Posted on Fri, May 27, 2011 by Slow Food USA
2 Comments | Categories: Biodiversity, Farms and Farming, Policy,
by Slow Food USA intern Grace Moore
As seeds are being sown in school gardens around the country, some gardens got an extra boost this year. Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company donated hundreds of seed packets to 85 of the school gardens run by Slow Food USA chapters. I recently caught up with Clare Loprinzi, the garden coordinator of Ke Mala ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino to talk about how the seeds are helping advance their K-12 Hawaiian immersion school. Read on to learn about how their seeds are sowing healthy young Hawaiians:
Tell me more about Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino and its garden.
Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino is a K-12 Hawaiian immersion school where Hawaiian language is taught as a first language. We are located in Kona, Hawai’i in the ahupua’a (traditional land division) of Kalukalu. Ninety-six percent of the 163 children enrolled are Hawaiian. Incorporating the garden project is something that 32 member administration and staff embraced. This project is in the third year continuing in the creation of a Hawaiian Immersion school that is also a model sustainable community school. All of our keiki (children) are part of this garden interweaving their growth and the growth of the plants to create a healthier school.
How is the garden integrated into the school’s curricula?
This school and the mala (garden) project are not only aimed at restoring indigenous wisdom and sustainability, but at making whole leaders to make the changes that are necessary for survival. We are able to relate stories and traditions of our elders to this project therefore, building and enhancing stronger relationships to the environment around us to make them more intimate and family-like.
This project brings the community of ‘Ehunuikaimalino together including, parents, elders and members of our community for the benefit of the whole child as well as becoming a model school of Kona. With half of Hawaiian people dying from diabetes and heart disease, the health of our people is benefiting as the children bring home good food and learn to make it. Many families are able to bring home produce from our mala.
What are your plans for the Baker Creek seeds?
Our program is currently is finishing the third year of their 2-acre project to plant Native Hawaiian crops, kalo (taro) being the main plant which has roots all the way back to the first Hawaiian. We tie in the history of the land with this program as Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino is in the gardens of Lono, the god of agriculture and war. It is fertile land and so giving more than you take and feeding papa honua (mother earth) is incorporated in composting and organic traditional farming methods. Traditional food economies, la’au lapa’au (traditional medicines) and other foods are grown in the garden to teach students about native healing traditions. The Baker seeds will beautify the gardens with lovely flowers, introduce more herbal medicines, and vegetable seeds are growing in our traditionally made rock wall beds. A big mahalo to Baker Creek Seeds!
Photo: Clare Loprinzi