Midweek - July 20, 2011
By Riana Lum
Healthy Hawaii Coalition (HHC)‘s organic gardening class last month at Kalaeloa’s American Renaissance Academy successfully relayed the message to students that growing a garden can be healthy, easy and fun.
“Introduction to Permaculture,” taught by Hunter Heaivilin, concentrated on building and planning a garden while also emphasizing the benefits of having a composting system.
Heaivilin has a degree in tropical forest ecosystem and agroforestry management. Not only has he worked on projects in Hawaii, but he also has had experience in Haiti and Peru. Currently he teaches at The Green House in Honolulu and is the lead designer of Pono Permaculture.
In the class, Heaivilin explained permaculture techniques and then provided the 20 participants with a true hands-on experience. Heaivilin took his students outside to the academy’s garden and had them build a compost pile and practice sheet mulching and planting.
Sen. Mike Gabbard is HHC president, and his daughter Tulsi is vice president. Both are huge supporters of personal gardens and believe that there are many benefits to going and growing organic.
“We live in a perfect place for growing crops. Anyone can grow a little something that they enjoy eating, whether it’s salad, herbs or tomatoes,” said Sen. Gabbard. “We can be healthier by producing some of our diets in our own backyards or in containers grown without chemicals, without having to be transported from another country and without having to overpay for it at the store.”