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Project to revitalize LHS Agriculture Department

By Staff | Mar 17, 2011

“We are creating a grassroots movement that could reach a substantial amount of the Maui population,” said Matt Lane.

LAHAINA — Volunteers are encouraged to meet at Lahainaluna High School next weekend to help revitalize the historic school’s Agricultural Department.

“Lahainaluna has a long-standing tradition of being leaders in agriculture. We encourage family, friends, alumni and the community to help support this program in any way possible,” noted Matt Lane of Community Work Day Program, who is organizing the project on March 25 and 26 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On Friday, March 25, able-bodied volunteers with agricultural experience are sought to help clear land. On Saturday, volunteers will be assigned to multiple work stations that involve land clearing, possibly planting and building a taro loi.

“We need help finding volunteers to help renew Lahainaluna’s Ag Department over spring break. Anyone who is an experienced arborist, a farmer, or can take care of general lawn maintenance is requested to help,” Lane explained.

Volunteers are asked to bring work gloves, tools and a water bottle. Tropic Water will provide water, and snacks will also be offered.

Next weekend’s project is part of an effort by Lane and Community Work Day (CWD) to rally communities, educate students and boost Maui’s food resources and production.

“We want the people of Maui to learn about a movement in Maui this year that will involve over 140 organizations to help build 18 school and community gardens. Imagine having a hand in creating more farmers, gardens and food sustainability in Maui. Changing that 90 percent importation rate into production,” he said.

Lane commented that LHS once “produced a ton of food” through gardens, a dairy and slaughterhouse.

Lahainaluna represents the third effort in CWD’s involvement in the Centers for Disease Control initiative called “Communities Putting Prevention to Work.”

This initiative involves a grassroots effort to build 18 school/community gardens in Maui County in partnership with the CDC, state Department of Health, county Department of Water Supply, University of Hawaii Maui College, Maui School Garden Network, Maui Economic Opportunity, Bioponic Phytoceuticals and Ace Hardware, with the support of many other local businesses, restaurants and non-profits.

Through the combined efforts of schools, community groups and government agencies, residents will learn about the important topic of food security while strengthening the sustainability of our islands, Lane said,

By volunteering to build these gardens, participants will receive the added health benefits of increased physical activity and access to locally grown produce.

The new community gardens will receive project support from CWD and its partners in the form of cooperative planning, supplies, materials, educational models, volunteer coordination and resources donated by local business partners.

“Community volunteers and organizations are encouraged to commit as an ongoing volunteer at the Lahainaluna Agricultural Department or at other work days taking place over the next year,” Lane said.

Hawaiian Dredging, Chamberlain Excavation and Compost, Cilantro Restaurant, Lulu’s Lahaina and Tropic Water are supporting next weekend’s project.

Restaurants, businesses and community organizations interested in volunteering time or materials for the garden projects are welcome to sign up at Lahaina Ace Hardware or contact CWD at 877-2524 or Lahainaluna High School at 662-4006. To reach Lane, call 357-0920 or e-mail m_lane@hotmail.com.