Kohala Center is sponsoring a series of tours in the next three weeks featuring 15 school and community gardens. Kohala Center provides partial funding and support for 63 community gardens around the island. The staff at Kohala Center says the gardens are outdoor learning labs that can enhance the lives of children and adults involved in the gardens.
Every school garden is unique. One example is the Hualalai Academy garden. Dan Sabo created the school garden for Hualalai Academy in 1996. A third grade teacher at the private K through 12 school in Kona, Sabo said he’d read a study that kids were not getting outdoors enough, not getting enough exercise. He said he felt he could include the standard academic curricula—math, science, and more—in working in a school garden. Today, the garden at Hualalai Academy at the end of Kealakaha Street winds around the school builldings and includes an herb garden, fruit trees and vegetables, native plants, and more. Sabo says work in the garden can be anything from working on building fences and walls to preparing the soil to planting.
Other schools practice Korean farming techniques, many use hydroponics, almost all focus on native plants, and all focus on sustainability.
There is no charge for the tours. There are also lunch events, listed at the bottom, which require reservations online at www.kohalacenter.org.
Saturday, April 14: West Hawai‘i tours
9:00-10:00 a.m. Hualalai Academy
Here at the base of Mount Hual?lai is a private K-12 school with multiple gardens that have different purposes and plants. The Hual?lai Academy’s school garden tour will feature a student farmers’ market, student-led tours of the herb/tea garden, fruit orchard, and raised vegetable beds. Come see the two aquaponics systems students are developing: an ebb and flow and a raft system for conducting crop trials with taro, rice, and lettuce.
10:30-11:30 a.m. Innovations Public Charter School (IPCS)
The garden at IPCS is an integral part of this school known for its focus on inquiry and project-based education. To meet the school’s goal of creating a green and sustainable campus, the garden aims to have edible ecosystems encompass the campus to provide education and food for the entire school community. Tour these gardens and orchards and witness the school’s success with school-wide recycling, a zero waste program, grey water recycling, vermicomposting and composting areas which create sustainable systems that students can replicate at home.
Saturday, April 14: Hamakua tours
9:00-10:00 a.m. Honoka‘a High School
Honoka‘a High and Intermediate School has a comprehensive Agriculture/Natural Resources Program. Students are engaged in maintaining the program’s golf course and agriculture program ground, herb garden, vegetable field crops, native plants, circulating and non-circulating hydroponics, aquaponics, and in the agriculture shop where they sell produce to faculty and staff. See the pride of the Honoka‘a community and be inspired by the hard work these dedicated students devote to learning life skills, caring for the land, and nurturing their community.
10:15-10:45 a.m. Pa‘auilo Elementary & Intermediate School
The Pa‘auilo School Agriculture Program teaches students to grow food using sustainable, responsible practices. The program includes a mid-scale vermicomposting system called Wormville. It is a 10×4 foot lateral trough system used to compost some of the school’s cafeteria waste; turning it into a rich fertilizer for the school gardens. This half-hour tour will focus on “Wormville” – a mid-scale vermicomposting system made by a parent volunteer from common building materials. It composts cafeteria waste by turning it into highly valuable vermicompost for gardening needs.
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Laupahoehoe High & Elementary School
Laup?hoehoe School’s garden program is available to students in grades K-12 and includes a vegetable garden, tropical orchard, and aquaponics systems. Students in K-5 are learning Korean Natural Farming techniques, aquaponics, and how to plant seeds, transplant, and compost. Come see the fruits of their labor and the variety of tropical species of plants and trees, some quite rare, on the campus.
Saturday, April 21: West Hawai‘i tours
9:00-10:00 a.m. Honaunau Elementary School
H?naunau Elementary, in the heart of South Kona agricultural lands, has the highest free and reduced lunch count on Hawai?i Island. Students in all grades at this public school are using their Discovery Garden to focus on nutrition and learn basic gardening etiquette in coordination with core classroom curriculum. Tour these newly-planted gardens that are the beginning of a Seed-to-Table program to be extended to all students and, eventually, the community.
10:30-11:30 a.m. Kona Pacific Public Charter School
Kona Pacific’s 6,000 square foot school garden plays an integral part in its educational program. Students work in the school gardens at least twice per week, taking part in every aspect – from digging new beds, planting, weeding, and daily composting to harvesting, cooking, and preparing the imu for the Earth Day celebration. Through actively recycling and composting, the school garden has helped limit landfill waste to less than one trash can per day! Come be amazed by these accomplishments and more.
12:00-1:00 p.m. Hua O Ke Ao at the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden tour
This site on the grounds of the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden offers 15 acres of rich agricultural history of Kona and is well-developed with hundreds of native Hawaiian plant species. Its purpose is to make traditional agricultural and native plant conservation education available to interested youth and their families while meeting different community needs. This year, the program has 20 youth in grades 4-12 enrolled from four South Kona schools. Meet these young caretakers of the land and enjoy the mea?ai (food) they cultivate with aloha.
If you are interested in lunch after this tour, go to kohalacenter.org.
Saturday, April 21: East Hawai‘i tours
9:00-10:00 a.m. Hawai‘i Academy of Arts & Science (HAAS) Public Charter School
Located on 13 acres in P?hoa, HAAS and its school garden program provides a rich learning environment where children learn how to grow nutritious food. The program includes large scale composting, aquaponics, a commercial-scale garden, and a macadamia nut orchard. The HAAS school garden covers several acres and offers inspiration and innovation in agriculture to visitors.
10:30-11:30 a.m. Dragon’s Eye Learning Center
Dragon’s Eye Farm is an innovative, off-grid farm located in rural East Hawai?i that seeks to provide educational experiences of cooperative and sustainable agricultural and economic systems. Since 2003, they have offered local children and adults an assortment of environmental, fine arts, and tutoring programs. Tour the site’s gardens, orchards, and impressive aquaponics system. DELC also runs a Community Supported Agriculture business and is transitioning towards the Korean Natural Farming mini-farm model.
Noon-12:45 p.m. Kua O Ka La Public Charter School tour
Kua O Ka L? is located at Pu?ala?a, Puna, next to Ahalanui warm pond. Pu?ala?a is an intact ancient Hawaiian village complete with historical sites, fishponds, and native habitat that afford an ideal outdoor learning environment for the project-based curriculum. Students grow food in several gardens throughout the campus and use much of the produce to help prepare a weekly luncheon for staff and visitors.
If you are interested in lunch after this tour, go to kohalacenter.org
Saturday, April 28: East Hawai‘i tours
9:00-10:00 a.m. Hilo High School
Hilo High School’s natural resources students manage a variety of themed gardens, an orchard, and a hydroponics system. Themed gardens represent plants found in pre-contact Hawai?i, plants brought by canoe voyagers, an herb garden, and a lei garden. Feel free to bring a bag for plant cuttings as you are invited to take cuttings during the tour; hand pruners will be provided.
10:15-12:30 p.m. Lanakila Learning Center/Kalalau Ranch
Hilo High School’s Lanakila Learning Center is an alternative learning center with a student population that thrives in an educational setting where traditional academic instruction is connected with experiential learning. This tour will begin at the Lanakila Learning Center campus to see the students’ work with small-scale hydroponics and aquaponics, and some gardening in raised beds. Next, we will drive a short distance to Kalalau Ranch where LLC students are developing aquaponics ponds and building a greenhouse for plant cultivation.
Saturday, April 28: Waimea tours
9:30-10:30 a.m. Waimea Country School tour
Na Keiki Aloha ‘?ina, For the Children who Love the Land, is a student-run garden program at Waimea Country School, a private elementary and middle school. Student tour leaders will guide participants through some of their favorite gardening tasks, share stories, show off photos that catalog the history of the program, and serve a simple snack from their garden.
10:45-11.45 a.m.Mala‘ai Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School tour
Carved from former Parker Ranch pastureland, this 3/4-acre organic garden supports student learning by integrating core curriculum, cultural learning, and healthy life skills with academics. Last year, students grew 6,000 pounds of food that students ate or gave away in “free markets” to parents and community. Come see one of the most developed school garden programs in the state that features two new outdoor cooking stations and an extensive herb, flower, vegetable, and fruit garden that models foods which can be grown in the Waimea area.
Lunch: (Register online at www.kohalacenter.org)
Saturday, April 21
1:00-2:00 p.m. Lunch at Hua O Ke Ao at the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden Lunch will feature primarily locally grown produce prepared by a Kona-area restaurant.
Saturday, April 21
1:00-2:00 p.m. Lunch at Kua O Ka La Public Charter School
Lunch will feature 100% local ingredients, much of it grown in this productive student garden.
Saturday, April 28
Noon-1:00 p.m. Lunch at Mala‘ai Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School
Enjoy a catered, locally-sourced lunch amid the bounty of Waimea.