In the Waiʻanae Valley, the practice of cultivating taro had been nearly wiped out by colonialism. Watch as ʻAnakala Eric Enos, our Executive Director at Kaʻala Farm narrates the moʻolelo of working to restore the land, water and ancient loʻi in Waiʻanae Valley on the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu with our kaiāulu/community.
The Book -
The World We Need presents the kaleidoscopic visions of more than 100 people creating a brighter future. Their movements and struggles seek to protect the air, water, wildlife, and land, but many don’t call themselves “environmentalists.” They are protecting the environment and safeguarding the health and livelihood of their communities as they reimagine and remake our world for the better. Find the book and more about the people within it at theworldweneed.com.
Eric Enos -
Eric Enos is the Executive Director of Kaʻala Farm, Inc. Born on the Waiʻanae coast of Oʻahu, amongst the largest population of Native Hawaiians, Eric Enos comes from a family of builders, farmers, craft folk, caregivers and educators. His life’s work is to restore the land and water with his community.
The roots of Kaʻala Farm and its Cultural Learning Center reach back to the early 1970s, when a group of alienated youth involved with the Waiʻanae Rap Center began hiking in the uplands of Waiʻanae Valley. There, they stumbled upon rock terraces. Unversed in their culture, they didn’t recognize them as loʻi kalo (wet taro fields). But they took the time to find out what they were, and soon shifted their focus.
With machetes, picks and shovels, they threw themselves into the backbreaking effort of restoring the oasis of old. By replanting kalo and connecting with the life cycles of ʻāina(land), they hoped to give new meaning to their lives. Ultimately, their goal was to create a parallel economic and cultural system, based on the traditional values of hard work, cooperation and respect.
Over the past 20 years, Kaʻala Farm has offered a stable, enduring anchor for the community. Rather than simply lamenting problems, its founders have seized opportunities. The Children’s Education Program provides elementary school children a hands-on opportunity to experience Hawaiian culture by planting kalo, making poi, creating kapa (bark cloth) and learning from kūpuna in the ancient oral tradition. Waiʻanae High School students in the Hawaiian Studies Program work with Kaʻala staff and volunteers to map pre-contact archeological sites and revegetate coastal and valley areas with native Hawaiian plants. Reaching out to the adult community, Kaʻala offers work therapy at the Learning Center for substance abusers and guided tours to interested visitors from Oʻahu, the neighboring islands and beyond.
Today, Kaʻala Farm continues to reach out to the community and its future – the children – in order to connect them with their cultural heritage. Forever looking for new and innovative ways to foster the Hawaiian spirit in all Hawaiʻi’s inhabitants.