Mālaʻai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School is a non-profit learning garden that began on Hawaiʻi Island in February 2005 to address the need for health and wellness education in their community. Their mission is to cultivate the relationship between students and the land through growing and sharing nourishing food in their outdoor living classroom. Their work reaches beyond the boundaries of their garden connecting land stewardship, culture, health and pleasure with lifelong learning.
Mālaʻai is now a flourishing one-acre organic garden that is integrated with Waimea Middle School. Over 2000 Waimea Middle School students have worked to help grow their garden since they began. All 270 students currently at the school work and learn in their māla. Students come to the garden with their Science, PE and Health, Life skills, and ‘Ike Hawaiʻi classes on an ongoing rotation during their 3 years at the school. With their students, they grow 4,000 pounds of food per year on average. Most of this food goes straight to their students in the form of healthy snacks and produce that students and school staff take home to share with their families.