October is National Farm-to-School Month, a big month for Malama Kauai and their Kauai School Garden Network. Farm-to-School Month was officially designated by Congress in 2010 as a time to observe the importance of Farm-to-School programs to improve child nutrition, support local economies, sustain local farms and ranches, and educate children about the origins of food. Malama Kauai has lots of exciting activities planned!

“Since 2010 we’ve installed or upgraded gardens in over 20 pre-K through 12 schools on Kauai, but the next 12 to 18 months we hope to see even greater impacts with the expansion of our resources to assist Kauai schools,” says Keone Kealoha, executive director of Malama Kauai.  Malama Kauai recently brought on two new AmeriCorps VISTA members for the Kauai School Garden Network who will each be supporting different school complex areas on the island starting in November. Leslie Ann Laing will cover the north and east sides of the island (Kapaa Complex) and Tiona Miyamoto will be supporting the Waimea Complex area schools; the Lihue/Koloa (Kauai Complex) regional position is still accepting applications.

Merriman’s Fish House and Merriman’s Gourmet Pizza and Burger’s celebrates its 5th anniversary by hosting an all-day benefit on Thursday, October 23rd to raise funds and awareness for Malama Kauai’s School Garden Network’s farm-to-school programs. The event will be held from 11:00am – 10:00pm downstairs at Merriman’s Gourmet Pizza and Burgers, and for dinner from 5:30pm – 9:00pm upstairs, at Merriman’s Fish House in Poipu. There will be live entertainment, balloons, and two “Home of Hawaii Regional Cuisine” menu options for dining. Twenty percent of all food sale proceeds this date will be donated to Kalaheo Elementary’s school garden build project. Call (808) 742-8385 for reservations.

On Sunday, October 26th Malama Kauai will celebrate the launch of their new Community Farm, a combination of the 2-acre Kauai Food Forest project, 42-plot Kalihiwai Community Garden, and a new 2-acre chicken and vegetable farm. The farm provides plant materials, food, internships, and learning opportunities for the community and will be expanding its food production capabilities and educational workshops in 2015. Malama Kauai will provide a tour of the farm at 9 AM, followed by a hands-on farm work day until 12 noon, and ending with a celebration of food and music from 1 PM to 6 PM. If you’d like to join in the fun, meet at 9 AM sharp at the greenhouse in the front of the Malama Kauai property at Wai Koa Plantation in Kalihiwai Ridge. Be sure to dress appropriately, and bring work gloves, sun protection, and a reusable water bottle.

From October 26th through November 1st, Hukilau Lanai in Kapaa will make a donation for anyone who dines in for their Tasting Menu, which is available from 5:00 PM to 5:45 PM each evening (except Mondays). Their menu features five courses of ono local food and an optional wine pairing. To make reservations call (808) 822-0600.