Yahoo Weather

You are here

How do your school gardens grow?

<p>The panel at the Hawaii School Garden Network Symposium addresses about 125 people at the HPA auditorium. From left, Jennifer Bach, Laupahoehoe Farm to School Program; Nancy Redfeather, Hawaii Island School Garden Network; Rebecca Kuby, Maui School Garden Network; Lydi Morgan Bernal, Kokua Hawaii Foundation AINA in the Schools; Emillia Noordoek, Sustainable Molokai, Molokai School Garden Network; Leah Rothbaum, CTAHR UH-Manoa Master Gardener Program; Terry Langley, MAO Organic Farms, Waianae; Leyla Cabugos, Grow Hawaii, Hawaii Association of Independent Schools; Colleen Carroll, Nature Talks, Kauai; Tiana Kamen, Farm to Keiki, Kauai, and Gigi Cocquio, Hoa Aina O Makaha. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

The panel at the Hawaii School Garden Network Symposium addresses about 125 people at the HPA auditorium. From left, Jennifer Bach, Laupahoehoe Farm to School Program; Nancy Redfeather, Hawaii Island School Garden Network; Rebecca Kuby, Maui School Garden Network; Lydi Morgan Bernal, Kokua Hawaii Foundation AINA in the Schools; Emillia Noordoek, Sustainable Molokai, Molokai School Garden Network; Leah Rothbaum, CTAHR UH-Manoa Master Gardener Program; Terry Langley, MAO Organic Farms, Waianae; Leyla Cabugos, Grow Hawaii, Hawaii Association of Independent Schools; Colleen Carroll, Nature Talks, Kauai; Tiana Kamen, Farm to Keiki, Kauai, and Gigi Cocquio, Hoa Aina O Makaha. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>A display of the work at Malaai Culinary Garden at Waimea Middle School shows visitors the students’ work throughout the year. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

A display of the work at Malaai Culinary Garden at Waimea Middle School shows visitors the students’ work throughout the year. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>A vegetable display at the symposium. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

A vegetable display at the symposium. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>Members of the HISGN address attendees during a panel discussion at the symposium. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

Members of the HISGN address attendees during a panel discussion at the symposium. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>Visitors enjoy a break during the symposium. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

Visitors enjoy a break during the symposium. (PHOTO BY CATHERINE TARLETON| SPECIAL TO NHN)

“’Ma ka hana ka ike,’ by doing we learn. It’s in all cultures,” said Program Director Nancy Redfeather at the 6th Annual Hawaii Island School Garden Network Summer Symposium, June 7-8, at Hawaii Preparatory Academy.

“It’s inspiring to work with teachers. To watch the growth this year has been amazing,” said Redfeather. “I started teaching in 1969, and this has been the best ever for me.”

Presented by the Hawaii Island School Garden Network of the Kohala Center, the symposium included a graduation ceremony for “Ku Aina Pa” Cohort One, the first-ever class of island teachers to complete an extensive 12-month school garden training course. The Ku Aina Pa (Standing Firmly in Knowledge Upon the Land) program was created under a U.S. Department of Agriculture “Ag in the Classroom” grant.

Cohort Two began after the symposium, on Sunday. Similar to last year, requirements for Cohort Two include a five-day Summer Intensive, three school garden visits, three two-day workshops at Mala‘ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School, and an ongoing mentoring/observation program. In addition, participating teachers complete garden-based action research projects, for a total of 190 credit hours.

Evolved far beyond sprouting “chia pets” in the classroom, today’s school gardeners are making important connections between core curricular concepts in the sciences, math, language arts, health and nutrition, cultural and place-based learning—and with each other.

“We believe that everything can be learned in the garden,” said HPA’s Sustainability Curriculum Facilitator Dr. Koh Ming Wei, one of the key event organizers. Koh was excited to see 125 or more attendees at the symposium, from all parts of Hawaii Island, Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai and elsewhere. She was further delighted to announce that, where Cohort One had only been available to kindergarten to eighth grade teachers, Cohort Two will include up to grade 12.

Following opening protocols on Friday, 14 different breakout sessions on everything from soil to seed to harvest and more, a panel discussion presented 11 different members of the statewide Hawaii Farm to School and School Garden Hui, moderated by Koh.

Jennifer Bach, of Laupahoehoe Farm to School Program talked about going through food safety certification so that school garden produce can be served in the cafeteria and used in cooking classes. Rebecca Kuby, Maui School Garden Network, worked with some of the lowest-income areas on Lanai, where food security is a serious issue. She said that 44 schools in Hawaii want to establish learning gardens.

“Molokai High School, in the past, had a strong ag program,” said Emilia Noordoek of Sustainable Molokai. “All of that is gone now … we planted a food forest, put in a catchment tank and we caught 18,000 gallons of water since December.”

“There are more than 300 certified master gardeners in Hawaii,” said Leah Rothbaum of College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. “Master gardeners pay for and take the training (16 weeks) and agree to give back to their community.”

Rothbaum said numerous school garden resources are available from the university online (see links provided).

Extensive resources are also available from the Kokua Hawaii Foundation AINA in the Schools. Lydi Morgan Bernal announced the foundation is making mini grants of up to $200 per teacher or $1,000 per school for lesson plans and field trips.

“One of three keiki are obese before kindergarten,” said Gigi Cocquio, of Hoa Aina O Makaha (Oahu), who addressed the value of getting children and families to take part in raising some of their own food, physically and psychologically.

“When we are gentle with people, people are gentle with us,” he said, describing how he taught students to carefully work with young plants. “When I saw them kissing the seedlings, it brought tears to my eyes.”

The symposium continued through Sunday, included tours of six different school learning gardens in the Waimea area, and finished with a “Slow Food Lunch and Conversation” at Malaai Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School.program,” said Emilia Noordoek of Sustainable Molokai. “All of that is gone now … we planted a food forest, put in a catchment tank and we caught 18,000 gallons of water since December.”

“There are more than 300 certified master gardeners in Hawaii,” said Leah Rothbaum of College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. “Master gardeners pay for and take the training (16 weeks) and agree to give back to their community.”

Rothbaum said numerous school garden resources are available from the university online (see links provided).

Extensive resources are also available from the Kokua Hawaii Foundation AINA in the Schools. Lydi Morgan Bernal announced the foundation is making mini grants of up to $200 per teacher or $1,000 per school for lesson plans and field trips.

“One of three keiki are obese before kindergarten,” said Gigi Cocquio, of Hoa Aina O Makaha (Oahu), who addressed the value of getting children and families to take part in raising some of their own food, physically and psychologically.

“When we are gentle with people, people are gentle with us,” he said, describing how he taught students to carefully work with young plants. “When I saw them kissing the seedlings, it brought tears to my eyes.”

The symposium continued through Sunday, included tours of six different school learning gardens in the Waimea area, and finished with a “Slow Food Lunch and Conversation” at Malaai Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School.