Chefs & Students Unite to Grow Some Good
“Can we eat this NOW??”
That question comes from a third grader, harvesting kale and rainbow chard from the school garden at Kamali’i Elementary in Kīhei.
The answer is…sort of. Organizers had planned for students to try the fresh produce in the school cafeteria after gardening time, but a few kids couldn’t resist and braved some sample bites in advance, munching on giant green leaves among the thriving rows of fruits, vegetables and herbs.
“I love it,” exclaimed one third grader, when asked about the greens and the garden itself, grown by students with support from nonprofit Grow Some Good, which helps establish food gardens and living science labs in 12 local schools. Around 3,000 students island-wide learn about seedlings, soil enrichment, composting, planting, managing pests, harvesting and more.
“I think the movement as a whole has had a huge impact,” explains Nio Kindla with Grow Some Good. “We, like many nonprofit organizations, have had challenges with growing and maintaining a bulk of volunteers. Volunteers make it happen.”
On February 7, volunteers came in the form of local culinary professionals, who took off their chef coats and put on their gardening gloves to help students plant, tend and harvest produce.
“It’s good for the environment, it’s good for your body, it’s good for everything,” says Three’s Bar & Grill chef/co-owner Jaron Blosser, whose daughter attends Kamali’i. “We’re trying to show how cool it is, how delicious it is, and how healthy it is.”
Blosser also co-owns farm-to-table eatery, Fork & Salad in Kīhei, which may start donating food scraps for students to use in their compost piles. Fork & Salad will join around seven other establishments at Hotel Wailea on Saturday, March 4 for the 5th annual Taste of School Gardens event.
Chefs will create special dishes made from local and school-garden grown ingredients. Along with the Three’s chefs, they include Chef Peleg Miron of Spago; Chef Zach Sato of The Restaurant at Hotel Wailea; Owner Nicol Bradley of Ono Gelato Creamery and Shack Café; Chef John Cadman of Pono Pies, Chef Craig Dryhurst of DUO at Four Seasons Resort Maui, Chef Roger Stettler of Cow Pig Bun and Chef Kevin Laut of The Outrigger Pizza Company.
Laut also made time to garden with students at Kamali’i, and The Outrigger Pizza Company will even be hosting a future pizza party with garden-fresh toppings.
“Teach the kids a little bit about harvesting and what the garden can bring to them,” he says.
Grow Some Good’s Taste of School Gardens event will also feature fine wine and local brews, live music from Maui vocalist Shea Derrick and a live auction.
The festivities run from 5 to 8:30 p.m. on March 4 at Hotel Wailea, with tickets available for individuals and VIP tables of 10. RSVP by February 25 to ensure table reservations. Visit Grow Some Good’s website to purchase tickets and learn more.