Maui School Garden Network and Upcountry Sustainability

Lehn Huff, coordinator for Maui School Garden Network, organized a Nourish screening with Upcountry Sustainability to help facilitate a conversation on creating a more sustainable food system in Maui. The organization’s mission is to bring people and groups together to create a collaborative, sustainable community, and contribute to building a healthy island, state, and planet Earth.

Huff invited a representative from Communities Putting Prevention to Work to speak about efforts at integrating local and school-grown food into the school menus in Maui. Huff works with a network of food and sustainability organizations on the island to create connections between nutrition and school gardens.

“That’s what’s so good about Nourish,” Huff said. “It helps our kids understand the global connections. It gives them a better understanding of what they’re eating and where it comes from, and empowers them to make a difference and participate.”

After each of the four segments of Nourish, the audience, which included about 50 participants, divided into discussion groups to talk. Of special interest were topics related food labeling, GMOs, saving seed, and getting to know ones neighbors and trading food with them.

Since the screening, Huff has been using Nourish with educators through the Maui School Garden Network. At a 50-minute presentation for a Maui Youth Gardening Workshop, teachers reviewed the different ways that Nourish could be integrated into school health programs at the middle school level.

Huff said teachers were pleased at the flexibility of the curriculum. They tried out two of the activities, Activity 2: Seasonal, Local Foods and Activity 5: Analyzing Food Ads. “Media literacy is a major standard for health curricula, and the teachers were thrilled with the activity,” said Huff.

She provided a listing of local fruits and vegetables from the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources extension service for Activity 2. The teachers appreciated that students could take their food wheel home and post it in their kitchens to remind them of what’s local and in season.

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