In this time when schools are struggling to schedule basic classes, teachers are dealing with the complexities of remote learning and doing their best to make connection with students,  garden support is a challenge.  And yet, with food insecurity at an all-time high, our program has to shift, expand and grow.  We need to find innovative ways to not only teach our keiki to grow food  but also to remind the people of Maui that growing food is healthy, rewarding and grounding…in a time when we are all need grounding each day. Please consider supporting our program to keep keiki and their families in the gardens at home and at school!  Every contribution makes a big difference. 

Why School Gardens are important during the COVID pandemic

For 10+ years, Grow Some Good has been establishing school gardens across Maui and Lanai.  Last year, we were given data that one of our high schools experienced a 63% increase in the number of students enrolled in Natural Resources and Agriculture CTE programs.   Through inquiry, we established that most of the students were from our schools that had K-8 garden classes offered. 

Our community needs a shift in economic drivers to embrace more agriculture.  We are a food desert with 93% of food imported.  When COVID-19 hit, tourism jobs were lost and many families are hungry.  While food insecurity was a problem before, the COVID-19 outbreak only emphasized the full extent of the problem.

NOW we need to build bright young minds who are interested in what they eat, where it comes from, how their choices impact their health, our economy and the future of our ‘aina.  Our teacher surveys state that our programs are contributing to this with excellent scores in improving nutrition, science, math and culture.  

Delaying programs hurts the keiki who need to be able to be outside in safe learning spaces and hurts the land that we’ve lovingly built into productive growing spaces through the years.

Summary Letter Sent to Administrators

Aloha Administrators, Teachers and Garden Supporters,

Grow Some Good has been closely following the updates and challenges schools face in re-opening.  We have been working with state and national school garden programs to find innovative and safe ways to facilitate garden education programs.

We’ve tuned our strategies defined in this document to be in alignment with the Return to Learn initiative. We want to work with you to take this tough situation and make it transformational.

With mounting systemic challenges facing our community including food insecurity, unemployment, and the housing crisis, now is not the time to remove any more safe spaces from our student’s lives. Their school garden programs are needed now more than ever.

We continue to support your garden coordinators, teachers, PTT’s, and educators. If you want a garden program but cannot finance it, please let us know. We will do our best to find other funding sources and grants to support your program. We look forward to working with you to keep our gardens and students growing.  

Reopening Protocol for School Garden Programs (Summary)

Our objective is to reduce exposure to, and spread of, COVID-19 during garden program.

At Grow Some Good (GSG), we believe that school garden programs are now more important than ever. Some benefits of utilizing school gardens include the following:

  • Being outside has a lower risk for coronavirus transmission than being inside.
  • Spending time outdoors has a positive effect on mental and physical health.
  • Utilizing outdoor teaching spaces can reduce the burden on indoor classrooms.
  • Garden classes can help teachers meet NGSS standards through hands-on learning opportunities. 
  • School garden programs help promote healthy food choices and supply fresh local produce.

Our Policy:

  • GSG Garden Coordinators (GCs) and students must be in good health to participate in the program.
  • All GCs must wear proper PPE and practice hand washing regularly throughout the day.
  • GCs will teach, model and monitor safe and appropriate precautions.
  • GCs will only provide activities that enable specified precautions to be implemented during program.
  • All garden tools and program equipment will be cleaned and sanitized before and after each use.
  • All GSG staff will be provided with training and educational material regarding GSG’s and individual GCs’ role and responsibility as it relates to Covid-19. 

Safety Equipment Protocol:

  • Face masks (cloth face coverings, face shields, etc.) will be worn by GSG staff when in the garden.
  • Anyone participating in a harvest must wear a face mask and disposable gloves.
  • Students will follow school protocol for mask use.
  • GC will have cleaning/sanitizing solutions and clean towels on hand during program. 
  • Proper handwashing stations must be accessible, and regular use will be encouraged.
  • Students should wash their hands prior to or upon arrival to the garden, as well as immediately after or prior to leaving the garden.
  • Appropriate CDC posters/signage will be posted throughout the program space.

Garden Coordinator Procedures:

  • Pre-program screening: GSG staff will be responsible for self-monitoring for any signs or symptoms of, or possible exposure to, Covid-19, and will document health daily. GCs will comply with any additional school screening requirements as needed.
  • Student orientation: To be given by the GC on students’ first day in the garden, and crucial points reiterated at the beginning of each class thereafter. This will include specific garden safety procedures in relation to the spread of viruses, benefits to being outdoors, and a safe space to ask questions related to Covid-19.
  • Social distancing: GCs will encourage social distancing by creating visual markers where appropriate, including at tables, seating areas, and project spaces. Distances will be based on CDC guidelines.

Sanitation and cleaning: All shared program supplies and tools will be properly cleaned prior to and after use. All garden gloves will be washed before reuse.

See full procedures here.

More about Grow Some Good’s Programming Options

 

Grow Some Good is committed to its school programming. By ensuring the health and safety of students, assisting teachers where appropriate, respecting administrators’ protocols, and listening to the needs and concerns of parents. Here are a few ways we plan to move forward with our garden-based education programming in a safe and productive manner. 

OPTION ONE: LIVE Streamed Garden Lessons

Garden lessons will be conducted virtually through Zoom LIVE streaming. Garden lessons will be paired with in-class totes containing all the supplemental materials. 

OPTION TWO: Rotating Participation

Garden lessons will be conducted virtually through Zoom LIVE streaming. Garden lessons will be paired with in-class totes containing all the supplemental materials. 

OPTION THREE: Hybridized Garden Classes

Classes can utilize a combination of Grow Some Good LIVE Streaming capabilities and limited capacity in person garden lessons. 

OPTION FOUR: Teacher-Led Garden Classes

Garden lessons are carefully prepared by Garden Coordinator and sent to the classroom teachers in advance for them to review and teach in the garden with their class. All tools and equipment will be cleaned, sanitized, and provided by Grow Some Good Garden Coordinator. 

If administration has a programming option in mind that is not listed here, please let us know. Grow Some Good is happy to work with Schools in whatever capacity is safest and most effective for schools.

Options Being Used By Schools

Please note that these change daily as schools adapt to number of cases and parent expectations. As we get information on each school, we’ll add to this list.

  • Kihei Charter School — committed to garden program and hopefully zero waste program. Need to build garden!
  • Pu’uKukui Elementary — Confirmed PTT to provide garden education 2 days/wk.
  • Waihe’e Elementary – Having summer garden program and pretty sure they’ll have a regular school program.
  • Wailuku Elementary – PTSA has funded coordinator for 2 days/wk; we are still working out schedule and scope.