This past Saturday, I drove to Kahana State Park to attend the Hands Turned to the Soil conference put on by Ma’o Organic Farms and Whole Foods. It was amazing and inspiring to be around all the presenters and participants alike who all shared the same passion for revolutionizing organic farming and food security in Hawaii.
The first panel had Eric Enos of Ka’ala Farms, Kukui Maunakea-Forth of MA’O Farms, William Aila Jr. of the Wai’anae Boat Harbor, and Kaiulani Odem. Their messages grounded and carried us through the day.
The main themes they spoke of focused on the importance of patience in making changes, the concept of kuleana (a Native Hawaiian word that means right, privilege, concern, responsibility), the politics of water on the island, and that for any change to happen, we have to start with ourselves and families first.
From here, I moved on to hear many great things about changes at UH during “College Campuses – Revolutionizing Food & Farming at the University of Hawai‘i by Ashley Lukens, Dept. of Political Science; Brooke Monroe, SOFT Garden; and Kalei Kawa‘a, Ka Papa Lo‘i o Kanewai”. UH now has it’s own organic garden in the back near the UH Federal Credit Union and Sustainable Saunders with veggies for sale to students and faculty and they need help too. To learn all about the varieties of taro/kalo, Ka Papa Lo‘i o Kanewai teaches and provides opportunities to work in the taro patch. Ashley teaches a course in the Poly Sci Dept about Food Security!
From there, I learned about healing foods from the Hawaiian point of view during La‘au Lapa‘au from Mary Correa, Instructor of La‘au Lapa‘au and HWST 107 at Kapi‘olani Community College. I’ll post some stuff she said in the next blog.
Finally, I learned some cool stuff about local limu (seaweed) from Uncle Henry Chang Wo and Wally Ito of the Ewa Limu Beach Project. I’m going to post about them in a separate blog as well!