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.