Giant Smiles

4-H contest gets keiki excited about agriculture

  • 19 August 2020
  • Author: Mark Berthold
  • Number of views: 288
Giant Smiles

For eight years and running, Hawaiʻi County 4-H has found a special way to bring out big smiles from its smallest members: a contest of giant fruits and vegetables.

Becky Settlage, Hawaiʻi County 4-H Agent & State Coordinator for the Hawaiʻi Junior Master Gardener Program, was looking for a unique and fun way to get youth excited about agriculture. Her goal was for keiki to appreciate and love the outdoors, and learn to be self-sustainable.

“Little do these children realize that, besides having fun trying to grow a giant pumpkin, giant watermelon, giant tomato, or giant sunflower, we’re also secretly teaching them a love of science, and skills such as problem solving, responsibility, teamwork, recordkeeping, and of course, getting outside and being active in a safe way,” she says.

This year, with the current “stay at home” situation, Becky figures the contest could also provide a much-needed break from boredom – for a wider audience. So she’s opened up the contest to any interested families and schools. So far, a total of 85 families (147 youth) are participating. To date, 30 giant tomatoes have been entered; giant pumpkins, watermelons and sunflowers will be weighed through the end of October.

To request an invite to the Hawaiʻi County 4-H Giant Fruit & Vegetable Contest group Facebook page, contact Becky at settlage@hawaii.edu.

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