Categorized | Agriculture, Education, Featured

Learn about starting a home garden Saturday (Oct 3)

Mala‘ai Garden at Waimea Middle School. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Mala‘ai Garden at Waimea Middle School. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7


Learn more about starting your own home garden by lending a hand at Mala’ai school garden

Learn how to stretch your family’s food dollars while enjoying a morning working outdoors for a great cause with friends and neighbors. This is the “heart” of an invitation to Waimea Middle School families and community friends to participate from 9 a.m. to noon this Sat., Oct. 3, 2009, in a Mala’ai school garden Work and Learn Day.

Not unlike the “Victory Gardens” of WWII, home gardens can supplement family food budgets, even with a very small plot of land, and a morning of gardening at Mala’ai may inspire participants to start or improve their own home food garden.

Mala’ai’s ¾-acre organic garden was started nearly five years ago and reflects the hard work of more than 1,000 students, their families and several hundred community volunteers. It’s much larger than most would undertake, but there are many lessons to be learned and inspiration to be found in even three hours of working in the garden.

There is no charge to participate and tools, gloves and sun-protection hats will be provided. Participants are asked to bring drinking water, weather protection and to wear covered shoes.

After the work day there will be a Potluck lunch, which is also a great opportunity to talk-story about garden questions and experiences with others, some of whom are just getting started and some who have many years of experience with gardening.

Mala’ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School is almost entirely funded by community friends and grants to provide the school’s students with hands-on, place based learning experiences connected to academics, the environment and healthy life choices. Patterned after Berkeley’s “Edible School Yard,” the project also integrates Hawaiian cultural learning and values and is considered the “lead” garden in the still-new Hawai’i Island School Garden Network.

Mala’ai school garden includes both traditional Hawaiian food crops such as taro, mamake and sugarcane, and a far-flung variety of other food and flowering crops and trees.

Volunteer help is needed of all kinds – from on the ground weeding, planting, cultivating, composting and mentoring of students, to a wide array of other kinds of volunteer support or contribution of resources. Gifts of worms, seeds and seedli ngs, manure, gardening tools, wood chips, expertise and cash donations are welcome. Mala’ai is officially a 501c3 not-for-profit organization so contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

For more information, call Mala’ai Executive Director Matilda Tompson (885-9206) or Garden Leader Amanda Rieux (640-3637).

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