I am happy to say that HIP Ag more specifically myself and our program director Leslie Nugent have educated over 300 youth about gardening and nutrition in the last two years. By the end of this school year I will have taught almost 150 youth- 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Kohala Middle School about gardening, healthy eating, and sustainability issues. Last school year we taught another 150 middle schoolers at Honoka’a Middle. We are building a grassroots agriculture movement on this island that is unstoppable. It has so much momentum and power because people want fresh healthy food, clean water, and a pristine island environment and nobody will be able to stop this mass movement from getting it’s goals.
This school year at Kohala Middle has been an awesome year filled with fun and challenges. The eight graders are tough, very hard to break thru the conditioning, they softened up quite a bit over the year, and some of them actually like the garden now. Whenever I was feeling totally over it, a student would make some amazing comment, which was encouragement to keep working towards raise consciousness in the schools.
Like when I walk into a classroom and a 6th grader throws their fist up in the air and yells “gardening”. The revolution has begun. And it’s happening all over the country and we are on the front lines in Hawaii inspiring the next generation of young farmers, gardeners, activists, and educators. But big transformation this year, I have been reaching out to the families, and I am getting reports that many families are cutting soda (corn syrup) out of their households.
The multinational food and agriculture corporation’s outdated model of monoculture farming and food production is done; it is rapidly loosing it’s respect and image that it can feed the world in a sustainable manner. It’s over. Monsanto’s GMO crops are failing farmers all over the world. Growing food (if you can really call it that) at the expense of our vitally precious eco-systems is not worth it anymore. Plus, industrial monoculture causes soil erosion, over use of underground water aquifers, destruction of bio-diverse resilient plant and animal communities. No matter how much money they throw at our politicians, and propaganda they put in the press, they are loosing power every day. We were so blessed to have had Vandana Shiva out to Hawaii to speak the truth about how GMO crops destroy our pristine environment. Hasn’t our island experienced enough destruction from monoculture sugarcane practices? We need a revitalization of our island’s ecosystems. We need more young farmers planting diverse abundant polyculture’s to feed our island people.
So the school year has been awesome and challenging. Too many students not enough time with them. I taught them about composting planting, seed saving, watering, mulching, how to prepare garden foods fresh, and more. Many of the students had the opportunity to come to a field trip at HIP Agriculture. They were stoked. They got a tour and then we prepared a entirely locally grown meal with cassava hash browns, fresh coco milk, braised greens, papaya salad, and more. Now this is education. How to grow food and eat it; sustainability 101. This coming year I am planning to offer an after school program and build on the success and foundation of this school year. I want to give more time and energy to those youth who really want to learn more about living in harmony with nature. We need more volunteers in our island garden programs. We need more people ready to garden and teach gardening.
Quick shout out to all the farmers in gardeners in Hawaii and all over the country, big up, keep planting this spring season. Plant choke food so our people can eat fresh.