The Maui School Garden Network that Lehn Huff created and coordinates as a community volunteer supports project-based learning for students of all ages across the County. It also serves to promote valuable information on nutrition and growing food locally. The Network is a partnership involving over 40 public and private schools (from preschool through high school) across the County and a broad alliance of entities including the County of Maui, UH-Maui College, the Nutrition and Physical Activity Coalition, Community Work Day, and others.
Lehn Huff is one of the most respected educators on Maui; she started and headed the Middle School at Seabury Hall for 20 years until her retirement in 2008. Since then, her volunteer work has focused on mentoring young educators, global education initiatives, supporting women in developing countries starting their own businesses or schools, and food and energy sustainability issues. Huff was inspired to form the Maui School Garden Network because it involved young people in learning how to take seeds, nurture them and grow them to produce food. “This empowers our students, makes them the guardians of their own nutrition, gives them physical exercise, and provides them with a living lab for project learning that integrates their curriculum: math, science, technology, social studies, and the arts,” Huff elaborates.
“It’s also about sharing information, learning about best practices, and initiating community involvement through parent workshops and volunteering.” Maui is the first County in the State to have restaurants and farms “adopting” schools and providing resources through the Network, which has developed over the last two years. “It’s exciting – sustainability and small scale gardening yielding fresh, local produce are part of a grass roots movement that’s happening on a national scale. Michelle Obama put in a garden at the White House, which helped put these issues on the national map,” adds Huff. In March 2011, a website will be launched, at http://mauischoolgardennetwork.org/.