The Palili ‘O Kohala project invites the community to attend a blessing and festival from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday for the Natural Farming Learning Lab in Hawi. The program will include Hawaiian music, local food, workshops, demonstrations and dedication of the lab, including the new Natural Farming Pig and Chicken House. The cost is $15 per person, free for keiki under age 10, and includes a Kohala-grown lunch.
Afternoon workshops include: Introduction to Natural Farming with Chris Trump, from Cho Global Natural Farming Co-op; Raising pigs using Natural Farming with Mike and Liz Hubbell from Hubbell’s Hog Heaven; Taro Cultivation with Bert Kanoa and his students from Palili ‘O Kohala and Ka Hana No‘eau; Making Natural Farming inputs with Palili ‘O Kohala families and Ka Hana No‘eau students.
Hawaiian slack key guitar master Cyril Pahinui will be headlining the musical slate as well as teaching a mini-workshop in playing ukulele. Other music includes the band Lau Lima. There will be ongoing talks and demonstrations on: poi pounding; raising chickens the Natural Farming way; Natural Farming, Hawaiian Saddle Making and more with the mentors and students of Ka Hana No‘eau; ukulele making with Guy Sasaki and his students from the Ka Hana No‘eau ukulele making class, USDA- Farm Services Agency representative Lester Ueda will be sharing information about the new Farm Bill, and; learning about ‘uala (sweet potato) and the Kohala dryland field system with Ulu Mau Puanui.
The Natural Farming Learning Lab and Palili ‘O Kohala is a project of North Kohala-based nonprofit Kahua Pa‘a Mua, Inc. The Palili ‘O Kohala project is a 10-family taro growing cooperative that addresses food self-sufficiency, food security and economic development in North Kohala. The project provides training, as well as resources for the growing, processing and distribution of taro and value added products from taro, pigs, chickens and vegetables. The Natural Farming Learning Lab has been created to demonstrate the efficacy of and teach others about Natural Farming methods of growing taro, pigs, chickens and vegetables. Natural Farming is a methodology that uses “indigenous microorganisms” to increase yields, eliminate the use of chemicals and reduce needs for water in crop management and animal husbandry.
“Na Palili ‘Ohana is about natural farming and sustainability. Working the aina gives us a sense of purpose, value and belonging,” said participants Sarah and Keoni Lavea.
The North Kohala community, in its county-mandated Community Development Plan (CDP) is committed to 50 percent community food self-sufficiency by 2018. The Natural Farming Learning Lab and Palili ‘O Kohala are part of the community effort to reach that goal by cultivating traditional crops and using Natural Farming to grow chemical-free food.
The Palili ‘O Kohala project has been generously supported by County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development, County of Hawai‘i County Council, Hawai‘i FFA Foundation, Local Initiatives Fund of RSF Social Finance, Honsador Lumber, Dorrance Family Foundation, Hawai‘i Community Foundation Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund and Partners in Development Foundation. Community partners include Partners in Development Foundation Ka Hana No‘eau and North Kohala Eat Locally Grown.
Tickets are limited and advance purchase is required. Tickets can be bought online at foodhubkohala.org, in person at the EBT Booth at the Hawi Farmers Market or by phone at 224-1404. For information, visit foodhubkohala.org.