Students Embark on Farm Field Trips to Learn About the Food System
November 19, 2018
By: Stephanie Loui
Last Month, ‘ĀINA schools visited farms, loʻi and loko iʻa around Oʻahu to celebrate the local abundance of agriculture and fisheries that make up the local food system. 31 grade levels from 14 schools visited farm field trips sites from the Waiʻanae Coast, to Waimānalo, to Kahuku, learning about food production, sustainable growing practices, and animal husbandry.
This year, the ‘ĀINA In Schools Field Trip Grant program helped students to access our new partner farms like Sweet Land Dairy Farm. Sweet Land Farm is located on the central plain of Oʻahu just outside of Wahiawā. The farm is situated on 86 acres of ag land, with newly built barns to house over 200 goats as well as a creamery. Run by second-generation farming siblings Emma and Austin Bello with help from their parents, Sweet Land Farm produces both fresh herb chevre cheeses and an aged Tomme. Emma, a culinary graduate of Honolulu Community College, was inspired after apprenticing at Surfing Goat Dairy on Maui to return home and farm on Oʻahu. Visiting students from Solomon Elementary fed the goats fresh, farm-grown alfalfa, learned about the cheese making process, and got hands-on experience in high quality animal-husbandry. Thank you Sweet Land!
In Waiāhole, students experienced another of ‘ĀINA In School’s newest farm partners, Waiāhole Nursery and Garden Center. Doubling as a training and vocational program for developmentally disabled young adults, the nursery runs a full-time aquaponics business, nursery, and cafe. Students from Sunset Beach Elementary School, Blanche Pope, Kainalu, Keolu, Laie and Waiʻalae Public Charter School received a full-day experience at Waiāhole Nursery complete with an aquaponics system lesson, laʻau lesson, business writing lesson, and planting lesson. All in all, students were fascinated by the different aspects of running an agriculture business and (of course) very excited to feed the tilapia.
Students also had the chance to visit one of our oldest farm friends, Kahuku Farms. Headed by fourth-generation farmer Kylie Matsuda and her husband Judah, Kahuku Farms runs a consistently awesome field-trip complete with a farm tour, “banana tunnel” tractor ride and local fruit tasting. One of the earliest large-scale Oʻahu farms to adopt the Farm Tour concept, Kahuku Farms shows people from all walks of life what it takes to grow their food and all of the hard-work that goes into making quality, local produce. Specializing in payapa, local greens, and a few speciality crops like cacao and acai, Kahuku Farms continues to find innovative ways to stay ahead of the game, bringing the community with it.
For educators interested in getting students to Farm Field Trip sites, Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation Field Trip Grants are available through March 1st, 2019. Click here for a full list of our Partner Farms.
Interested in Planning a Farm Field Trip? Take a peek at our Farm Field Trip Resource Guide for Educators.