5 Senses and Cover Crop Turning

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Today we explored the 5 Senses in the Garden with Kihei Elementary School kindergarteners and turned nitrogen-fixing and phosphorous-rich cover crops into the soil for a final round with all grades before planting new fruits and vegetables for the year.

To start the adventures, Chef Kristin Etheredge gave each student gardener a taste of fresh apple bananas from her home and juicy strawberry papayas, then collected compost scraps to feed the soil. As we sampled the harvest, students talked with Kathy and Kris about similarities between soil health and human health, plant parts, decomposers in the compost, then discovered a bright red ladybug on a tour with Gadener Kirk, learned about beneficial insects and brainstormed describing words to write in their journals.

Mahalo to all for sharing mana’o and helping to inspire a new generation of chefs, teachers, scientists, farmers and urban gardeners on these islands!

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Green Smoothie 101 @ Kihei Elementary School Garden

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We taste tested a new idea for a garden class today at Kihei Elementary School Garden.

Greens and herbs were ready to pick in the garden before turning in cover crops and other growing areas, so Kihei Elementary School students from Ms. Sturm’s 1st grade class and YMCA A+ after schoolers got to try our first green smoothie day!

As we searched the garden for green herbs, we covered plant parts, how plants make food through photosynthesis, nutrition in fruits and vegetables – which plants have edible leaves, which ones have edible fruit.

Mahalo nui to Whole Foods Market in Kahului for donating organic apple juice to our green smoothie classes!

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View Complete Flickr Slideshow!

Think kids would be grossed out by green smoothies?  Not these kids! They went nuts over the greens (especially the mint!) and told us to add more! And they actually asked for seconds! Favorite names the students had for the green smoothies: Healthy Hulk and Green Lantern!

Check out the YouTube Video – Green Smoothie 101: Kihei Elementary School

Green Smoothie Recipe (serves 15-20 in small cups):
– bunches of parsley, mint and kale (as much as you can pick!)
– one papaya (remove seeds and scoop out insides)
– 2-3 bananas
– 4 cups organic apple juice

– just a few cubes of ice (not too slushy)

Don’t forget… flowing water washing station, salad spinners, flexi cutting mats, non-latex gloves for little hands, butter knives, spoons and a blender … and 15 – 20 green smoothie maniacs!

Find more awesome green smoothie recipes at:

http://www.rawfamily.com/recipes

 

Guess Who Visited Our School Garden?

Our South Maui School Gardens Project team works hard to make the garden a success.  For Nio and Kirk, it is almost a full time job; for me, it is usually 10-20 hours/week.  People often assume that we are parents of kids in the school.  We are not.  We are volunteers working to improve our future.  Most of the time, we do it all for the kids — the smiles on their faces, the delight in their curious questions and the excitement as the learn about the values that are so important to us.   That is really all the reward we need.

But once in while, like today, we get recognized for that work.   We get to make an impact on the gardens throughout the state.  Today, Governor Neil Abercrombie visited the Kihei Elementary School Garden.

It all started several months ago when Dania Katz from Edible Hawaiian Islands magazine, arranged for one of our chef sponsors, Dan Fiske (PrivateMauiChef.com), to provide lunch to the Governor during a trip to Maui.  Dan immediately sprung into action to highlight the garden at the luncheon, including having a student sit with the Governor.  That was enough to entice the Governor to want to see the garden in action.  We found out a few weeks ago that he was trying to fit it into his trip.  Last week, it was confirmed and we were asked to keep the gathering small.  So we carefully picked who we thought would be critical to discuss our core objectives.  Here are the objectives we gave to the Governor; he said he would keep this short list handy and work to make it happen.

6 Things You Can Do to Help School Gardens Thrive in Hawai’i

  1. Living Classrooms: Advocate for school gardens as integral outdoor learning environments to improve science, math, literacy, physical education and nutrition programs.
  2. Curricula: Facilitate the creation of Hawai’i-based, school garden-inspired standards and benchmarks for K-12 students.
  3. Green School Campuses: Help schools green their campuses: establish recycling programs, purchase chippers to trim hauling fees and turn green waste into mulch for landscaping and school gardens, reduce single-use disposable materials.
  4. Farm-to-School: Encourage the Department of Education (DOE) to foster local farm-to-school pilot programs, connecting students to their food sources.
  5. Garden-to-Cafeteria: If they grow it, they’ll eat it! Establish DOE guidelines that allow use of school garden produce in cafeterias and school nutrition programs.
  6. Wellness & Organic Produce for All: Support programs that link school gardens with community wellness and local food system improvements.

One thing that Governor Abercrombie stated that really stuck in my mind was that we don’t want to make Kihei Elementary or any similar school be special.    A successful school garden shouldn’t be headline news.  We need to have all of our schools hold these values and make it the norm.   Our keiki are our future.   We are what we eat.   We live on island and should be more self-sufficient.   This vision isn’t rocket science and I’m happy that our Governor get’s it.

It is going to take lots of work to change DOE systems and work through USDA standards.  But it can be done.   And each step forward will result in kids that are healthier, smarter and who will grow up to take our beautiful state to a higher level.

So this week, we worked hard to prepare for the big event.  The garden had to look good and at the end of the gardening season in Kihei, that is no easy task.   I kept reminding the guys that the garden looks so much better this year than it did last year at this time.  We coordinated menus with Chef Brian Etheredge and Chef Chris Kulis from Capische? to provide lunch in the garden.  It was already a busy week packed with taping a spot on AKAKU and curriculum planning with teachers who are getting ready for school to start next week.  We made our guest list, reviewed and cut.   We planned all the event details.  We harvested as much as we could and delivered it to the chefs.   My special thanks to all the people that participated.  Each person’s contribution was so important!

If you have an interest in supporting School Gardens in South Maui, connect with us!   We need more project team members, volunteers, parents, community sponsors, grant writers and donations!   If you have interest in creating or augmenting a school garden in Maui County,  contact Lehn at the Maui School Garden Network.

It takes a Community to Start a Garden!

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View full slideshow on Flickr.

YMCA Camp Nalu — For The Love of Food

One of the most important aspects of school gardens is connecting kids to healthy eating habits and engaging them in growing and preparing their own food.  For school garden programs, chefs are the connection to inspiring lifelong healthy eaters.

We are so fortunate to have local chefs – Dan Fiske (www.PrivateMauiChef.com ), Brian Etheridge & Christopher Kulis (Capische?) and Peter Merriman (Monkeypod Kitchen) – who support South Maui School Gardens Project as financial sponsors, farmers, volunteers and mentors.

Earlier this summer, Chef Dan traded his chef’s jacket for overalls and became “Farmer/Chef Dan” for six days with more than 50 kids in YMCA Camp Nalu and our amazing volunteers.  Each Monday, campers rushed into the Kihei Elementary School garden to learn about soil building, pollinators, planting and harvesting fruits and vegetables. Then, Farmer/Chef Dan recruited kitchen helpers from the group to prepare keiki-friendly recipes using fresh, organic garden ingredients.

Check out our YMCA Camp Nalu Flickr album with highlights from the summer!

Mahalo nui loa to our sponsors and volunteers who continue to share their love of good nutrition and local ingredients with our future locavore chefs and organic farmers!

 

Sat, June 11: Work & Learn Day at Kihei Elementary School Garden

Work & Learn Day at Kihei Elementary School
Join South Maui School Gardens Project this Saturday for Work & Learn Day at Kihei Elementary School

Saturday, June 11
8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Kihei Elementary School
250 E. Lipoa Street
Kihei, HI 96753

Join South Maui School Gardens Project volunteers this Saturday morning, June 11, as we summer-ize parts of the Kihei Elementary School garden and install new planting areas. The garden continues to thrive through the summer as we support YMCA Camp Nalu with fun in the garden activities for kids. We are also focusing on rebuilding the soil and planning new additions to the garden, so don’t miss your opportunity to help shape the future of our living classroom.

Learning activities planned:
Soil amendments using worm tea, horse manure, fish emulsion, fresh compost.
Cover crop using buckwheat to rebuild nitrogen in the Three Sisters Garden.
Composting layered with seaweed, lemongrass, comfrey, gliricidia and other nutrient boosting amendments.
‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ Garden prep for planting organic strawberry patch with Camp Nalu campers.
Mulching with schoolyard green waste for garden paths.
Visioning brainstorm and planning on new garden layout, murals, community board and more.

Equipment / materials needed:
Heavy duty tiller for turning large field plot.
Heavy duty wood chipper for mulching large palm fronds and other green waste.
Large pickup truck for hauling horse manure from Makena Stables.
Composting amendments: seaweed, lemongrass, comfrey, gliricidia, etc.

Please email info@KiheiSchoolGardens.org if you can supply any of these resources in advance.

NOTE: There will be no work & learn day in July, so this is our big opportunity to get the garden in gear for the new school year!

Hope to see you there.

seed saving class at kihei elementary school garden

Seed Saving: The Cycle of Life… In Real Life

seed saving class at kihei elementary school garden
KES Teachers - Sign up for seed saving classes!

When teaching life sciences and sustainability with students of any age, seed saving is an essential element that bridges the gap between a text book explanation and real life.  As students experience the full cycle of a plant, from planting the seed to harvesting the seed, the concept of life cycles is experienced more deeply beyond words or charts.

You’re invited to dive into our wonderful collection of plant flowers, collected from garden goodies as they’ve bolted into Spring.

Class options include:

  • “Why Save Seeds?” talk story
  • Pollination – Self-pollinators and insects as pollinators
  • Wet & dry seed-saving techniques
  • Seed storage tips
  • Take away seeds for home gardens and next year’s school garden!

Volunteers are available 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to assist classes at Kihei Elementary School garden. To request volunteer assistance for your class, email INFO AT GROWSOMEGOOD DOT COM the following info:

Teacher / Grade Level

Number of Students

Requested Day / Time

Dear Governor Abercrombie…

South Maui School Gardens Project bag and letter to Gov. Neil Abercrombie

On May 15, South Maui School Gardens Project joined Kihei Elementary School students, volunteers and our chef sponsors from Capische? and PrivateMauiChef.com to cater lunch for Hawai’i State Governor Neil Abercrombie and his staff, following a talk story event at the MACC.  Lunches prepared with organic, school garden-grown produce also included the following letter encouraging statewide policy and funding support for school gardens – all received with great enthusiasm by The Gov! More about the lunch.

Aloha Gov. Abercrombie and Guests –

Your lunch today is made with produce grown by more than 650 students, teachers and community volunteers at Kihei Elementary School, and healthfully prepared by our chef sponsors from Capische? and PrivateMauiChef.com. Our gardens are thriving with strong support from the community. With your kokua, these living classrooms can inspire greater learning experiences and better nutrition for thousands of students in Hawai’i.

6 Things You Can Do to Help School Gardens Thrive in Hawai’i

1. A Garden in Every School: Create sustainable funding sources for school gardens and support development of “A Garden in Every School” program in Hawai’i.

2. Farm-to-School: Encourage the Departments of Education and Health to foster farm-to-school pilot programs.

3. Garden-to-School: Establish state guidelines that allow use of school garden produce in cafeterias and school nutrition programs.

4. Living Classrooms: Advocate for school gardens as integral outdoor learning environments to improve science, math, literacy, physical education and nutrition programs.

5. Curricula: Facilitate the creation of Hawai’i-based school garden curricula for K-12 students and professional development for teachers and garden educators.

6. Wellness & Organic Produce for All: Support programs which link school gardens with community wellness and local food system improvements.

About South Maui School Gardens Project

The South Maui School Gardens Project is dedicated to creating hands-on, learning experiences that cultivate curiosity about natural life cycles, connect students to their food sources, and inspire better nutrition choices. We help schools establish food gardens and living science labs in local schools and connect resources and curriculum support through community partnerships in agriculture, science, food education, and nutrition. The South Maui School Gardens Project is a nonprofit organization, sponsored by Tri-Isle RC&D. For more information, visit www.KiheiSchoolGarden.org.

Mahalo nui loa for helping to Grow Our Future!

Gov. Abercrombie Digs Into School Garden Lunch with Kihei El Students

Jade Coulter presents Kihei Elementary School garden lunch for Hawai'i Governor Neil Abercrombie
Jade Coulter reads the menu from Governor Neil Abercrombie's box lunch prepared with produce from Kihei Elementary School garden

One of the great things about this program is its focus on the good things growing in our schools, even when  news headlines seem riddled by the problems. Kihei Elementary students Jade and Maile Coulter were able to share their good news (and food!) when they presented box lunches for Hawai’i Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his staff after a talk story event on Sunday, May 15, at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. The lunches also included a letter to the Governor from South Maui School Gardens Project, encouraging statewide policy and funding support for school gardens in Hawai’i.

All week, students and volunteers have harvested sweet potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, basil, arugula, eggplant, green onions, Maui onions and lemongrass from the Kihei Elementary School garden to supply organically-grown ingredients for this special event. Lunches were prepared and delivered by our awesome chefs in reusable containers and a South Maui School Gardens Project eco shopping bag, designed and printed by a Makebelieve Company.

Sweet Potato Harvest at Kihei Elementary School garden, Governor Neil Abercrombie
Kihei Elementary School students harvest sweet potatoes for lunch with The Gov!

Mahalo to Chef Dan Fiske (www.PrivateMauiChef.com), Chef Brian Etheredge and Chef Christopher Kulis (Capische? and Il Teatro) and all the teachers, students and volunteers who helped us deliver a delicious lunch and make a lasting impression with The Gov!

On the menu:

  • Grilled Whole Grain Bread Sandwich with Sweet Basil Pesto, Grilled Japanese Eggplant, Arugula, Fresh Mozzarella, Balsamic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Homemade Purple Sweet Potato Salad w/Green Onions
  • Pickled Green Beans and Maui Onions
  • Yee’s Famous Maui Mango
  • Homemade Candied Macadamia Nuts
  • Lemongrass Iced Tea