HISGN cultivates the relationships among our children, teachers, and land by nourishing a vibrant network that supports the growth and integration of school learning gardens through professional development, advocacy, mentorship and technical assistance.
HISGN supports more than 60 school gardens on Hawaii Island, connecting our keiki to real food, healthy eating habits, and the aina itself.
Hawai‘i Island students are producing their own food in school gardens and developing a taste for healthy, fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, and more. In turn, they and their families are learning about health and nutrition, how to nurture and keep island soils healthy, and how our ma uka or “uphill” work protects our oceans. And about how we—as individuals, families, and a society—can care for the island and its communities.
Numerous studies show that school learning gardens improve academic performance in a wide spectrum of subjects, foster positive attitudes toward learning, bolster healthy behaviors and nutrition, promote cooperation and teamwork, and instill children with pride in their work and the food they grow.
At public, private, and charter schools across the island—from cool, breezy South Kohala to tropical Hilo, from sunny South Kona to verdant Hāmākua—more than 16 acres (700,000 square feet) of school learning gardens have been planted, annually yielding 15 tons (30,000 pounds) of food for these students and their school communities to enjoy. And in the process, deeper learning of mathematics, social studies, language arts, fine arts, and the natural sciences is taking place in these vibrant, engaging outdoor classrooms.