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An inaugural community garden event to celebrate Thanksgiving called “Plantsgiving Thanksgiving” was co-organized by the Family Education Centers of Hawaii, Inc. (FETCH) and the Home Garden Network (HGN) program housed in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Several UH Mānoa students and alumni who are passionate about plants and gardens helped out with the event that served about 40 parents and their keiki. The event took place at a UH facility, Hale Tuahine, in Mānoa Valley.

children potting plants

“This Plantsgiving Thanksgiving event was created to bring families in the neighborhood together to enjoy gardening activities as well as to show our gratitude to nature and the hard work our food producers have done for us on the island and elsewhere,” said Sothy Eng, assistant professor of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) and HGN founder. “I would like to express my gratitude for the continued support provided by our current and former UH Mānoa students and former interns who see the value of this community program as a way to share the joy of gardening and growing our own food which together will help tackle food insecurity in our islands.”

Activities included plant/seed potting, ikebana flower arrangement, garden tour, community contribution of recycled plastic and bottle containers (used for the microgreen potting and also the flower arrangement), microgreen kits that families could take home, pot and garden sign painting.

garden plants and tools

Norman Tansey, FETCH Program Manager, noted, “We were even able to reuse recycled plastic containers as microgreen kits to send home with attendees.”

“To be part of this event as a current master’s student and the previous intern of the Home Garden Network was wonderful,” said Emma Castro, a current graduate student in the UH Mānoa College of Education and a former intern at HGN. “I felt honored to have been just a small portion and part of the program, and to know that my ideas and creations are still being shared and passed on to others, makes the community a greater community.”

The event provided an opportunity for the UH community and local communities to gather and enjoy the neighborhood that they live in and know what programs are available to their families.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to participate and volunteer as an alumnus of UH Mānoa and Home Garden Network,” said Linda Lau, a recent graduate of the HDFS program and former intern at HGN. “Even though I am no longer a student of UH Mānoa, it is important that I can still be active in helping in community events like Plantsgiving. I am grateful to still be a part of Home Garden Network and to continue contributing to helping out this program to share the importance of creating home gardens with others.”

Collaborators for the event included: HGN, FETCH and the CTAHR Master Gardener program.

people holding flowers smiling

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