce into their lunch programs because they manage their own individual procurement. Food hubs, where farmers combine their harvests for higher volume distribution, are also gaining momentum in other school districts nationwide. Here is a recent article in from the St. Paul/Minneapolis Star-Tribune describing one example of this venture.

“We need to make sure students are connecting and understanding where their food comes from and why it matters,” said Lydi Morgan, Coordinator with Hawaii Farm to School & School Garden Hui.

School garden programs are an important part of supporting this initiative. When students grow, harvest and prepare their own dishes using school garden produce, they are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables in school lunches and bring that enthusiasm home to the dinner table.

If you’d like to dig the school garden movement on Maui, visit our volunteer page and introduce yourself! We look forward to seeing you in the garden!

Plant a Tree of Life – Grow ‘Ulu (breadfruit)

Grow Some Good, in partnership with the Breadfruit Institute, National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hana, and the Plant a Tree of Life – Grow ‘Ulu Project, is providing ‘ulu tree (breadfruit) saplings to the Maui community this month in recognition of statewide and global efforts to increase the number of ‘ulu trees growing in our communities.

photo credit: Breadfruit Institute, National Tropical Botanical Garden
Photo Credit: Breadfruit Institute, National Tropical Botanical Garden

These trees are about 2.5 feet tall in gallon pots and are ready to find new, suitable homes. This popular variety of ‘ulu originated in Samoa and Tonga and has been grown in Hawaii for decades. These Ma’afala (variety) trees are fast growing, more compact shape, highly productive trees that can begin bearing fruit in as little a 2½ to 3 years. It is still a large tree though, and should be planted at least 30 feet from the nearest structure or at least 20-25 feet from other large trees or tree canopies.

ulu tree & fruit
Photo Credit: Breadfruit Institute, National Tropical Botanical Garden

Trees are available for pickup at Grow Some Good Work & Learn Days across Maui over the next month. To RESERVE your ‘ulu tree contact Nio Kindla below. Keep in touch on our Facebook page  or subscribe to our newsletter for latest dates and locations of these school garden workdays.

Only one ‘ulu tree per household or location will be given away at this time. Please let us know in your email if you would like additional trees, how many, and how multiple trees at your location will support community food resilience. Additional trees will be distributed late October, as available.

First ‘ulu distribution date is this coming Saturday, September 26th at the Wailuku Elementary School Work & Learn Day from 8:30AM-11:30AM. A tree is yours in return for an hour or two of your kōkua for this workday. The trees are free of charge but if you can support local propagation of more ‘ulu trees by Grow Some Good, please consider a $5 or $10 donation.

ulu
Photo Credit: Breadfruit Institute, National Tropical Botanical Garden

The next distribution will be held at Kihei Elementary school’s regular second Saturday Work & Learn Day on October 10th.

For more information on the trees and this ‘ulu project see Plant a Tree of Life – Grow ‘Ulu.

There are multiple articles and images that can help in understanding the proper planting, care and maintenance of these trees. A great resource provided by National Tropical Botanical Garden!

SIGN UP BELOW to get your 'Ulu Tree or ask additional questions.

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New Garden Sprouts at Kahului Elementary

A new edible classroom at Kahului Elementary School has sprouted from the passion, enthusiasm and collaboration of an awe-inspiring group of educators and volunteers. First grade teachers attended a recent school garden tour and turned their inspiration into action. The whole grade level is applying outdoor learning as part of their new curriculum-based school garden program.

Together we created soil nutrient building systems in each bed – while talking about lessons on carbon, nitrogen, decomposers and microorganisms. The awesome garden dig-in ended with a community picnic under the shade trees, talking story and appreciating all the good things growing.

Mahalo nui loa to Maui School Garden Network, Hui Malama Learning Center, ISI Irrigation, Ace Hardware and all the volunteers, students and families who are partnering with Grow Some Good to create an amazing gift of growth and prosperity for keiki and community. Check out more photos on in our Facebook album.

Sept. 22 Workshops: Youth Gardens as Classrooms

Home Gardening Support Network, Maui School Garden Network, Community Work Day and Grow Some Good are pleased to announce a Youth Gardening Workshop to make school garden information and experiences more accessible to teachers, volunteers and others who work with youth-oriented garden programs. Click on the link below for a workshop agenda:
These workshops will feature hands-on activities to help integrate school garden work within all disciplines and give advice on how to maintain and fund school gardens. The workshop day will run from 8:00 am – 1:30 pm with optional post workshop sessions from 2:00-3:00 pm and will include lunch and a food demonstration.
Register by emailing Anne Gachuhi at hgsn@gmail.com or calling (808) 446-2361.  The fee is $35.00.
Scholarships:  Kihei Elementary School and Lokelani Intermediate School teachers, staff and counselors can receive scholarships from Grow Some Good by sending an email with interest to info@GrowSomeGood.org. Please include your name, school, grade level and phone number for follow up in your email.
We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to gain knowledge that will help advance your programs and create more real-life learning opportunities for your students.

Work & Learn Days – 2nd Saturdays & 3rd Thursdays + Lokelani May 4

Mark your calendars for April/May Work & Learn Days!

  • “Second Saturday”

Saturday, April 13

8:30 a.m. – Noon

Where:

Kihei Elementary School

250 E Lipoa St  Kihei, HI 96753

  • “Third Thursday”

Thursday, April 18

2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Garden care

Where:

Kihei Elementary School

250 E Lipoa St  Kihei, HI 96753

  • Lokelani Ohana All Campus Work & Learn Day – May 4

Saturday, May 4

8 a.m. – Noon

Join Lokelani teachers, students and volunteers for an all campus Work & Learn Day. We’ll be refurbishing garden beds and planting in new garden areas, including the new Hawaiian terrace project in the heart of campus.

Where: 

Lokelani Intermediate School

1401 Liloa Drive

Kihei, HI 96753

  • “Second Saturday” – May

Saturday, May 11

8:30 a.m. – Noon

Noon – 1 p.m.  Bokashi Workshop with Maui Bokashi‘s Jenna Leilani Tallman.

Learn to easily transform food scraps into rich compost with effective microorganisms & Bokashi.

Where:

Kihei Elementary School

250 E Lipoa St  Kihei, HI 96753

 

Join us every “Second Saturday” morning and “Third Thursday” afternoon at Kihei Elementary School Garden as we plant new garden starts from seed, build bamboo trellises and vertical gardens, harvest heirloom produce, prep soil for replanting, turn compost, weed & mulch pathways, paint garden signs and more.


Share the Harvest
& Starts
Come for gardening care, inspirations and share in the bounty.  Organic and heirloom garden plant starts available to help get your own back yard gardens started.

Ask the Gardeners
Grow Some Good volunteers and certified Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions about bugs, plant disease issues and tips on growing an organic garden in Kihei.

Our garden care days are always a lot of fun and a great way to learn about organic gardening from people in the neighborhood. Join us for all or part of the day. Water and light refreshments will be provided.

If you have questions in advance, please email info@GrowSomeGood.org, call 808.269.6300 or visit our Volunteer PageSee you there!

Grow Some Good w/ Kihei Community Association

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The school garden movement is thriving throughout Hawaii and creating hands-on educational programs for students of all ages. On Tuesday, March 20, Grow Some Good  gave a special presentation about programs that teach local students and their families to grow nutritious, organic fruits and vegetables – on any budget, in any community or living space.

Nio Kindla, Kathy Becklin, Kerry Wilkins and Kirk Surry – co-founders of Grow Some Good – Educational School Gardens on Maui (www.GrowSomeGood.org), were guest speakers at the Kihei Community Association meeting, sharing gardening tips and recipes, discussing the outlook for regional school and community gardens, how to start a nonprofit to fund your projects, guerilla gardening and more.

Project: Plant It! students and volunteers shared ready-to-transplant organic and heirloom garden starts and gave advice on caring for them. Attendees learned about South Maui-specific gardening tips and sampled healthy snacks made fresh from Kihei El and Lokelani school garden produce, during this student-driven outreach project to inspire more back yard and hui gardens!
Read more about the event at the Kihei Community Association blog.