Summer School Garden Tours

IMG_3167Grow Some Good supporters recently took a tour of all the good things growing in two of our most established school garden programs at Lokelani Intermediate School and Kihei Elementary School.  Guests spent 2 hours exploring the transformation of garden spaces and learning about the scope of garden planning, education and maintenance involved.

Before & After

Visitors compared the current sites with “before” pictures to fully appreciate the school beautification improvements since the school garden projects began.

Lokelani Intermediate School

The before and after photos below feature one of many building sites at Lokelani, comparing the original landscaping in 2011 to present.  Grow Some Good led student and faculty efforts to renovate the entire campus, earning a statewide Cooke Foundation Beautification Award in 2013.

Lokelani classroom - before and after

Lokelani Intermediate also houses Grow Some Good’s equipment and tool resource center and serves as the site of the main Grow Some Good nursery, supporting 12 Grow Some Good schools and Maui School Garden Network schools across Maui, Lanai and Molokai. This central storage facility for plants, gardening tools, event supplies, and lesson materials is critical to providing consistent school garden operations throughout the islands.

Kihei Elementary School

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Kihei School Garden Coordinator Nadine Rasmussen (left) showcases a vibrant kalo (taro) patch, compared to the original garden expansion (above) in 2009 where temporary grow bags were installed while soil was mulched and amended for in-ground planting.

 

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Here we have three layers of activity in the garden: carrots growing in the foreground, tomato plants climbing behind them up the base of the trellis, and ipu hanging up above, where they are drying in preparation to be made into musical instruments as part of our cultural studies program.

 

 

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Program Operations Manager Nio Kindla talks about the importance of composting and soil sifting, and how it benefits the entire garden.

 

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Visitors gather under a shade structure that was recently built through a capital improvement grant to protect students from the harsh Kihei sun and provide a comfortable outdoor classroom.

If you would like to join us for an upcoming school garden tour, contact us.

 

Juicing Kō for Lilikoi Lemonade!

IMG_8101Today we harvested two varieties of heirloom Kō sugar cane, talked story about canoe plants brought by the earliest Hawaiian settlers, and used a hand crank cane juicer to make lilikoi lemonade with K-5 grade students during Maui Family YMCA A+ after school program – part of a monthly healthy garden-based recipe series.

Did you know…? Raw cane juice contains only about fifteen percent total sugar content, all of which is in a raw unrefined form. The rest of the juice consists of water brimming with an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Freshly extracted cane juice – like other fresh juices – contain live enzymes and nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body for quick nourishment.IMG_8103

Special thanks to Andy from Maui Cane Juice for helping us make this a special day for our keiki! Look for Maui Cane Juice every Saturday morning at the Maui Swap Meet and Kihei Town 4th Fridays. So ono!

For more pictures, visit Grow Some Good on Facebook.

SOS: Saving Our Seeds for a Sustainable Future

Seed Saving

In the final months of school, garden lessons turn to a continuation of the life cycle with ‘Saving Our Seeds’ workshops at all grade levels. This exercise connects students to sustainable practices that preserve their favorite plants, ensure food security and support benchmarks in science (life cycle), social studies (food economics) and more.

During hands-on lessons, students dig into discussions and activities that illustrate stages of the life cycles (germination/birth, growth, reproduction, and death) of various plants and animals, pointing out details that distinguish each stage. Students also learn the value of seed saving and how it affects food availability for the future. As our jr. gardeners/scientists/economists become more experienced, the learning possibilities are endless. Here are just a few ideas to get started:

Discussion Points

  • Where can you find seeds in the garden? In a flower? In a fruit? In a dried pod?
  • At which point of the life cycle is a seed? The beginning or the end? Answer: Both! Discuss when a seed is at the end (in flower, fruit or seed pod) and when a seed is at the beginning (when planted and watered) of the life cycle.
  • Why save seeds? Discuss the value of preserving genes from healthy plants, saving money, food security, etc.
  • How does age / storage affect germination rates? Review germination, discuss how seeds lose their ability to germinate over time or under poor storage conditions (heat, moisture, oxidation, etc).Seed Saving

Activities

  • Students divide into groups to search for seeds throughout the garden and collect with volunteer and/or teacher supervision.
  • Seeds can be compared by weight, shape, color, texture, etc.
  • Demonstrate different ways seeds travel – by wind (lettuce seeds with feathers fly in the wind), wing (birds eating from a plate of sunflower seeds), water (place a seeding flower or open seed pod on a mound, simulate rain with watering can to watch a seeds travel in the water stream and replant itself downstream).
  • Seeds are sorted, categorized, bagged or jarred, and labeled with collection dates.
  • Seeds are then stored in a cool, dry, airtight place for use in next year’s school garden and/or planted in starts containers for students to add to their summer home gardens.

Seed SavingCheck out more ideas for all grades and experience levels in this free e-book download made available by the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.

World Class Chefs + 1,000 Students Celebrate School Garden Harvest Fest

kihei elementary school students prepare stir fry ingredients with garden grown veggies For three full days, April 24-26, world-class chefs led garden recipe workshops with more than 950 students in nearly a quarter-acre of garden space in the heart of the Kihei Elementary School campus. Kindergarten through 5th grade students and chefs prepared Asian stir-fry and gourmet veggie pizzas using ingredients grown and harvested from the school’s Pizza Garden and Gardens of the World. Students chopped, peeled and spiced their garden delights before chefs tossed them into a giant wok and wood-fired pizza oven and served it up in a pop-up café to celebrate the school’s annual Harvest Fest.

Private Maui Chef Dan Fiske and Capische? Chef de Cuisine Christopher Kulis assist Kihei Elementary School students in preparing garden-grown ingredients for a stir fry recipeNow in its sixth year, Kihei Elementary School garden, managed by Grow Some Good, has become a model program for integrating sustainability and nutrition into curriculum while inspiring future farmers, chefs, scientists, teachers and entrepreneurs on Maui. “We have observed children who are shy or those who don’t do well in the classroom, blossom just like the plants they are cultivating,” says Halle Maxwell, Kihei Elementary School Principal.

Grow Some Good is a nonprofit community program dedicated to creating hands-on, outdoor learning experiences that cultivate curiosity about natural life cycles, connect students to their food sources, and inspire better nutrition choices. In addition to helping establish food gardens and living science labs in local schools, the organization provides resources and curriculum support through community partnerships in agriculture, science, food education and nutrition. For more information about Grow Some Good, visit GrowSomeGood.org.Private chef Jana McMahon assists Kihei Elementary School students in creating school garden veggie pizzas

MAHALO TO OUR CHEFS!

MAHALO to Elyse Ditzel of Whole Foods Market Kahului for donating extra local produce to the Harvest Fest!

And, as always, MAHALO TO OUR WONDERFUL VOLUNTEERS who make these special events run smoothly and inspire greater nutrition for our keiki!

– Nio Kindla, Terry Huth, Kathy Becklin, Dania Katz, Eric Ulman, Ray and Laura Van Wagner, Connie Mark, Jordan Lauren Claymore, Wyatt Gouveia, Anthony LaBua, Sierra Knight and Ruby Ayers… you are AWESOME! We couldn’t do this without you!

Math Matters in the Garden

Measuring Perimeter, Area & Volume / Inspiring Entrepreneurial Minds 

This week, third and fourth graders at Kihei Elementary School and Wailuku Elementary School practiced measuring perimeter, area and volume in the garden to determine quantities of soil and lumber required to build a new raised garden bed and design garden layouts.

The measurements were also used to determine how many plants could be planted in the surface area of the new bed and how a farmer would use these math skills to determine what price to charge for produce.

Lots of fun and a great way to inspire entrepreneurial skills at an early age!

Here’s a link to Kids Gardening resources on a variety of math lessons to incorporate into your school garden programs.

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!

Soil Building with Cover Crops

The hottest summer months in Kihei are tough on most garden plants, but it’s a great time to introduce cover crops for improving soil health and preparing for the next planting season. These crops also serve as great tools to teach students about nitrogen and its role in the life cycle.

All plants need nitrogen to make amino acids, proteins and DNA. Approximately 80 percent of the air surrounding the earth is nitrogen gas. However, nitrogen in gas form is not usable by most plants. First, nitrogen needs to be converted from its atmospheric gas form to ammonium compounds to become available to plants. To achieve this, many organic farmers use nitrogen-fixing cover crops. Cover crop benefits and tips include:

Boosting Soil Fertility & Nitrogen Fixing

Cover crops, also known as green manures, recycle nutrients and add organic matter to the soil.  The nutrients are absorbed and stored inside plants. When nutrients are needed for the next crop, the old plants are dug into the soil or used as mulch on top of the soil. We always explain to students, “old plants make food for new plants.”

Legumes – such as alfalfa, peas, beans, clover and vetch – are particularly beneficial to replenish nitrogen available to plants. During the process, called “nitrogen fixing,” rhizobial bacteria take residence in root nodules of legumes and convert biologically unavailable atmospheric nitrogen gas to a plant-available ammonium compound.

Inoculating Seeds for Better Nitrogen Fixing

There are multiple strains of nitrogen-fixing rhizobia, and each is specific to a certain type of legume. For instance, the rhizobia strain associated with vetch will also work with peas, but not alfalfa. When legumes are inoculated with the proper strain of rhizobial bacteria, they produce large, pink nodules on the roots of the host plant. The pinkish color indicates the presence of a hemoglobin-like molecule that is necessary for nitrogen fixation to occur.

Rhizobia live naturally in the soil. However, the strains already present may not always be compatible for your cover crop or in the amount necessary for effective nitrogen fixation. To increase the odds, many gardeners inoculate their cover crop seeds by lightly dusting them with the appropriate rhizobial bacteria strains prior to planting. Rhizobial bacteria powder may be found in or near the seed section at your local nursery. Check the label to ensure the inoculant matches your cover crop seed of choice. We’ve had difficulty finding inoculant on store shelves on Maui, so ordering online is the best option here. Peaceful Valley has a great selection of seed inoculants with instructions on proper use of each strain.

Improving Soil Structure & Habitat

Cover crops strengthen soil structure, letting more air into the soil, improving drainage, maintaining viable living space for beneficial microorganisms and insects. Cover crops can also help the sandy soils found in Kihei hold more water. While some cover crops are drought resistant, beneficial bacteria generally fare better with moisture.

Preventing Soil Erosion and Compaction

Cover crops help prevent soil from being carried away by wind and rain. The roots penetrate the soil and hold it in place. Having plants constantly growing in your gardening spaces also gives a visual cue to help deter kids from marching through and compacting the soil.

Controlling Weeds

Bare soil can become quickly overgrown with weeds, which can be difficult to remove once they’ve become established. A good ground cover can prevent weeds from growing by competing for nutrients, space and light.

Want to learn more? You’re invited to help us plant new cover crops and learn hands-on how to improve nitrogen availability for healthy new garden plants. Attend our upcoming Work & Learn Days or email info@GrowSomeGood.org for more information on participating in classes with Kihei Elementary & Lokelani Intermediate students.

Outrigger Pizza Teaches Kids Art and Science of Pizza Dough

The Outrigger Pizza Company is a favorite lunch spot in Kihei, Maui (Azeka Shopping Center Mauka parking lot), so we were thrilled when co-founder and president Eric Mitchell agreed to spend three full days working with Wailea chefs preparing pizzas in his mobile wood burning oven. More than 800 K-5 grade students at Kihei Elementary School co-created pizza recipes including marinara, pesto or herb infused olive oil, topped with fresh garden greens and herbs, red creole onion, carrots, tomato, broccoli and zucchini – all veggies that are grown in the school garden.

Chef Eric brought an artisan kiawe wood burning clay oven on wheels, made all the dough for the entire event, made extra  pizzas for delivery to classes who couldn’t attend and kept the oven stoked for a special after school party for YMCA A+ students.  While the kids watched him flip dough in the air, he explained the science behind yeast and how beneficial bacteria burp when eating flour to make tiny air pockets in the crust. “Ewww!!!” a few screeched, then Eric explained the benefits of good bacteria to keep digestion healthy. Inspired by their discovery, kids artfully spread the sauce in circles, arranged herbs and sprinkled with cheese, then patiently waited – only 90 seconds before pizzas emerged from the kiawe oven piping hot. They talked story and called out their slices and took in the aroma while waiting a few more moments to cool. Students devoured, studied and savored the garden pies while talking about their favorite ingredients…and their next recipe adventure!

Mahalo nui loa to Eric, all the chefs and volunteers for inspiring our keiki to grow, harvest, prepare and eat their own amazing vegetables.

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Wailea Chefs Grow Some Good

 

capische il teatro chef christopher kulisWe are so fortunate to have our chefs on Maui! And we have some great news to share:  Four of Wailea’s premiere chefs are combining their talents, time and resources to support the school garden movement on Maui. Chefs Brian Etheredge and Christopher Kulis of Capische? and Il Teatro are teaming up with Four Season’s Maui at Wailea Chefs Cameron Lewark of Spago and Nicholas Porreca of Ferraro’s to host a series of four fundraisers, called ‘Grow Some Good: Wailea Chefs.’  Taking place May 2012 through early 2013, the series will showcase recipes co-created with students and ingredients grown at Kihei Elementary School and Lokelani Intermediate School gardens.

All net proceeds from thekihei elementary school garden harvest party 2012 fundraisers benefit Grow Some Good projects including school garden installations and maintenance, coordinator/educator positions, school garden mini-grants, curriculum and materials for garden-based learning and nutrition classes. The organization also has received funding support from the County of Maui, Private Maui Chef Owner/Chef Dan Fiske, Capische? Owner/Chef Brian Etheredge, and Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman.

Event series includes:

  • Grow Some Good: Ferraro’s – May 19, 2012 – Ferraro’s private, invitation-only dinner for 25 guests.
  • Grow Some Good: Capische? – July 20, 2012 – Capische? dinner for 40 guests.
  • Grow Some Good: Spago – Sept. 15, 2012 – Spago dinner for 60 guests.
  • Maui Chefs Grow Some Good – March 2, 2013 outdoor event at Hotel Wailea with students and chefs showcasing the best of school garden recipes. For tickets, visit https://growsomegood.org/events/.

To kick off the serieKihei Elementary School harvest party 2012 grow some goods, Wailea chefs shared the art and science of good food with more than 800 students and in nearly a quarter-acre of garden space in the heart of the Kihei Elementary School campus.  Students harvested and prepared ingredients from the Pizza Garden and Gardens of the World to make wood-fired pizza in a mobile pizza oven supplied by Outrigger Pizza, then stir-fry veggies for Asian vegggie wraps. Student grown ingredients included eggplant, okra, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, red creole onions, green onions, basil, bok choy, oregano and thyme. Super delicious!  Then students finished their day sipping lilikoi lemonade with fresh berries. Special thanks to Akamai Pumping for donating foot pump hand washing stations — the most fun we’ve ever seen kids have washing their hands!

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