MA‘O ORGANIC FARMS:
Rooted in their desire to grow organic food locally and support Hawai‘i’s youth, Gary Maunakea-Forth and his wife, Kukui, started MA‘O Organic Farms in 2001 (MA‘O is an acronym for Mala Ai ‘Opio, which translates to “youth garden”) as a way to reach out to at-risk youth in Wai‘anae. Since then, their youth leadership training program has helped hundreds of students obtain college educations, as well as inspired many to become farmers. Along with building and raising a community through agricultural activity, they’ve also raised awareness of the current instability of Hawai‘i’s food and economic security through an authentic farm-to-table experience.
Volunteer Tip: G.I.V.E. (Get Involved and Volunteer Environmentally) back with MA‘O’s community work days every last Saturday of the month. Plant, weed, harvest, and talk story with local residents while learning about the deep connection between the land, the food, and the people of Hawai‘i. maoorganicfarms.org
HO‘OLU ‘AINA NATURE PRESERVE:
Imagine 99 acres of beautiful, lush forest and agricultural terraces in a mountain valley. Then imagine a small community coming together to restore life to the area, planting banana trees, harvesting kalo (taro), weeding, and learning about the ahupua‘a (traditional watershed system) of the area. It’s an inspiring thought.
Volunteer Tip: Community work days take place every Wednesday and third Saturday of the month. Look forward to benefitting from the knowledge of Pacific Island traditions in agroforestry. hooluaina.com