Grow Some Good (GSG), a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating hands-on, outdoor learning experiences, establishes food gardens and living science laboratories in Maui schools. “We are cultivating curiosity about natural life cycles, strengthening local agriculture and improving access to nutritious, affordable food,” said Kathy Becklin, GSG Executive Director. “Students learn about the nutritional value of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs they plant, harvest and eat that inspires healthier food choices. Additionally, we provide local students with a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curriculum through community partnerships in the fields of agriculture, science, and food education.”
Becklin explained, “When we talk about plant functions, such as photosynthesis, students learn the science of growing plants. When we show them how to plant a bed of carrots or construct a bean-pole teepee they practice measuring for proper angles and location design. Critical thinking and problem-solving come into play following the well-known scientific method: identify a problem, create a solution, and provide observations of the results.”
The GSG program was created in 2008 by South Maui Sustainability’s School Garden Committee to support gardens created at Kihei Elementary, Lokelani Intermediate School and Kamali’i Elementary. “Committee members felt that outdoor classroom lessons would teach our future generations about traditional Hawaiian plants and growing and preparing foods in a sustainable environment,” said Becklin. “Since its inception, the program has expanded its outreach from one teacher at Kihei Elementary and three small raised beds, to 11 schools and more than 4,500 students participating in open-air learning programs.” GSG continues to expand its gardening outreach to neighborhood schools and their surrounding communities through partnerships with the County of Maui, Community Work Day, Maui School Garden Network, Kihei-Wailea Rotary Club and other local organizations, local chefs, and restaurant sponsors.
Taste of School Gardens, GSG’s 6th annual fundraiser, takes place Saturday, March 10th at the Maui Tropical Plantation from 5pm-8:30pm. Attendees and sponsors help to keep the school gardens growing while enjoying delicious creations from Maui’s top chefs, live entertainment, silent and live auctions, and much more. See GrowSomeGood.org for more information.
Valuable lessons in conservation, collaboration and sustainability inspire our future farmers, chefs, scientists, teachers and community leaders.
Kathy Becklin, Executive Director of GSG