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.

Harvest Days at End of Year!

At the end of each school year, Grow Some Good likes to have a fun event where kid get to eat lots of goodies from the garden.  This year, every school is having some type of harvest day.  Chef’s, pizzas, lemonade or whatever the garden has to offer!  Below are the amazing recipes and sharing information from Nicol Bradley, owner of Ono Gelato Kihei, is helping us for 4 days at Kihei Elementary and Lokelani Intermediate. 








Sounds pretty amazing. Just like Ms. Nicol! Nicol is the owner Ono Gelato Kihei and a personal chef passionate about teaching Maui’s Keiki to have fun cooking.

Ono Gelato Kihei just closed their doors at current location and have a new concept opening in Kihei later in year which will feature Ono Gelato. They will also feature multiple frozen dessert options plus bakery and confectionary items.

Watch Facebook for more fun Harvest Day posts and special recipes.

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.

 

Harvest Festival Fun for Keiki Farmers

Harvest Festival Fun

Keiki farmers at Kamalii Elementary School and Kihei Elementary School enjoyed a fun Harvest Festival at each of their schools. These annual events are a highlight of the school garden program, as students make and enjoy healthy snacks with fresh produce, from recipes designed to be simple, so they can be easily duplicated at home.

Chef Kevin Laut from Outrigger Pizza Company brought his portable pizza oven to Kamalii Elementary School to cook up some quick pies with the assistance of Makena Golf & Beach Club’s Executive Chef Chris Kulis. See more pictures on the Makena Golf & Beach blog.

Outrigger Pizza Company Chef Kevin Laut assists in preparing the pizzas. PC: Matthew Thayer, the Maui News.

Makena Golf & Beach Resort Executive Chef Chris Kulis helps with spreading pizza sause. PC: Makena Golf & Beach Club.

Makena Golf & Beach Resort Community Engagement Manager Leahi Hall visits with keiki. PC: Makena Golf & Beach Resort

Chefs and keiki enjoyed a wonderful morning making pizza and fresh-squeezed lemonade. PC: Makena Golf & Beach Club.

At Kihei Elementary School, Chef Travis Morrin from Fork & Salad and Three’s Bar & Grill came by to assist students with making tortilla-veggie pizzas on the grill. The results were ono-licious! See Chef Travis’ fun interview with the keiki.

Chef Travis Morrin PC: Kiaora Bohlool.

Kihei Elementary School kids enjoy the product of their work – veggie pizzas!

Chef Travis Morrin and Garden Coordinator Nadine Rasmussen.

 

Mahalo!

Thank you to the wonderful chefs who made time to come our to visit with our students!

Chef Chris Kulis, Makena Golf & Beach Club

Chef Kevin Laut, The Outrigger Pizza Company

Chef Travis Morrin, Fork & Salad and Three’s Bar & Grill

And thank you to The Maui News for this front-page piece!

 

Visiting Volunteers help move some soil.

Volunteers Get it Done!

Hundreds of Helpers

We’re thankful for the hundreds of volunteers that support our organization each year. Some come from thousands of miles away and dedicate part of their vacation to helping our community; others live just around the corner and volunteer every month.

Volunteer Highlights from 2016

From painting signs to pulling weeds to assembling planting beds, our volunteers are always willing to help in every way needed. Here are some highlights from 2016.

Pulling weeds in the kalo patch is part of the fun at Kihei Elementary School.
Pulling weeds in the kalo patch is part of the fun at Kihei Elementary School.

Visiting Volunteers make soil sifters.
Visiting Volunteers make soil sifters.

Volunteers at Kihei Charter School move tubes of irrigation line.
Volunteers at Kihei Charter School move tubes of irrigation line.

Volunteers at Kahului Elementary School prepare the soil for planting.
Volunteers at Kahului Elementary School prepare the soil for planting.

Connie ties string around the ipu to prepare it for hanging.
Volunteer Connie ties string around the ipu to prepare it for hanging.

Two student volunteers hang ipu to dry.
Two student volunteers hang ipu to dry.

Visiting Volunteers help move some soil.
Volunteers on Vacation help move some soil at Lokelani Intermediate School.

Prepping veggies for a Harvest Party at Kamali'i Elementary School.
Prepping veggies for a Harvest Party at Kamali’i Elementary School.

Volunteers put the framework in place for new growing beds at Kahului Elementary School.
Volunteers put the framework in place for growing beds at Kahului Elementary School.

Keiki volunteers add soil amendments at Kahului Elementary School.
Keiki volunteers add soil amendments at Kahului Elementary School.

Look what I found while fulling weeds!
Look what I found while pulling weeds!

Volunteer@GrowSomeGood.org
Putting in pretty new raised beds at Pu’u Kukui Elementary School.

Pretty New Growing beds in place at Pu'u Kukui Elementary School.
Pu’u Kukui Elementary School garden looks amazing after a recent Work & Learn Day!

Two of our favorite volunteers - Executive Director Kathy Becklin and Garden Coordinator Nadine Rasmussen.
Two of our favorite volunteers – Executive Director Kathy Becklin (R) and Kihei School Garden Coordinator Nadine Rasmussen (L) help out at Lokelani Intermediate School.

A very special mahalo to all of our wonderful volunteers!

If you are interested in volunteering with Grow Some Good, contact Cynthia at Volunteer@GrowSomeGood.org for more information.

 

Checking the leaf. Is it heart-shaped enough to qualify?

Garden Scavenger Hunt at Kahului Elementary

A Fun Review of Garden Lessons

Kahului Elementary School’s 1st grade garden classes recently did Garden Scavenger Hunts as a fun way to review the lessons they have learned so far this year:

  • Identifying the parts of the plant: flower, stem, leaves, roots and their purpose
  • Recognizing our insect and bug friends in the garden, and where to find them.
  • Using our five senses to discover sounds, smells, textures and colors (and tastes!) in the garden.
  • Understanding what “weeds” are, how to identify and remove them. (If in doubt, don’t pull it out!)

Scavenger Hunt List
Scavenger Hunt List

Each pair of students was given a collection box courtesy of Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods containing a “checklist,” scissors and a “bug cup” with instructions to collect the following:

  1. A flower.
  2. A bug, insect or worm.
  3. Two weeds – one per student.
  4. Something that smells/stinky.
  5. A heart-shaped leaf.

Looking for Insects
Looking for Insects
Clipping a heart-shaped leaf.
Clipping a heart-shaped leaf.
Looking for Weeds.
Looking for Weeds.

What they Found

Marigolds provided lots of flowers; students hunted down ants, sow bugs and worms, and weeds were easy to come by. “Smelly” items included the lemon, Thai or Italian green basil, green onions, sage, lemongrass or rosemary which all have strong smells. One student insisted the flower of the marigold was sufficiently smelly to qualify! ʻUala (sweet potato) was the first choice for a heart-shaped leaf, but the beans and squash plants lost a few leaves too!

Getting Checked

The Garden Educator “checked” the items for the first pair of students to complete the scavenger hunt. Subsequent pairs of students were “checked” by classmates. This is where the real learning came in as they questioned each other as to whether or not a plant “smelled” enough, whether a leaf was “heart-shaped” enough, and whether or not the top of a weed counted or, “Does it need to have the roots attached?”

Demonstrating cooperation in the garden.
Demonstrating cooperation in the garden.

Garden Literacy

During after-activity follow-up questions with students it was clear all had improved their garden literacy and ability to identity and describe what they had found, as well as added new words to their vocabularies. Some students also learned that keeping an ant in a cup has its challenges.

Well done, Kahului Elementary School!

What's in your tray?
What’s in your box?

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/