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E Mahi‘ai

This is The Bennett Foundation’s call to action for Farm to Early Childhood Education. In translating Hawaiian words to English, the true meaning of a word is sometimes lost. In the dictionary, mahi‘ai is a farmer. But we are all more than that. Mahi‘ai are the caretakers of the food system, they understand the relationship between growing plants and food with weather, water systems and land. Putting the E in the front creates an action, we are actively cultivating ka mea ‘ai (food system), nā kamali‘i (young children) and ke kaiāulu (the community).

E Mahi‘ai! was designed to help create a culture of wellness for teachers, preschool students, and their families. We believe preschools are an ideal setting for introducing a holistic approach to health through gardening, exposure to nutritious and culturally relevant food, and lessons in environmental sustainability through classroom activity integration and family engagement.