VEGGIE U HAWAII
While visiting the Chef's Garden in Huron, Ohio, Chef Alan Wong discovered an engaging, hands-on agricultural program for elementary students. He soon learned that the program, Veggie U, is an "earth to table" science program that introduces children to sustainable agricultural practices by providing a seed-to-planting-to-harvest experience. It was then that he decided he wanted to bring this great program to the children of Hawaii. Through a partnership between the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation and the Hawaii Department of Education, Veggie U is now available to Hawaii’s fourth-grade public school teachers.
The following is a summary of the Veggie U program in Hawaii:
Veggie U is a 5 unit, 25-lesson, hands-on curriculum from the state of Ohio that provides students with a seed-planting-growing-harvesting experience through rigorous lessons that encompass science, health, math, reading, writing, and social studies.
- Each classroom has a "Veggie U Kit" to assist with teaching and implementation. Each kit comes with: an indoor grow light, planters, root viewers, planting tools and materials, and a teacher curriculum with reproducible student worksheets and handouts.
- HAF aligned the following academic standards to the Veggie U curriculum: Hawaii Content and Performance Standards, General Learner Outcomes, Common Core Language Arts and Math, and the Next Generation Science Standards.
- HAF provides an additional teacher's guide to be used in conjunction with Veggie U and its curriculum to facilitate classroom implementation for the teachers.
IN THE FIELDS
The goal of the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation’s (HAF) In the Field’s Partnership Program is to introduce high school students to the agricultural industry and the diversity of careers available in agriculture. The program aims to ensure that we foster and maintain a strong workforce needed to grow and sustain Hawai‘i’s agricultural industry.
There are currently a number of agricultural-related programs being implemented in the schools to promote agricultural literacy and the farm to school movement such as Aina in the Schools, Grow Hawaii, Future Farmers of America, 4-H, and the Oahu Farm to School Network. However, while these agricultural awareness and food-related curriculum are available there is a missing link between the business of agriculture (real hands-on work in the field) and what’s being taught in the classroom. According to the Agricultural Career Technical Education Resource Teacher, Alison Inouye, there is a need to ensure that students understand what “it’s really like to work in agricultural related field.” Having students cultivate a school garden is very different from the day-to-day life of working on the farm and in the fields.
With the support of the Department of Education’s Career Technical Education office, HAF is creating two initiatives for high school students to experience first hand the world of work “in the field.” Beginning in 2014, students in public high schools will have the opportunity to visit agricultural-related business during the school year. Through this initiative, students will be exposed to workplace mentors who they will “shadow” for the day. The program will also allow businesses to interact with educators to ensure that what students are learning aligns with the skills needed by industry.
HAF is currently working with businesses to develop an agricultural internship program for high school students. Many organizations see the importance of having an established internship program, but do not have the capacity to get the program started. The internship program can be a significant way to attract new talent and gain valuable assistance from interns while they gain real-life work experience that could help them find a job and jump-start their careers.
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