Things tend to grow faster in the summer sun and here at Kapalai that fact holds true. We are only halfway through the year and we have already harvested 11,408 pounds of kalo. Spring and early summer are always busy times for us with everybody trying to get poi, kalo, and luau leaf for their graduation parties. The vast majority of our kalo goes to individual community members and families. We take pleasure in knowing that more and more people are craving kalo and want to include this nutritious staple in their everyday diet.
Our lo’i space itself is growing as well; we have begun to clear out our newest patch which will put us at a total of 22 patches in kalo production. This new lo’i is being built out largely by the boys in our mentoring program and will be named Ke Kama Pono in their honor. Ke Kama Pono is a residential program run by Partners in Development that has been participating in our Kūkuluhou Mentoring Program for three years now. An average of 14 boys per quarter visits weekly to learn and practice Hawaiian values through the growing of kalo. It is always a joy to watch these boys as they learn and grow themselves throughout their time here. I’ve seen boys who enter the program not wanting to do any work at all and as they begin to feel accepted and let their guard down, they become proactive in looking for work and asking how they can help. Some even challenge themselves to go beyond the norm and strive to do quality work. Each of them is valued and considered an important part of our ʻohana here at Hoʻokuaʻāina. They contribute much to the overall health of the loʻi. It is only fitting that they have a patch named after them.
Even our staff has grown as we have added 9 summer interns to our crew to bring our total number of interns to 15. Coming from all over the island and even from the mainland United States and attending university at various schools, these passionate individuals are all here for the same reason: to connect to ‘āina, be a part of a community, and learn about growing kalo. They are all proving to be good workers and bring great energy to the team. We love having new faces, new ideas, and fresh hands to help us with all our work and are looking forward to a great summer with them!
Written By Zack Pilien,