Chef Jana’s Localicious Recipes!

chef jana mcmahon and suzanne cleveland carlsonWhat a great day of connecting with a group of educators and volunteers sharing outdoor learning ideas and touring South / Central Maui school gardens – organized by Anne Gachuhi of Home Gardening Support Network and Lehn Huff, Maui School Garden Network.

The Feb. 4 tour featured four schools  – Kihei Elementary School, Lokelani Intermediate school, Kihei Charter School and Maui Hui Malama Learning Center.

Mahalo nui to Anne, Lehn, volunteers and other visitors for making this an awesome day. Special appreciation to Private Chef and Slow Food Maui member Jana McMahon and Suzanne Cleveland Carlson for preparing a beautiful, localicious lunch. We all cleaned our plates and asked for recipes. So.. Here you go!  Mahalo Chef Jana for sharing!

The school garden movement on Maui is growing strong with so many schools now incorporating outdoor learning into curricula. This is wonderful news to all of us who would like to see keiki learn about food, nature and the environment at an earlier age. Curious about all the good things growing in our schools?  Visit a school garden in your neighborhood and dig in!

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What’s Growing On?

New life is sprouting up everywhere you look at Kihei Elementary School Garden. Over the past few weeks, more than 750 students and teachers planted cultural and nutrition themed gardens, pounded poi and launched scientific investigations, translating curriculum into real life outdoor learning experiences.

What’s growing on in the Food Jungle?
> Kalo (taro) & ‘Olena (turmeric) Patch – more than 140 new plants!
> Gardens of the World: Asia – including okra, squash, bok choy, lemon grass, winged beans, long beans, eggplant, bitter melon and soybeans.
> Gardens of the World: Latin America – Salsa Garden with all the ingredients to make the world’s best salsa!
> Green Bean Teepee Tunnel – Pick green beans from the sky in an edible teepee tunnel with several varieties of organic and heirloom green beans.
> Sweet Potato Mounds – 2nd grade project planting several varieties in two new sweet potato mounds.
> Carrot Patch – planted with short & sweet and red dragon varieties of carrots.
> Salad Bowl & Green Smoothie Gardens – a mix of delicious mesculin greens, kale and chard for salads and green smoothies!
> Pizza Garden – back by popular demand with all the ingredients to make veggie pizzas, this year’s Pizza Garden shaped like a peace sign.

… and more to come!

Work & Learn This Saturday

Saturday, Dec. 10
8 a.m. to 11 a.m.Where:
Kihei Elementery School
250 E Lipoa St  Kihei, HI 96753

This weekend’s Garden Care Day will focus on building a new herb spiral garden, stringing jute runners for the green bean teepee tunnel, making directional signs, garden visioning, weeding, and basic garden maintenance.

Free Starts!
Volunteers this Saturday will learn about heirloom and organic plant varieties that grow well in South Maui this time of year and receive free plant starts and/or seeds to start their own herb gardens at home.

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.

Garden Care & Fruit Fly Trap Workshop This Saturday

kihei elementary school garden south maui school gardens projectWHEN:
Saturday, October 8
Garden Care: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Workshop: 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Kihei Elementary School Garden
250 E. Lipoa Street, Kihei
Center campus adjacent to cafeteria and main office.

Caring for the Garden

Help us create the best garden ever this year at Kihei Elementary School. In the plans: peace pie (pizza) garden, gardens of the world field, expanded Native Hawaiian canoe garden, pollinator gardens, herb spirals, bamboo teepee tunnel of vine plants (beans, cucumber, lilikoi, etc), three sisters garden and more!

No experience necessary in this learning garden. Plenty of garden care projects for the entire family. We’ll be expanding planting areas, building bamboo tee pee tunnels, amending the soil, clearing weeds and old plants, spreading mulch, painting garden signs…

Learn about gardening from your neighbors while working together to inspire keiki to learn from nature. As always, fresh fruit and beverages will be served.
Please bring a hat, sunscreen, gloves, closed toe shoes and a drinking cup.

fruit fly workshop kihei elementary school gardenLearning in the Garden:
Fruit Fly Traps

Urban gardening expert & South Maui School Gardens Project Co-Founder Kathy Becklin will explain why your melons, citrus, tomatoes and zucchini are getting stung and what to do about it. A fruit fly talk followed by a fruit fly trap workshop will take place from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Collect your own empty 2 liter soda bottles and bring them to the event.

We’ll supply the lures specific to fruit flies most common in South Maui. Suggested donation: $5 (DIY with your bottle), $10 (to have one made for you). Proceeds benefit Kihei Elementary School Garden. Email for more information.

See you in the garden!

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 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.

Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman

June 14 – Monkeypod Kitchen Hosts Fundraising Dinner for Lokelani School Garden

Monkeypod Kitchen by MerrimanMonkeypod Kitchen by Merriman is hosting a special fundraising dinner to support the launch of new school gardens and outdoor learning programs for more than 600 students at Lokelani Intermediate School in Kihei. The Lokelani program launch is a collaborative effort between South Maui School Gardens Project and Community Work Day Program.

Twenty percent of net dinner receipts collected during Monkeypod Kitchen’s dinner service hours on Tuesday, June 14, will support South Maui School Gardens Project in installing educational gardens and providing program support for teachers, students and volunteers. Guests are also invited to make donations to purchase specific wish list items for the project. Donation forms will be available for those who would like to receive a tax deductible donation letter in return.

In addition to hosting the fundraising dinner, Monkeypod Kitchen has signed on as an ongoing financial contributor to the program and provides an incentive program for employees who volunteer in the garden.

Lokelani School garden design by permaculture specialist Rebekah Kuby
Lokelani School garden design by permaculture specialist Rebekah Kuby

Plans for Lokelani include Native Hawaiian gardens, food producing and educational gardens, fruit tree orchards, a chef’s garden for the cafeteria, multi-cultural heritage gardens, and pocket gardens throughout the campus. Students and teachers from all disciplines are taking ownership of this transformative project by creating new outdoor learning activities. Nutritional education, natural science projects, video documenting, creative writing for the school garden blog, garden design drafts, research and planning are just a few curricula in development with Lokelani teachers for the coming school year.

Come join us for drinks and dinner to celebrate the good things growing in our schools!


Fundraiser – Tuesday, June 14, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.


Monkeypod Kitchen, 10 Wailea Gateway Place, Unit B-201 Kihei, Hawaii 96753


Call (808) 891-2322

Monkeypod Kitchen is open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. for lunch and dinner. Outdoor seating features views of Kaho’olawe and Lanai. This event previews Maui Film Festival weekend, so reservations encouraged, walk-ins warmly welcome.

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 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 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

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 (, 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