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Hawaiʻi Farm to School Hui Post-Summer Updates

Congratulations to the 2023-2024 Food Trees for Schools (FTS) award recipients! The following schools on Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island were awarded funding to participate in the FTS program: Ewa Makai Middle School, Kalihi Waena Elementary School, Konawaena Elementary School, Mauka Lani Elementary School, Waiāhole Elementary School, Shafter Elementary School, Nānākuli High School, Waipahu High School, Webling Elementary School, and Waiākea High School.

FTS is an initiative of the Farm to School Hui aiming to increase the abundance and availability of food trees on school campuses. Food trees are essential to Hawaiʻi agriculture because they provide a sustainable food source for communities and help students better understand Hawaiʻi’s food system.

A newly planted lime tree, named Baby Limey Bears by the students, grows outside of Waiāhole Elementary School’s PreK/SPED classroom.

This initiative was originally funded by the Bank of Hawaiʻi’s 125th Anniversary Tree Planting Campaign, with continued funding from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife: Kaulunani Urban & Community Forestry Program.

FTS recipient schools are selected by an advisory panel based on criteria including commitment to long-term tree care, administration/student involvement, and curricular integration. The FTS advisory panel consists of tree and education experts from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and West O‘ahu, the Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program, Punahou School, and the Farm to School Hui.

Before planting, all schools will receive technical assistance from the program’s expert arborists and consultants. Each school will receive up to $1,500 in monetary funds to purchase at least five food trees and necessary supplies and materials to support the planting and long-term maintenance of the trees.

Waiāhole Elementary School was the first of the new cohort to hold their Tree Planting Ceremony in honor of the school’s 140th Anniversary. With the entire school’s participation, nine new food trees are growing on campus: one Ramani guava tree, one lime tree, one Egami-3 avocado, two dwarf coconut trees, two dwarf banana trees, and two ‘ulu trees! In addition to planting, each grade level lovingly named their tree and will see increased curricular activities around the planting.

As we head into Makahiki season, the FTS team is excited to support the remaining schools in the cohort as they prepare their campuses for their own food trees!

Jessica Taiatini

Jessica Taiatini

Hawai'i Farm to School Program Coordinator
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