hawaii school garden and farm to school symposium and ku aina pa teacher training

Hawaii School Garden and Farm to School Events June 2013

by Colleen Carroll and Jan Ray

Flowers in the Malaai School Garden ©2013 NatureTalks.net

Flowers fill the beds surrounding the culinary crops at Malaai School Garden.

A quiet movement is taking root in the islands of Hawaiʻi. The movement’s message is so powerful and inspiring that it unites kumu, kupuna, teachers, gardeners, farmers, chefs, educators, children and parents alike. At the heart of the movement is our schools, where classroom and school learning garden teachers are working hand-in-hand to create educational learning spaces in the outdoor school learning gardens, as well as bring more and more fresh, healthful, local food into the cafeteria, snacks times, after school programs, homes, and virtually anywhere that food is eaten.

This summer, from June 7th to 8th on the Island of Hawaiʻi, educators gathered from around the state to participate in the 6th Annual Statewide School Learning Garden Symposium in Waimea/Kamuela at the Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy and Mala’ai, the Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School. Over 100 people joined in to share their experiences teaching in school learning gardens and farm-to-school programs. Experts, including Delafruz Williams, Ph.D., co-author of Learning Gardens and Sustainability Education: Bringing Life to Schools and Schools To Life; Linda Colewell, chef and founder of the Garden of Wonders, the Abernethy Kitchen for Portland Public Schools, and Eat.Think.Grow;  and Sarah Sullivan, Program Coordinator for Abernethy Elementary’s award-winning School Kitchen Garden Program, guided participants through some of the nation’s most successful and forward-thinking models for school learning gardens and farm-to-school programs.

Ku Aina Pa School Garden Teacher Training ©NatureTalks 2013

Ku Aina Pa School Garden Teacher Training at the Malaai Culinary Garden

Symposium presenters included the first cohort of classroom and school learning garden teachers from the graduating class of Kū ʻĀina Pā, the Kohala Center’s Hawaiʻi Island School Garden Network school learning gardens professional development program for classroom and school learning garden teachers. The graduates spent this past year in 100 hours of experience-based school learning gardens training.  They also created place-based curriculum for their unique school settings and conducted action research projects designed to improve their professional practices and garden skills. The second cohort of Kū ʻĀina Pā, for school garden teachers, joined together for their initial training during the week of June 9th to 14th.

The leaders behind this exciting professional development program are a team from the Island of Hawaiʻi, including Nancy Redfeather, Director of the Kohala Center’s Hawaiʻi Island School Garden Network; Amanda Rieux, Director of the Mala’ai Culinary Garden at Waimea Middle School; and Koh Ming Wei, Sustainability Curriculum Facilitator at the Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy. The team is joined by local support from Slow Food Hawaiʻi; the Hawaiʻi School Garden and Farm to School Hui; Sandy Barr, chef and Culinary Arts faculty at Hawaiʻi Community College; Jan Ray, Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo; Kumu Pua Case and many, many more. If you are interested in learning more about this and other events in Hawaiʻi please visit the Kohala Center website

Colleen Carroll, Ed.D., has worked with school gardens, environmental education and urban forestry in Hawaiʻi for twenty years and currently is Director of NatureTalks. NatureTalks provides support and coordination for the school gardens and farm to school programs on the island of Kauai. Please visit NatureTalks to learn more about her work and see a preview of her new book Inspirational Gardeners.

Jan Ray, Ed.D., is an Associate Professor of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.  She has worked in the field of education for over 30 years.  She provides academic support, evaluation, and research services for the Kohala Center’s Hawaiʻi Island School Garden Network.

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About the Author

Colleen Carroll, Ed.D: Urban Forestry and environmental expert, educator, researcher and author, Colleen Carroll, Ed.D, inspires an appreciation for urban forestry in others in order to ensure the protection of nature in our cities and towns.