Mighty Seed Learning Center
The Place: Our fourteen acre farm overlooks beautiful Moloa’a bay on Kauai’s north shore. We have mango orchards, fruit orchards, a three-acre natural forest, open fields for play, student gardens of native plants, strawberries, coffee and pineapples and a hardwood tree forest. All this combines to form our outdoor learning center called the Mighty Seed Learning Center. Our first outdoor classroom sits on the bluff and is aptly called the Coastal Observation Classroom. Our second classroom located in the student gardens is the Garden Classroom. Both classrooms have seating and provide shelter from the elements.
Our first native gardens were planted in 2012 by students attending field trips. They are now mature gardens and we are propagating our own plants from the original plantings. In 2015, we created the food section of the student gardens by adding strawberries, blueberries, coffee and pineapples. Like the mango crop, fruits from these gardens are sold at local farmers markets and the proceeds go towards our environmental education programs. Our goal is to make better stewards of the land through educational programs. We lead by example with our sustainable farming methods and our continued protection and careful cultivation of our own resources. We are teaching about habitat protection, erosion control, organic farming, invasive species removal and propagation of native plants and fruit trees.
We offer three program types to serve our community youth: school classes and field trips, youth group programs, and a girl’s empowerment program. Our goal is to instill a desire to respect and protect the environment and all living things, this includes a respect for each other through cooperative behaviors.
Our school programs are designed to assist teachers with meeting their benchmark requirements. Our lessons are adapted to meet specific DOE science standards required for each grade. We work closely with the teachers to customize the lesson plans to their teaching schedule and assist them in improving test scores. In 2018, the science standards are changing to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The goal of these new standards is to teach a “more engaging and enjoyable approach to learning science.” This is exactly the philosophy Retro Farms has adhered to for the last five years. As such, our science education program is already in accordance with the NGSS. Our “Pollinators in Paradise” and our “Friends of the Forest” programs incorporate engaging and exciting lesson plans that are proven to be enjoyable and educational. By conducting pre and post program surveys, we are able to identify the impact of our lessons. When the students come to the farm for field trips, the science lessons are brought to life as they observe the plants being pollinated and the different layers of the forest; they see food chains in action, and the lessons are forever sealed in their young minds. Teacher surveys indicate our science programs have helped them reach their objectives and are considered an important element of their curriculum.
Our youth group programs are important because we provide a venue and agenda for organizations to fulfill their own requirements.We adapt to the organizations we serve. For instance, we provide Big Brothers/Big Sisters with a venue and custom activities to help Big/Little matches bond with each other. We offer the Girl Scouts a place to achieve different environmental badges and have customized a program specific to their needs. We designed a program unique to Boys &Girls club needs. We share our vast resources in a variety of ways that adapt to the desires of the groups we serve. Our flexibility sets us apart from other Kauai venues with more rigid agendas.
Our girl’s empowerment program, the Pink Pineapple Project, hosted over 130 females for an activity-filled day at the farm last fall. The Zonta club partnered with us to provide volunteers to run this large program. The surveys showed a 99% approval rate and caused us to make this an annual event. Our volunteers are paramount to the success of our programs and we could never achieve our mission without them.
Children need nature for the healthy development of their senses, and, therefore, for learning and creativity. We are meeting this need with our unique programs. We provide a place to unplug and connect with the natural world.