Key Club keeps aloha alive at Mayor’s Garden

LIHU‘E — The Kaua‘i High School Key Club is keeping the “aloha” alive at the Mayor’s Aloha Garden.

For the fourth year, students joined the mayor to celebrate another year of success at the garden at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall.

Barbara Bennett of the Kaua‘i Agricultural Initiative said the agricultural initiative and county began the garden four years ago. Bennett said without the aid of the Kaua‘i High School Key Club, the garden might not be as prosperous as it is today.

Charlene Navarro, advisor for the Key Club, said the garden has proven a learning tool and also a way to grow food to help feed the island’s hungry people.

“We usually have 10 students coming over on a weekly basis to tend the garden,” Key Club member Ryan Valenciano said. “When the garden needs more hands, more students come out to help.”

The Kaua‘i High School senior said since the start of the school year, the Key Club has harvested about 125 pounds of food that has been donated to the Salvation Army and the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank.

“What the Key Club has done is an example of the Gleaning program, which benefits gardeners, farmers and the food bank in trying to feed Kaua‘i’s hungry. What the Key Club cannot use, it brings to the food bank in Nawiliwili,” said Kelvin Moniz, director of food resources for the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank.

Moniz said Pioneer Hi-Bred recently donated about 1,400 pounds of squash to the food bank as part of the Gleaning program.

“Your efforts at the Mayor’s Aloha Garden also tie in with the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank’s efforts at trying to get more nutritious food out to the people,” Moniz said at the garden celebration.

The organic garden does not rely on pesticides.

“We usually don’t use pesticides, but this year, we had to use some (dishwashing) soap to help control the insects,” Key Club member Travis Navarro said.

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