Keiki Gardening Projects Need Docents, Gardeners

Melissa Moniz
Wednesday - September 17, 2008
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Here’s a volunteer opportunity that combines two great causes: children and the environment.

AINA (Actively Integrating Nutrition and Agriculture) In Schools is a farm-to-school program dedicated to growing a healthier Hawaii. Based on the North Shore, it’s looking for nutrition docents and garden volunteers for the eight public schools that it serves, which include Sunset Beach and Wheeler elementary schools.

The docents give nutrition lessons to grades 2, 5 and 6. The time commitment is four trainings and eight classroom lessons per school year. Garden volunteers help build and maintain school gardens. Duties may include assembling garden boxes, loosening soil, shoveling mulch,creating garden artwork, watering and more.

“AINA in Schools integrates nutrition lessons, garden-based learning, recycling, agricultural literacy and healthy school lunches,” said volunteer coordinator Kelly Perry. “It’s modeled after a program from the Mainland and it’s an initiative of the Kokua Hawaii Foundation.” Call her at 638-5145 or go to

The program tackles issues like childhood obesity by instilling healthy eating habits and encourages stewardship by connecting children to the land by creating an institutional market for Hawaii’s farmers and their produce.

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