Cultivating A Future
From West Hawaii Today: article by Cameron Miculka, photo by Laura Ruminski.
KEALAKEKUA — Standing behind a low heap of earth near the boundary of North and South Kona, Michael Kramer, Usha Kilpatrick Kotner and Gretchen Ana Currie Ramirez each pushed an ’o’o into the soil and pulled it back out, officially breaking ground on the new community kitchen near Kona Pacific Public Charter School.
“This is a major step forward for us to be able to really provide this type of service to our students,” said Kramer, president of the Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School.
The $1.9 million facility is funded by two legislative capital improvement project grants-in-aid as well as grants from private foundations and state agencies as well as an internal campaign, according to the Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School. The 2,800 square-foot building will include two kitchens along with walk-in refrigerators as well as office space, dry storage, restrooms and covered lanais.
One of the kitchens will support Kona Pacific Public Charter Schools’ WHOLE Foodservice, which in addition to providing meals for students at that school also provides meals for education and service providers Punana Leo o Kona, Parents and Children Together and Family Support Hawaii. During the summer, it also serves up to 300 meals a day in its lunch program and between 85 and 90 daily lunches for the county’s Summer Fun recreation program.
Another kitchen will be rented out to farmers and others in the community to give them an opportunity to create value-added products, both increasing the supply of local products and opening new avenues of entrepreneurship for local residents.
“We thought this was an innovative approach to have two side-by-side kitchens so that we could serve both constituencies at the same time,” Kramer said.
After-School Nature Enrichment Program
The Nature Enrichment Program (which was formerly called the After Care Program) is our signature, nature-based, after-school program at Kona Pacific. The program is focused on connecting children to nature through the use of ancient techniques, such as Coyote Mentoring, the 8 Shields Path, and primitive wilderness skills (i.e., shelter building, fire making, and ethnobotany) to activate the unique gifts of the individual children. Enrollment for the Nature Enrichment Program is on a first-come basis, with students going on a waitlist once full.
Mariah Mann is the leader of the program, and she brings her eight years of experience with Kona Pacific and her lifetime of pursuing connection to nature to her role of overseeing the program. She is also the owner of Journeys in the Na‘au, where she offers deep nature connection experiences on the Big Island. She is surrounded by a wealth of experience in her teammates Steve Fredlund, Angelo Pugliese, Nick Kern, Alli Craig, Johannah Duff, and Cara Moreau, all of whom bring their own specific specialties to the program and love connecting children to nature.
8:00 am – 12:30 pm daily
First through Eighth Grade:
8:00 am – 2:45 pm (M,T,TH,F)
8:00 am – 1:30 pm (W)
The pu blows at 7:55, at which time the children line up for morning protocol. Morning supervision in the recess area begins at 7:30 a.m.
P.O. Box 115
Kealakekua, HI 96750