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It Takes a Garden to Grow a Community program

Mala 'ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School presented the 3rd class in the "It Takes a Garden to Grow a Community" program on Saturday April 18. Forty people joined Garden Teacher Amanda Rieux on the Hamakua Small Farms Tour. Five Waimea Middle School students participated. The group visited Maluhia Farm in Kalopa - home of Hawaiian Home Grown Wool Company.

Jan Dean talked about all aspects of raising sheep, shearing, cleaning, spinning, dyeing and marketing her wool. The Dean's also raise chickens for eggs and occasionally have processed lamb when the herd needs to be thinned for pasture management.

Ben Discoe hosted the group at the Ahualoa Egg Farm with a tour of the homestead. There is a large organic garden, and a small flock of chickens, as well as the beginning of a tea plantation. Ben offered door prizes of robust Yacon plants for any who wanted to try growing the South American tuber at home. The farm provides about 30% of the food for four people.

The series of classes is fully subscribed, with two more hands-on garden classes scheduled for this spring. These community classes are funded through a grant from the Richard Smart Foundation and the West Hawaii Fund.

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