CTAHR faculty and Master Gardeners were among those involved in the Jefferson Elementary School’s Project Lemon Tree, which is establishing Meyer lemon tree plantings, an arbor, and student gardens at the site where the school campus had been vandalized in 2016. Local nonprofit Bizgenics Foundation partnered with Debbie Millikan of O‘ahu Farm-to-School Network to bring together numerous experts and sponsors, including CTAHR’s Michael Melzer and Shizu Watanabe (both from Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences) and Associate Dean for Extension Kelvin Sewake.
Other contributors included Ken Kajihara, Trung Lam and student Katrina Kuo of Kalani FFA Maker Club; City Mill; designer Rick Quinn of HHF Planners; Honolulu Zoo; and Lokoea Farms. To highlight the farm-to-table and sustainability component that Project Lemon Tree teaches, Chef James Aptakin, the owner of Layers of Flavor, prepared dishes for the event with fresh ingredients sourced from school gardens and fish grown at Jefferson Elementary.
In addition to the arbor raising and tree plantings, Jefferson Elementary students will study the Project Lemon Tree curriculum, written by Miki Tomita of Education Incubator and a consortium of supporting organizations, including the O‘ahu Master Gardeners, Oahu Farm-to-School Network, Project Wayfinder, and EdTechnocation.