A family gardens together at St. Catherine's School garden.

The family that gardens together…At St. Catherine’s School garden, the Mendozas dig in. L-R: Mom Stacy; Jenely; Jasmyne, a 4th grader at the school; and Jacy,1st grader. Photo by Anne E. O’Malley

School Garden Network Flourishes

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

On-campus gardens are on the rise as schools make the connection between the healthy food they grow and a healthy lifestyle. From Hanalei to Kekaha, school teachers, parents and students are digging in and growing their outdoor learning environments, focusing on everything from social agriculture and Hawaiian culture to nature’s life cycles and a student favorite — harvesting and eating the plants they grow.

St. Catherine’s Elementary School, for example, increased its garden from a few beds to over 1,000 sq. ft. of new garden space, thanks to the efforts of Sam Henriques, a 6th- through 8th-grade teacher there and a team of community volunteers.

More is in the works as the Kaua`i School Garden Network, a program of Malama Kaua`i, continues its growth and outreach. For example, October is National Farm-to-School month, and schools and the Network — now over 100 persons strong — have activities planned for all to enjoy.

Keanu Yadao-Iida, grade 1, KANAKA Public Charter School

Keanu Yadao-Iida, grade 1, Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha (KANAKA) Public Charter School (PCS). Courtesy photo

Here are a few of them.

Malama your Campus—take part in a series of community workdays at school gardens around the island.

Attend a free screening of the heart-warming PBS documentary – A Community of Gardeners. Read the synopsis at http://communityofgardeners.com/synopsis.

Join in a Teacher Cooking Demonstration and learn how to prepare healthy meals for keiki.

Plant an `ulu tree on your campus — trees and training sponsored by The Breadfruit Institute, whose world headquarters are right here on Kaua`i at the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Read more about the Institute’s work online at  http://ntbg.org/breadfruit/mission.php.

As For Kaua`i goes to press, details for the above events are still shaping up. You can get the latest information by calling Colleen Carroll at 828-0685 ext. 13; by emailing a request for the schedule to colleen@malamakauai.org; or by checking the Malama Kaua`i website at www.malamakauai.org.

See YOU in the garden!

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