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Hoʻi ia Hāloa

Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke

Hana, Maui

Grades 6-8 and 9-12

Summer 2022

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The 2022 Loʻi Summer Program experience benefitted my daughter because it provided her with an opportunity to be more disciplined, responsible and organized. She gained more experience and understanding of the different facets of the loʻi kalo. She learned about good leadership ( including the challenges) and when to be a team player. She was able to create new friendships and solidify current ones.


The 2022 Hoʻi iā Hāloa Papa Kauwela in Maui Hikina engaged Native Hawaiian youth from East Maui in an intensive seven week mahi ʻai Kalo educational program. Student participants were provided with paid apprenticeships to learn about the path of the kalo farmer and the various activities that a farmer will complete on their way to operating a successful business that aims to restore ancestral landscapes and provide food for the community.

Students harvested more than 600 ʻohana kalo during the project, yielding 1,131 lbs of kalo for the community. Of that amount, 999 pounds of kalo were provided to Native Hawaiian kūpuna through weekly distributions at the Hāna Farmerʻs market. Roughly half of the kalo provided to kūpuna was cooked and provided as kalo paʻa, and the other half was hand-pounded to make paʻiʻai.

Student participants learned food safety practices for cooking, cleaning, and pounding aspects of making paʻiʻai, and all students demonstrated proper food handling skills by the end of the project period. In addition to the kalo pounded for kūpuna, the students pounded 20-30 lbs of kalo each week for their student lunches at the loʻi site. In this way, they demonstrated their ability to feed our kūpuna and provide ʻai for themselves.

In the loʻi operations, students learned about loʻi restoration, ʻauwai maintenance, and loʻi maintenance. In the loʻi restoration phase, students helped to restore one loʻi at a new project site that belonged to one of our student participants. They learned about the various steps from clearing the loʻi, preparing the soil, repairing the banks, and planting the loʻi.

During the program, students assisted in ʻauwai maintenance, which helped them to understand the water features that feed the loʻi system. During the program, students helped to care for 1.9 miles of ʻauwai; activities included weedeating ʻauwai banks and cutting invasive trees and hau bush. Students removed 75 invasive trees during the program and helped to ensure adequate stream flow to all loʻi sites.

Each week student participants helped to maintain a total of 29 loʻi Kalo. Students demonstrated skill in understanding our lunar-centric approach to agricultural planning and operation. After harvesting each loʻi, students worked to prepare loʻi for planting on the following Hoku moon, using the anahulu of Hoʻonui to kimokimo and kay (Till and level) loʻi in preparation for the coming full-moon cycle. 

During the anahulu of Poepoe, students fertilized previously planted loʻi and planted new loʻi, while carefully selecting huli to be moved systematically, to ensure that no huli are replanted back in the same loʻi. During the program, students planted 1,000 huli. This planting strategy created an invisible current, which pulled huli into the next loʻi to ensure the best health for the plants.

During the anahulu of Hoʻemi, students worked to harvest kalo and complete all major maintenance projects, including ʻauwai and kahawai maintenance.

Finally, students were able to help assist four local loʻi kalo farmers at their farms. In this way, we provided multiple opportunities for youth to engage with local farmers to learn about the various perspectives on how to mālama iā Hāloa. 100% of student participants reported learning something new in the project and gaining a greater appreciation for kalo farming and loʻi restoration.

As shared before, students efforts yielded 1,131 lbs of organic kalo which fed 136 Native Hawaiian Kūpuna, studentʻs ʻohana and themselves for lunch every day. This outcome of growing, sharing, and consuming kalo helped to demonstrate the most significant lesson we tried to share this summer: The most important type of food is not the food that goes from “Farm-to-Table” but the food that is cared for by yourself and your community and travels from ʻāina-to-naʻau. Our youth efforts helped to manifest this lesson daily for the duration of our program.

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