by Colleen Carroll Ed.D., director, Kaua`i School Garden Network

For the past four years, Kalaheo third grade teachers Monique Gannon, Clyde Hashimoto, Bridget McCoy and AnnaLisa Riviera have made gardening fun for their combined 100 or so students, involving them in learning about local healthy food, soils, life cycles, diversity and farming.

They’ve planted crops together once again, gathering on a Saturday morning this Fall for the school year’s first garden workday. In just two hours, the teachers and keiki, along with parents and grandparents, weeded, cleared rows, captured bugs for fun and prepped for planting. Their efforts will yield food for a grade level — but how do you plan crops for a village?

To learn more about the bigger picture of farming on Kaua`i, the teachers arranged a field trip to Kekaha Community Garden. Project head Diane Shoemaker, along with volunteers, moved the Kalaheo keiki seamlessly through a variety of stations including seed planting, weeding, pruning, harvesting and — my personal favorite — making and eating kale salad.

Kids and kale are a dynamic combo. After the group harvested two kinds of kale, they washed their 200 + hands, washed the kale and washed those 200+ hands again. For the crowning coup, the keiki mixed and ate the salad.

Student Tyler Jumper sat skeptically staring at the bowl of kale. The next moment he popped a handful of salad in his mouth and shouted, “This is the best field trip I ever had — and the best thing I ever ate!”

His exclamation of joy gave us all the sense of a job well done.

Jill Richardson of Regenerations Botanical Garden works the salad station with Kalaheo third graders.

Who knew harvesting, preparing and eating kale would be so much fun? Jill Richardson of Regenerations Botanical Garden works the salad station with Kalaheo third graders. Photo by Colleen Carroll

These Kalaheo Third Grade Teachers offer a great example of teaching and learning in the outdoors and the power of working together. Kekaha Community Garden staff and volunteers offer a well-wired field trip — hands-on how-to that sticks.

Kaua`i School Garden Network worked with the school to plan the series of activities; Alexander & Baldwin provided a grant to support the Kalaheo Elementary School Garden Project; and Jill Richardson, vice-president of Regenerations Botanical Garden rounded out the team with her engaging and steadfast love of children and gardens.

Kaua`i School Gardens Network is a program of Malama Kaua`i that connects students, teachers, and school communities with creating, growing, and revitalizing on-campus gardens. We envision every school with a garden on campus where healthy, local food is the central theme. To learn more about the Kaua`i School Gardens Network and how you can participate call 808-828-0685 * 13

or email

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