Families and community members celebrated and honored Hawaiʻi ʻāina and Earth Day 2022 at a free event on Saturday, April 30, at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Magoon Research Facility organized by students, with assistance from faculty and staff. An estimated 93 people, many of them keiki, enjoyed the family friendly, Earth Day themed activities including plant and nutritional education, participatory cooking, food, garden tour, garden photography exhibition, rock/garden sign painting, and Ikebana flower arranging. Families were also provided with seeds and gardening lessons to bring home.
The event was sponsored by the Home Garden Network of the UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) in partnership with the Family Education Training Center of Hawaiʻi (FETCH) and Oʻahu Master Gardener Program, and held at Hale Tuahine.
“It was great to see many families and the community come out to celebrate Earth Day with gardening, art, sustainability, healthy eating and nutrition,” said UH Mānoa student Linda Lau, a Home Garden Network student intern and event organizer along with fellow student intern Jan Lawrence. “Thank you to everyone who joined us for our Earth Day event! It was definitely, ʻFood-Nomenal!ʻ”
The Home Garden Network is a community program housed in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) founded in 2018, consisting of UH Mānoa faculty and student interns and local family volunteers. It was created to respond to relevant local and global issues on food systems, sustainability, environment and health.
Though the event is over, the donations collected that day live on. They are being used to buy earthworm kits and gardening supplies that will help Home Garden Network families and participants learn composting techniques and practices to improve the sustainability of their home gardens and inspire others to start their own home gardens.
“It was a huge success, especially seeing the smiles on the faces of the families as the children painted rock and garden signs, arranged flowers, listened to tips on healthy eating and how to read nutritional labels and enjoying the delicious meals prepared by our student volunteers and families,” said Assistant Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences Sothy Eng, founder of the Home Garden Network.
One of the most popular food items were the chicken fajitas, quesadillas and guacamole prepared by student Sheina Marie Kekoa, a member of the organizing committee. She started cooking at 3 a.m. the day of the event to make sure everything was fresh for all who attended.
This event is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF) and Building a Sustainable and Resilient Campus Environment: Within the Global Sustainability and Climate Resilience Movement (PDF), two of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.