Kaiao Garden and Kaiao Garden Camp



The name Kaiao means the quality of light at dawn over the ocean.  The vision of this garden that was started in February 2005 was simple and profound.  Growing food heals our body, mind, and spirit. This community garden from its inception has been devoted to collaboration, education, and community development.  As the times we live in are dictating to us the direction we are going if our focus is love and care for each other then we follow the ways of the `aina and those that have lived in this place for thousands of years.  We are devoted to the truthful and important dialogue that occurs when diverse cultures participate with each other.


We are located on Lamaina street just up from the Veteran’s Cemetery.  It is open to everyone on Saturday mornings from 9-12.  During the week different schools can come to the garden as part of a class or curriculum.  We are also open to community projects and programs having ongoing or single sesssions at the garden.  Please contact us, we look forward to working with you.


KAIAO GARDEN CAMP This is a day camp for youth from July 6-July31, 2009.  Cost is free for participants. This camp is devoted to exploring kuleana as a community experience of working with the `aina to grow food, friends, and self reflection. Register for Kaiao Garden Camp Visit our blog to read the latest news out of Kaiao. For more pictures click KaiaoPPt

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Photos from Week 1 of Kaiao Garden Camp







  1. July 6, 2009

    Day 1 of Kaiao Garden Camp

    There was 12 of us gathered on the first day of the camp. It was just perfect weather and as we chanted in there was a steady warm breeze inviting us into the garden. For some of us it was the first time that they ever did protocol, for some it was the first time they even heard protocol. We then met in a circle and introduced ourselves and although most of us know each other from working at the garden it was clear that we were entering into a new chapter of relationships with one another. We were being led into a deeper relationship with the land and each other through our commitment to participating in something that touched all of us.

    Kaiao garden has grown from just tall weeds nearly three years ago now to a creative nourishing place to grow food and transform as a person. The relationship to place deepens through spending time there because the land does speak to you and transforms your sense of identity.

    After hearing everyone’s introduction and recognizing that the camp was an opportunity to really learn what we want to learn about growing food, communication, self introspection, cooking, natural farming, art, writing, everyone entered into a new experience.

    We then learned a simple call and response chant about standing firm in the commitment to being present no matter how the wind blew. And we did it many times till we could actually chant it back.
    Pomaika`i was steady and strong in how she taught it to us. For someone who is 18 years old her maturity and sense of appropriateness with how she shares Hawaiian culture with us reverberates with deep knowing and love. We are gifted to be working with her at the garden. She is clearly a gifted teacher, and practitioner of aloha cultural arts and farmer of Kalo. This camp, dedicated to nurturing leadership within the youth and community is calling her forward.

    We then proceeded to start our work in the greenhouse and take out the raised beds, and rake off the mulch to be used on the outside pathways. It was hot and dusty inside the greenhouse but a little spray from the house cooled us down and made the dust settle. Moving the boxes out required that many hands worked together to scoop out the soil, lift the box off the pallet stand, then take the pallet stand out. We accomplished so much in such little time with so much joy.

    By this time it was nearly 11:30, Julie, Keely, and Maxine decided to prepare lunch at my house and we started to clean up our work area, arranging the boxes like dominoes, leaning against the old chicken house.

    We sat down at the lunch table and everyone started to draw or write. We had earlier written our hopes and dreams for the summer camp on a piece of paper and put it in the umeke(bowl) that we will re-visit at the end of the camp to help integrate and understand what it is that we learned by attending the camp. Now people were drawing or writing in their journals recornding their experience of this morning.

    Lunch came and it was fantastic: black beans, rice, fresh avocado, homemade salsa from the garden, potato salad…as many ingredients from the garden as possible. Ono! We said a prayer before eating and enjoyed a simple and nourishing feast. We ate on our camping blue tin plates from Hoea ea as the camp is a zero waste event. With a wash station set up for us to do our own dishes, re-usable dishware and cutlery we were really trying to be as coherent as possible with understanding that mindfullness of all of our activites has an impact on the environment.

    As we were finishing Pua Mendoca and her two sons, Kavika and Lopaka came with a loaf of freshly baked warm bread and butter. Pua, is a worm whisperer, and she brought with her a vermicomposting set up for the garden which we all dug into after lunch. Her sons will be joining us for the camp.

    We learned about worms and how to set up our box and we now will have vermicoposting at Kaiao Garden.

    We nearly finsihed up by 4:00…whew! what a first day.

    We then stayed a bit longer to de-brief, Eric, Pomaikai`i myself, Jesse and Julie. Asking each other what did we learn about today…what worked?
    Protocol, focusing on one project together, talking circle, getting our ego’s out of the way to let the garden teach us….what were we hearing, feeling, experiencing, by being part of this? My sense of this from the very beginning as the email came in my mailbox about the funding for the youth camp was that this had to be done. Something wanted to be born of our creative energies at Kaiao….we were ready to hear the voice of the garden more clearly.

    Tomorrow is a new day…Day 2. Blessings for the opportunity to grow….

    • I loved reading your account. Give me a call when you have time… Love. Mona

  2. Day 2

    We began on a rainy Tuesday morning at about ten minutes after 8. We started with protocol with Pomaika`i and then assembled down in the garden.
    Lopaka, Kavika, Kahalelehua, Keeley were all there to begin the morning. Slowly we all arrived and began the Ha mau walk around the garden to find a place that called us and sit and write for a few minutes to gather ourselves.

    Here is a poem by Lopaka about sitting in the garden. It is entitled Meditation and he did this while sitting under a trellised walkway of Pipinola’s


    When meditating, the meditator tries to reach a state of mind where there is nothing but the soothing sound of peace. This is an acquired state of mind. What if she found a place where the half melancholy half vibrant leaves rustle and are in perfect harmony with the wind, where every dewdrop tries to outshine the other, like crystals sunbathing themselves.
    There is only one word to describe the mood in the canopy of leaves I now sit in. This word is pensive. My mind here is at rest, amidst the buzzing of bees, the twitter of birds, and the rustle of the wind through the vibrant green of leaves.

    This young boy is 11 years old! When we heard his writing I think we all realized that this is a gift.
    As I know this garden is about cultivating kuleana it is also about understanding that we all have different gifts to share. This camp is about supporting everyone to bring out that treasures that are inside of them in the love and support of a
    community that is growing food together and understanding that nourishment is a wholistic way of seeing life.

    We talked around the table and shared other poems and insights from the garden and asking a partner about who they are. Pictures were shared, tears were shed, and relationships deepened in the dampness of the morning. As I listened to everyone’s stories I began to understand the intimate weaving of our lives with each other in relationship to our unfolding work both inwardly and outwardly.

    We then learned a new chant…the Kapihe prophecy chant that is chanted everyday at the
    Hawaiian Charter Schools. We did it over and over again till the sense of the chant came into our way of expressing it.
    What is above will come down, what is below will rise up, the islands will come together, our walls will be strengthened.
    However this chant is interpreted, whether it be through seeing the toppling of the present materialistic paradigm and the rising of the earth centered paradigm, grounded in indigenous epistemology, and the strengthening of the heart vision of the people of the planet it gave us a firm foundation to recognize our part in the unfolding epic events of our time which Joanna Macy calls the “great turning”. This camp was an experiment to work with all aspects of ourselves within the context of a community garden.

    At that point we took a short break and shared some fresh homemade bread, honey, bananas and some date and coconut snacks that Pua brought.

    Then into the Kalo Mala….we started by removing the rocks from the last design of the beds and had a vague idea of what the next bed design was going to be exactly. We knew we wanted it to look like a heart or a kalo leaf but did not know exactly how to do it. The rain came, the blessing came and then the clarity. We worked in the mud and rain, lomilomi’ing the `aina with our hands and bodies and a beautiful design came forward. So now when you step back it actually looks like a Kalo leaf with the veins.

    With this nearly complete a few of us started to gather for lunch preparation and the others finished by cleaning the tools. We prepared lunch together, gathering greens, herbs, chopping tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados, and mizuna
    We set up a wok on a propane burner and first cleaned the rusty off with alae salt and olive oil which the kids just loved doing and then we stir -fried some freshly picked bok choy, corn, garlic chives, and purple kale. We topped it off with some scrambled fresh eggs and then the children said pule and we ate a feast.

    At the end of the meal we cleaned our dishes and everyone who had to leave left with hugs and honi and a few of us stayed to sit and talk for awhile.

    I understand that this intensity of being together everyday for a month will bring up many things for people and in the time of the full moon and rainy day I think a lot of emotions were stirring.
    The day was beautiful and I am grateful for the opportunity to love the earth and each other.

  3. Day 3

    We began in a blustery windy rainy Hilo morning. It was only the Kaiao Garden staff perched on the edge of the garden. We listened to Pomaika`i open up the day with resonant chanting with a sense of call and response with the wind and dappled sunlight bursting through the rain ladedn clouds.

    She called in the elements and it was clear that we do not work with nature we become empty so nature works through us. Her voice lifted us into a opening for the day to begin. By the end of protocol more people had arrived and we began with the Ha Mau quiet time finding a place in the garden to sit and be quiet and also write or draw.
    It felt like the foundation had been set and now we knew how to proceed.

    After this we shared around the orange picnic table the inner weather report. How are you feeling inside….as if you could take a snapshot of your inner world. Each person spoke of their inner sense of the day and themselves. The youngest of us, Kahale Lehua and Kavika, both 8 years old offered us a sense of themselves and their essential happiness at being in the garden. Lopaka again amazed us by expressing that he felt like mist….which was the mixture of two elements and the transparency in which they exist together. I looked around the garden and felt the moistness everywhere….all the elements, the water, the earth, the fire, the air, and the space in which all this was occuring. I felt like I was being held and guided to see. Beauty is everywhere.

    We then worked on an art project suggested by Meleana Meyer where we took a 14 x 17 paper and folded it into a six paged book. The first page was to be a drawing of how we saw ourselves, the second was our favorite element, the third what we enjoy doing, the fourth our favorite tool to use in the garden, the fifth our favorite plant, and the sixth a plot in the garden as a whole. The last page was to have our thoughts and mana`o. As we are doing each week with a theme and this week is about setting the foundation with utility these sketches would help us to express ourselves in the deeper inquiry of Who are You? And what does utility mean to you?

    When Na Pua Noeau came at 10:00 we were sharing our writings and drawing with some slam poetry from Mana and another poem by Lopaka that was rich with detail and metaphor.

    Ten students and two teachers came and they entered the garden with protocol and then we met in a large circle. Pomaika`i led the circle as we introduced ourselves, where we came from, favorite fruit and/or vegetable and a random tidbit of information about ourselves. The students were from all the islands and were eager to participate, joking around and easy laughter.

    We then began to work on the mala that had been created the day before with a special way of mounding the soil for the Kalo. I think it was called kakipi and it was a special way to grow Kalo in mounds in Hilo because of the torrents of rain that fall.

    As they started to work and create huli for planting a steady pace of work began that did not waver till all the work was completed. We were into it! Pomeika`i started chanting as huli were planted using her o`o stick and everyone was moving in their own pace but really weaving together with movements,intentionality, and planting of the kalo. The intensity of this was magnified as the rain began to fall in steady sheets with gusts of wind yet the planters did not stop for a moment. At this moment the completeness of the movement felt like a presence of a great force of nature….this is how we sustain ourselves! Everyone was doing something to contribute.. chanting, planting, harvesting, and cooking.When it was complete the students stood in a circle around the mala and it was sheer beauty with a sense of energy rippling out from the kalo and the uala that was planted. We sang the oli mahalo…first Na Pua Noeau to us and then we echoed the oli back to them.

    Drenched with rain
    Mud on our feet
    Hands entwined
    Hearts singing
    The sky was now blue
    Kalo was growing

    We gathered in the greenhouse for another feast of fresh greenbeans, pippinola, onions, potatoes, egg and tomato salad, fresh bread, honey, and date and coconut balls….we sat, ate, talked, laughed, made up stories that were passed around and completed by the person sitting next to you. The story outside subsided and slowly we started to clean up and people started to leave.

    What a day…The third day…it did feel like the power of infinity had visited us. It is so inspiring to support Pomaka`i as she recognizes the depth and breadth of her kuleana. I recognize that if you do nothing else but support people in their gifts it is a life well lived. There is so much to understanding that our awakening is contingent upon our community finding their joy. I can only awaken if you do.

    It is hard to believe it is only day 3….Tomorrow Meleana comes and we get to do art in the garden!
    A hui ho.

  4. Day 4

    This day took the first week to a whole new level of perception. Meleana Meyer came from Oahu and we did the whole day of the camp as an experience with art. We started the day with protocol on the rim of the garden and then made our way down to the platform where we had envisioned 1 year ago to be the site for artwork and creativity. And today it became a reality as 12 of us began an introspective art process under the tent on a rainy Thursday in Hilo.

    We first began with introductions and then started with the exercise to draw a watering can from our memory. This was a timed exercise of 5-7 minutes. We then were shown a watering can and drew the object another time to begin to see what happens when we tune into details. After this we chose a garden tool and started to sketch it in two different ways and then to write from the viewpoint of the tool and then the environment the voice of both the tool and the context in which the tool is used.

    I chose a sickle and the voice of the earth and it was revealing to recognize the difference of perspectives that are complementary and work together. The hardness of the metal sickle and the penetrability of the earth joined by the utility of intentionality of the user draw utility into a whole different level of experience. A tool is only activated through purpose and intentionality.

    As an educator it was fascinating and powerful to experience the insights that occurred as people shifted voices from inside of an object to outside and the role of utility to bring those realms together. It was also clear that the more refined our seeing became of an object the more we were able to see ourselves in that object. Beauty is reflected everywhere.

    Na Pua Noeau came again with 12 students and they spent the rest of the morning with Eric learning composting and working together in the dynamically changing weather. This was an important event for him as an educator and he learned about how to to guide a project ….not too much direction, not too little. These insights that come from hands on direct experience nurture intelligence in a vital way that book learning can never do. As we were learning about the importance of bringing details into our artwork Eric was learning about the intricacies of learning with a group of people. A fine and delicate balance of light and shadow in a drawing helps bring out the beauty of an object and it is the same with working with people….a delicate balance and exchange of showing people what to do and then lettling go and letting the process unfold. To see how these two experiences are so related helps to understand why a program like this camp is so important.

    As I began to make lunch, the different groups were working in the garden side by side. Some people were drawing their hands, or in the garden taking pictures, others were completing the compost pile. There was a steady movement of people doing the work of Kaiao. It was beautiful! I really can appreciate the soul work of doing what you love in the presence of other people doing what they love. This is a voice of this place.

    We set out lunch and Na Pua Noeau students joined us and we said a pule and ate again a feast.
    After lunch we sat down and de-briefed the day with Meleana and shared out artwork and writings.

    A powerful end to the day in understanding the importance of what utility is about. As educators the opening up of an idea like utility through drawing, writing, expressing in words to each other made very clear the abstract notion in a hands on form. The oli that we had been learning about the aali`i tree standing tall, unmoved by the weather brought forward the sense that the greatest utility is finding what truly endures within us is the love of loving, truth, community, and the way to be useful is to activate that kind of purposefullness in our own minds.

    After the session of the day I went home and Mele and I began to understand more deeply the implications of what we are doing in terms of creating an interdisciplinary curriculum based on self reflection and practices of self reflection in relationship to the land. This is truly a love of mine. I see that any opportunity to self reflect expands the capacity to experience joy and the responsibility of our intelligence to engage with the world effectively and creatively.

    Next week we will be working with soil, seed, and soul : The awakening of interelatedness. This is the essence of the kapihe prophecy, the awakening of community from the depths of our hearts.

    I look forward to tomorrow!

    • Wow, your writing is so fluid. I’m enjoying your commentary. Love Mona

    • Hugs

  5. Day 5

    It had rained off and on all night. We needed to have a sunny day to work on the mural. If it rained we would work on a smaller wall but it was a dream to have the large garden wall with our energy expressed on it. We would see what happened.

    It has become clear that the more open the heart the recognition of interelatedness with all things becomes more and more obvious. The weather was not an “out there” phenomena, instead it was part of our own unfolding process.

    We began by working with a single color and objects of utility, elements, details, and essential lines of plants or actions in the garden. We worked on it for two hours. Our eight page booklets became filledwith strong impressions of water, fire, earth, and air. The lines of plants moved from abstract to details and our voice became more clear in the process. We saw our clarity emerge as the impressions we made became more clear as well. This is such an incredible process to bear witness to and to participate in. It is both deeply personal and collectively inspirational to do this work in a group when the enthusiasm and purposefulness is clear and grounded.

    The weather was holding and we headed down to the garden wall bordering the pool at the Boys and Girls club. This was a huge undertaking and it was already nearly 11 o’clock. The wall is probably 60 ft long and 8 ft high. We took yellows, oranges and blues and started to tape off vertical sections and started painting a kind of mosaic with all these colors, squares and rectangles of color randomly checkering the surface of this white wall. The white would be used for painting our essential images during the fourth week of the camp integrating our experience of the camp.

    By noon, with a dark grey clouded sky the wall was complete. I looked up from the lunch preparation area and saw energy….the blue and white, the sky, the air, the water, the yellow and orange….the fire, the earth, the nourishment. So much to unfold in this time together and the gift of expressing it.

    We set up lunch. Fresh bananana bread, lillikoi jam, purple sweet potato, orage sweet potato, avocado, cucumber, red quinoa, and a big bowl of eggplant, onions, greenbeans, carrots, and love.

    We stood in a circle and did a mihi for Meleana and gave her feedback of the gift they had received through her being here for two days and working with us through the medium of art. Every person one by one spoke of their transformation from the vague notion of expression to a refined clarity and confidence within their own process.

    As I looked around the circle it was hard to believe that it was only 5 days…time had been altered, the sense of space had expanded making Kaiao feel like the entire world, everyone there had pushed through into a more honest recognition of themselves through Meleana sharing her passion for art.

    As I thought about next week and the unfolding of the ideas of interelatedness, interdependence, de-pendent co-arising, non-duality, a sense of the interplay of all of our processes of awakening together I was an awe of the sense of effortless of how this was all happening. As if it was happening because it had to happen. There was no choice involved really. Choiceless awareness is freedom for me.

    I was really seeing for myself personally that this is truly what I love…Kaiao Garden was a mystery school. We were learning with the Earth as our teacher. We were learning to be teachers through understanding ourselves and the complexity of our perceptions of self and other. To refine the qualities of seeing, and expressing the sustenance of our souls was inevitable.

    We said pule…ate a feast. The end of week 1. What perfection!

  6. Hey Bodhi –

    Love the reflections. I can’t wait to see the garden when I get back. What a lovely blog of events you are sharing with all of us. Mahalo from Campbell, CA – Malia

  7. Day 6
    The theme of this week is Awakening to Interelatedness: Soil, Seed, and Sovereignty.
    We stood again on the rim of the garden, Pomaika`i chanted and then we followed her into the garden and stood in a circle. We introduced the theme of the week and then we took our notebooks and began our morning ritual of writing and pondering what we were experiencing just for ourselves.

    We went to the art deck and assembled on the Lauhala mats under a tent protected from the steady flow of rain. Naomi then presented our morning session. We were to draw a seed and begin the process of understanding that a seed is completely mysterious phenomena that we take so for granted. Just plant a seed, water it, give it soil and sun and voila! a plant doth grow…. but what is a seed really? The energy started to slowly move inside of us as we chose different seeds and started drawing them re-iterating some of the guidelines Meleana had told us about details, and low lights and highlights. The rain poured around us as we started moving in the direction of looking deepening into seeing.
    We passed around a tray of all different kinds of seeds and included things that were unusual….a doorknob? Is that a seed to opening into something new? A paintbrush, is that a seed for an artists inspiration? Chocolate chips, goji berries, ivory nut, cardammon pods, ginger root…were these kind of seeds too? The question just continued to deepen as we sat and drew and were given further homework to draw our seed that lives inside of us, to give a voice to that seed, what is the energy of it, how does it want to express itself in the world? These were motivating questions that will take us through the week as we explore the ideas of interelatedness, soil, seed, and sovereignty.
    We then began to work with Pomaika`i with the Hawaiian language and chanting. As the rain slowly pulsed in and out we were taken into the vowels, into our na`auo and found the place in ourselves that was so much deeper than our chests or our throats for giving voice to the powerful basic seeds of the Hawaiian language. We all felt energized just by these foundational sounds and the slow almost difficult inquiry into the expression of our own seed from the drawing exercise was given breath and space when we began chanting. Again going through the Kapihe prophecy and really allowing the visionary potency to come through us. All the while the rain kept pulsing in and out with gusts of wind blowing the trees and shaking raindrops on the tent cover. As a group a bonding had happened and now it was clear that the power of the chanted word was opening a place for us to meet in the frequency of shared truth, expression, and experience.

    We then took a break with some homemade irish soda bread, pineapple upside down cake and freshly made chai….
    What a way to begin the work in the garden! We then broke into two groups. One worked in the greenhouse moving the mulch to the sides to expose the ground underneath and Pomaika`i, Eric and Jesse worked on the compost pile. The sun began to emerge and the work was happening in us and through us. In the greenhouse ideas for a design emerged… two spirals joined by two triangles like a Celtic Cross with bicycle rims used as a mobile/trellis. We shall see where this design evolves to over the week. Literally where it takes us.
    We then all started preparing lunch together and made a feast with garbonzo bean curry, greenbeans, carrots, baked potatoes, bread and cake, cherries, chai and us….we were the feast and at the close of our meal after cleaning up we circled up one more time because our gratefulness needed to be expressed to the garden and to each other. One by one we spoke our truth to each other, what we had shared with the potency of the Hawaiian language, conversations that vibrated with love and care for one another, tears of gratefulness flowed easily from one person to the next. We had created a garden where truth could be shared from our na`auo and we were blessed and elevated by this responsibility and relationship to one another and to nature. While we expressed this a misty rain started to fall, a wind blew, we all saw it and felt the tremendous certainty of being held within the arms of Kaiao Garden. She was our teacher, our Kumu breathing inspiration into all of us. We honi’ied each other and hugged in one big cirle, all eyes, arms, and loving hearts.
    This was the beginning of our week! It felt like everyone had been changed by sharing the truth of ourselves in the presence of each other and the garden. What a honor to be here in this time….what a gift to be alive and to know it and share it with each other in such a meaningful way.

  8. Day 7
    (This piece is written by Lopaka O`Connor one of the youngest members of our camp. We had a visiting Kumu who taught us about working with clay. As the theme of this week is about Soil, Seed, and Sovereignty we thought it was appropriate to work with clay….what follows is an 11year old description of our day)

    it started out as any other day, with the proper protocol opening our minds like flower petals hailing sunlight. We formed a circle and a slightly wiry and frizzy woman jumply announced herself, “Hi, I’m Lisa.” After our hamau time, we reunited at our open schoolhouse. There we began to play.

    The clay first seemed stubborn as a mule, but then started to lose it reproachfulness as a cat being stroked. After a while, we became the caly, controlling the fingers that shaped it.

    When Lisa left us our first impression was entirely altered.

    We dined. The luau was exceptional as was everything else. After our stomachs were bulging, we departed to the four corners of the with wind, ready to meet again on Day 8.

  9. Day 8

    We started, waiting for a sign to enter into the invitation of the day, we stood together on the rim of the garden and held the silence and awareness of the day unfolding. The chanting opened the doors and the wind ushered us into Kaiao for the 8th day. A day of infinity and possibilities. In the opening circle we spoke about the context of freedom being a way of seeing reality. Gandhi was quoted to bring forward the idea of resting while being fully engaged in all activities like a droplet of water being held in the ocean. This was a kind of freedom that is based on the dynamic of inter-relationships with one another. As I looked around the group I could feel the cohesion and the uniqueness of every one of its members. It was clear now that we knew that we were deep into an exquisite experience at the garden. Every day was revealing so much about ourselves and how we see our connection to nature and each other that it is impossible to just see this as “summer camp”. It was so much more than that for everyone. As I looked around the circle everyone was open and receptive.

    We then spent some time with ourselves writing and walking through the garden as Lisa, our Kumu from yesterday prepared the open art deck/classroom for further work on the clay that we had started with an additional option of creating leaf rubbings with crayon and watercolor paint which we could attach to our diaries for the camp. After some very focused work and a snack of homemade bread we were ready for the `aina of a different sort.

    It was suggested we help at Laura Ellen’s hale, Pa Kukui and open up a Kalo Mala on her front lawn. As the theme of this week is focusing on inter-relatedness, awakening the seeing of our collaboration with Laura in the garden and supporting her garden at her home made perfect sense.

    A few of us went over there to work as a few of us stayed behind at Kaiao to start to prepare lunch. We were making eggplant and pumpkin curry. It took some time to chop the veggies and get the right camping burner hot enough to cook but finally we did and Keeley worked with the kids to prepare an epic meal.

    There was alot in this day. There was a heaviness and a lightness to work through. We presented Pua with three beautiful bouquets of herbs as we prepared for our pule for lunch. She had just been given the word that she would continue to steward the mala a Ka Umeke Charter School. It felt like her knowing and steadiness of purpose was being recognized and supported. What an important practice in these times to hold the frequency of truth in our hearts and not to waver, letting the world transform around our clarity.

    We ate lunch and talked at the table for quite a while to integrate the beauty of the day. So many different ways of being intimate with one another…cooking together, planting, harvesting, doing dishes, talking story. The weave of Kaiao was clearly dimensioned and visionary.

    The work at Laura Ellen’s had its own intensity. Breaking through hard ground is never easy and the work lent itself to many interpretations. Ultimately we just poured love into Pa Kukui and the result was love in action creating a mala to grow Kalo. This was exactly what was needed.

    We did a final mihi and went around the circle expressing our gratefulness for the healing and creativity of the day. History, place, culture, and people wove the perfect setting to look more deeply at our friendships and the intention that we are holding with one another as friends and with this garden camp. We did rest in each other’s mana`o on this. We chanted, we looked more carefully at the experience of shedding blood in the course of doing work and what that means to offer up your work and focus to a larger vision. A growing sense of strength is happening as our subjectivity, internality is given expression through our external work. The coherence of what we are doing at Kaiao is becoming so so clear. There is so much gratefulness with each other. Like we have always known each other and knew we would be shaped by our experience of truthfulness as we worked with the aina. The soil, the seeds, and the sense of freedom was held in our recognition of relatedness to one another in our actions and intentions. What a blessing this day has been!

  10. Day 9 – Our First Excursion…

    July 17, 2009 in Uncategorized | Leave a comment (Edit)

    …. began meeting each other at the entrance to Kaiao with morning honi, hugs and kisses for all. And then we were off on our very first field trip to help Bodhi’s friend Michael Gornik at Polestar center in Pahoa. For years, Bodhi and Michael have wanted to work together and within the last year, Michael has brought his group of enthusiastic builders to put up our art & yoga studio, raised beds for gardening as well as the outdoor kitchen at Lihikai. Finally, this was a chance for us to lend a hand to Michael.

    Our first stop was to pick up Kili from Island Naturals (and morning snacks of cinnamon rolls, muffins, carrot juice, honey sticks, lemonade and chocolate! When aunty Bodhi says, get what you want, WE DO!) We split into two cars, Pomaika`i, Bodhi, Kawika and Maka (Eric’s dog) with Dan (Kawika & Lopaka’s papa) and Kili, Kahalelehua, Naomi, Eric & I (Julie) with Kupukupu (Bodhi’s dog) in my car. Two clown cars making their way to Pahoa, our car seemed to run around in circles trying to find a pee pit-stop. We ended up taking a beautiful little detour to Lava Tree State Park to relieve our bladders. There, Kahalelehua and Kili were in awe of the beauty of the park and I knew we would be back before the day was over.

    When we finally arrive and gathered together at Polestar, Pomaika`i chanted us in and were warmly kahea’ed in by some of their `ohana. We quickly made introductions with these new friends and were off to do projects around the center. Kawika enthusiastically jumped in (literally) to work clearing the brush beside the hyasinth pond. Lots of hard labor, it was the youngest of us all who was ready and willing to dive in! Kahalelehua and Bodhi took a self-guided tour of the center before Kahalelehua was also lured to the pond by her new friend Olivia. Naomi and I followed Shannon and helped put up the hand-rail for the steps that lead to the meditation space. In our small way, it felt like Kaiao was offering a symbol of support to the dedicated lives there. Pomaika`i and Kili deepened their friendship, created a beautiful fern lei, and found a stone that will become a part of our ahu. Meanwhile, Dan swept and entertained with his unbelievable guitar music and Eric, well, I’m actually not sure what Eric was up to but I’m sure he learned a lot and had a great time doing it!

    Before lunch, we gathered at the meditation space where Pomaika`i offered the lei and chants of recognition of this `aina and the people who bless it. I was brough to tears as we joined in to sing the Oli Mahalo, expressing the gratitude felt towards Michael, his family and team at Polestar for being so welcoming in our work together.

    Lunch was fantastic! Cheezy beans & rice casserole, home-made hummus, salad, freshly roasted nuts, brownies, bread, date-balls, watermelon. Ooohh, it was so ono! And to top it off, wonderful conversation with new friends, breathtaking views of the property – the south-eastern part of the island and the sea beyond. It was a beautiful way to end our time of new and old friendships, hard work under a blue sky, self-discoveries through working with our hands.

    On our way back to town, our car once again stopped by the Lava Tree State park. While Naomi and I basked in the sun reliving our new ventures in carpetry, Eric, Kili and Kahalelehua hiked into the park. Feeling as though they had just returned from an expedition in a tropical jungle (they really did), they shared their experience of following the sounds of the hawk, of seeing old and new growth out of the lava flow and other miracles of nature, of a true adventure that is remembered for a lifetime.

    Closing this entry now, with the deepest of thanks for friendships that create beauty, that lead us into adventures we would never have anticipated, that are with us through painful as well as blissful times, that remind us that we are loved and that we love, always.

    Me ke aloha,


  11. Day 10

    The morning of our tenth day in the garden, the end of second week. The stillness as we did protocol was the sign for our entrance. We walked in chanting in the drizzling rain. Standing in a circle, holding hands I looked around the circle and everyone there was open and tired. Yesterday was still present in today!
    We went off to do our Ha Mau time and write or draw and reflect about what your experience is and then gathered under the art tent.

    We went around the circle and did the I Ching. Our hexagrams pointed clearly to the sense in the group of fatigue, opposition, resistance. It just felt like everyone wanted to eat a cookie, pass out, and go to sleep. I know this space before a change. Everything in you just wants to run to what is familiar and known. We, as a group, now had spent alot of time with one another. There has been so much grace, ease, and enthusiasm in all of our work at Kaiao. What was changing?

    What had germinated this week? The theme of soil, seed, and sovereignty: Awakening to interelatedness was a recognition of an intimacy with our selves, each other, our environment, our intentions, pre-occupations, distractions, what did we really want? What was transforming through touching so consistently in with our experience here?

    This is a real inquiry and with that all within each of us was in the Friday moment of the Unknown!
    As we did have an agenda for the morning of working with art we attempted to go in that direction. But it was as though the thickness of the moment would not move….everything had to be surrendered.

    In this surrendering as thought on cue a phone call came for Mana and he was informed that his wahine had just given birth to a 9 lb baby girl! The seed had sprouted…the seed shell had cracked open and there was an emergence of a new life. As a group we were lifted into a completely different perspective of joy and gratitude.

    From here we spoke from the perspective of this shift. There was a recognition that joy is the opening for transformation and for freedom. This is not selfish…it is essential to understand that joy is a frequency of life and inter-relatedness embedded in each other.

    The rain had stopped and with the sun we walked into the garden for a snack of cherries and red cuban banana’s and peanut butter. We then began to work pulling weeds, sweeping garden paths, making compost. Space had been given and the fire inside of us was blazing us into work.

    Something had changed. Just trusting the transformational process…knowing that there are breakthroughs in understanding both personally and collectively that had to happen this month. This death, black hole moments, before a birth of new is called forth.

    As we worked this morning my seeing was different, something had relaxed, a certain kind of anxiety about something having to happen in a certain way was released and I felt more connected to what I was doing.

    We started to prepare lunch and laid out the lauhala mats in the greenhouse and said pule.
    There was a sense of fulfillment and happiness as we stood in our circle. Gratefulness to be with people that were committed to being present with themselves and each other. The garden was clearly a place that was showing us that our kuleana is not something that you do but rather the clarity of being true to your most animating purpose.

    We ate a feast from our garden and spoke about meeting later on at my house for the review of the week in pictures and to share a meal before going over to the Planet Cafe for Slam Poetry.

    We closed with the Oli Mahalo and hugged and honi`ed knowing we would see each other in a few hours.

    As I was leaving I said to Pomaika`i…this time we do this camp for a month, then 3 months, 6 months, then a year, then 10,000 years…we get it that friendships, and supporting one another in our joy is the point….she nodded and hugged me close…this we really understand! Mahalo Kaiao!

  12. Day 11

    Monday morning…because Pomai`kai is arriving at 8:30 we start our morning protocol without her. Kawika chanted and then we did E ho mai and entered into the garden. The wind, sun, and blue sky were greeting us as we held hands for a moment and settled into the morning circle. How was everyone doing? The third week….of this adventure. A new theme to unfold within the coherence of the previous themes. This week is seasons, cycles, and sustainance. Sarah brought our attention to the ending of the Hawaiian month, the beginning of a new moon cycle. Julie asked what is sustainance? What does it mean to be able to sustain yourself, really? It was clear that the concept is so broad and general and that we were going to have the opportunity this week to really look honestly at what keep us going.

    Many thoughts on this idea as a summer camp there is so much that is contrived around a program and showing up for the daily responsibility. I can feel that the deeper inquiry into what does it actually take to thrive is a very humbling undertaking as keeping something going is hard work if it is in fact not coherent. I am hoping that these ideas and thoughts will be teased out throughout the week as we look at all the evidence in the garden of time passing and patterns of use and regeneration abound.

    We then stopped to do our Ha mau time and do some writing and gathering our own ideas. At this point Pomai`kai came to the garden after her time in Honolulu. She is now officially an auntie with a new baby girl in her family. She was happy to be home and it was time for her to integrate and rest from all the events of her weekend.

    As the weather was perfect for work and for planting we divided into two groups: one to work on the design in the greenhouse and the other group to prepare a bed for kalo using the mounding method we had learned earlier from Pomai`kai.

    We prepared the 3 mounds, switching directions of the previous bed design and called everyone over to chant and plant the huili. We planted 15 kalo huili and then uala in between the plants.

    It was beautiful to see this bed looking so rich and full with plants that we now know from experience will do really well in the garden.

    The greenhouse is now beginning to be laid out with rope as a design : 2 spirals and 2 triangles.
    The next part of the project is how to make this design really functional so we can move easily in and out of a labrynth like pattern.

    We slowly all started gravitating towards lunch, cleaning up tools, putting away wheelbarrows, washing hands and then preparing tables, dishes, and bowls of fresh sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, avocadoes while the smell of a vegetable stirfry with fennel, cumin, nigella, fenugreek came wafting through the air. Kahalelehua and Kawika were helping Julie and Kelley at the sizzling wok. It is so wonderful to have food being prepared here everyday….it is a missing element during the school year. Somehow abstracting the growing of food from the delicious experience of eating fresh food prepared on the spot.

    We gathered for pule and spoke about our experience in the garden for that day…what did we learn? It is hard sometimes to answer this and yet it is so fundamental to step back and acknowledge, observe, and reflect about what you are experiencing. We saw alot today, Eric learned that grass is the perfect composting item because if you don’t pull it out by its roots it keeps growing back and then can be cut again for more compost. I see he is really understanding how it all fits together….at first it is so mental and you just know that it does…but then you really begin to directly observe it through the work that you are doing.

    We said a pule over the food and shared the beauty of the moment and then sat down to a perfect feast. Part way through the meal, Dan came with freshly baked oat cakes and strawberry jam…with the vegetable stirfry, quinoa, tomatoes, avocados, papaya, chips, and mamaki, lemongrass tea we were simply nourished.

    After lunch Dan picked up his guitar and we sat and listened to some slack key tunes and just hung out with each other at Kaiao…till our morning session just naturally ended. We said our farewells and went off into our day…

  13. Aunt Bodhi,
    thank you so much for taking me into the garden!
    I enjoyed your writing so much, feeling refreshed and nourished after reading all of this.
    Give Kupukupu a belly rub, ok?
    Thank you, Nirakar

  14. Day 12

    Its a special day that will not come again in over a hundred years. A day where the sun is eclipsed by the moon for six whole minutes! Here in Hawaii, it happens at around 4pm, over Shanghai, it has already happened (tomorrow- July 22nd). So what does it mean when the moon eclipses the sun? …when the moon’s feminine energy covers over the sun’s masculine energy – its perfect that my i ching hexagram for today was earth (feminine) over heaven (masculine) – which is symbolized by Peace, heaven on earth. Reminds me of the `oli we chanted today, E iho ana o luna (when what is above descends) E pi`i ana o lalo (when what is below rises). When this happens, E hui ana na moku (we come together) E ku ana ka paia (what is firm stands upright and tall). Its a day when everything is magnified – both clarity and confusion.

    We broke off into several groups today, some of the guys (Eric, Jesse & Kawika) worked backbreakingly hard in the banana patches, cleaning it up and making beautiful banana plates for our lunch. They also spread the banana leaves as mulch everywhere. Bodhi, Sara and Pomaika`i cleaned up the `uala around the garden, Pomai noticed that one of the huli we had planted had sprouted a pua and worked to put in a new huli. We learned that when the pua finally is seen on huli (after a number of planting), its the final offering – time to pull it out, let it rest and allow future generations to grow.

    Keely, Lopaka, Naomi and I headed up the greenhouse garden design. We’ll keep it a secret for now (come to the garden to see what is birthed) but Celtic crosses, the three piko of the body, delicious plants and herbs and fragrant mints, thyme, oregano and bicycle wheels are all part of the plan. Everyone is putting in their mana`o into this process and the beauty of what is evolving is clearly an inspiration from what is beautiful within us all.

    Kahale meanwhile was bouncing in and out of each group, helping and playing with all of us.

    Lunch, I’ll say, was fantastic! A beautiful weaving of flavors, colors and smells… we were thrilled by the pasta & fresh herbs – basil as the main ingredient, garlic and onions, tomatos, eggplant, zucchini, carrots. The okinawan sweet potato dessert with coconut milk also delighted our palates.

    Clean up is becoming more and more an effortless ease, we know that everything has its place and all are jumping in to keep Kaiao beautiful.

    What is heightened, at least for me today, is beauty, the effortlessness of auwamo kuleana, and the transmission of love and joy in the food we prepare for our beloveds.

    me ke aloha,


  15. Day 13
    Wednesday always feels like a pivot point day. We started protocol with just Pomai`kai, Julie, Eric, and myself. Kawika and Lopaka were going to be late. Kahale Lehua was not coming and Kelley was also late. Wednesday feels like the transition of the week from the beginning to the end…and since this is a week to look at cycles and seasons it is good to note that people going through a transformational process slowdown during the middle of a week and want to sleep in.

    Protocol was beautiful and full of the drizzling rain of the morning. We walked into the garden and talked about the power of recognizing that we are on an eternal journey of truth telling to ourselves and each other. The circle of friends are close because we can be honest and open about our insights, reflections, and projections on one another. We went around the circle and there was a feeling of tremendous gratitude for the richness of our growth with one another this summer and how easy it was beginning to be to really really be ourselves at Kaiao.

    We went over to the art tent and began working with our notebooks with leaf prints and also placing further thoughts into the umeke for each other….what we would like to see for each other and ideas perhaps of what we would like to continue doing with one another.

    The rain was a steady downpour and we continued to focus our attention on what we were doing. What a gift to be in such a beautiful place, working with art, intentionality, each other, and a growing vision for the garden.

    We prepared the space for Tamara Morrison to come with a centerpiece of all the leaves we had just been drawing and bananas, lillikoi, fresh oatcakes, olive bread and butter.

    We went out into the rain to greet Tamara who showed up with a flowered umbrella. Pomaika`i welcomed here in followed by Lopaka and Kawika. Hugs and honi were exchanged as we troddled through the rain back to the deck where we would now create garden prayer flags with poetry. Tamara is a mystical poet, teacher and friend. To share this morning with us was an honor.

    She explained to us about metaphor and we dove into our love poems for Kaiao which we would write down on yellow, orange, and pink flags to fly in the garden breeze. The rain continued to fall heavily as we focused our attentions to giving voice to our experience of the garden as we each saw it. Was it female? Old? Young? Anciently wise? Fertile? Mysterious? We would see how her voice came through.

    After about a half an hour or so of writing we were ready to share our poems and write them on the prayer flags. Each poem was said out loud to one another and we commented about what we liked about each one.

    Every voice was so differently expressed but the theme was present in the sense of connection to earth in deep dialogue with ourselves and our evolving vision for the planet.

    What a dream come true to hear everyone’s mana`o on this rainy, rainy, rainy, day at Kaiao.
    We prepared lunch in the greenhouse and brought out a feast to share.

    We did a mihi with Tamara expressing to her our gratitude for coming and sharing with us her gift of teaching and poetry. She made our wisdom so easily accessible by encouraging us and recognizing our insights as precious and powerful. Everyone’s perspective was so unique and brilliant.

    Kelley’s whole family came for lunch as well as Dan, the father of Lopaka and Kawika. The richness of the day was evident and as we cleared the art space and cleaned up I was so happy!

    I look back on this day with respect for all of us as the challenge of the rain seemed to magnify our love for one another and the work we are doing at Kaiao. E O Kaiao!

  16. What an amazing journal of happenings at the garden! Thank you SO much for sharing.
    I love the way every week and day is distinct. I know I am missing much, but feel connected too. The clay is dry and tomorrow I’ll fix my propane line, load the kiln and fire it.
    See you all on Monday, ready to color! With love, Lisa

  17. Since Bodhi’s computer is down, I think I’ll do our blog for Thursday, July 23, Day 14!

    The sun was out! The sun was out! Thank goodness, because even this Hilo girl/lover of rainy days was getting waterlogged!!!

    After morning protocol, we gathered in a circle by the greenhouse to offer our gratitudes and anything else we were called to share. Lopaka amazed us all by heartfully expressing his gratefulness to the garden, and then to everyone present who, “in each of our own ways, is a backbone for kaiao.” I shouldn’t put that in quotes, Lopaka says it so much more eloquently than I did! We all followed, sharing what was in our hearts to be sung and offered to the group who we all so clearly love so much.

    Since the sun was out (hooray!!!) we got to work finishing the mural prep for aunty mele’s arrival on Monday. Kaiulu joined us in the painting and helped sponge-paint oranges and deep blues across our checkerboard wall. Uncle Gary also joined in, and shared some of what he has been learning in Thailand about Natural Farming techniques.

    Snacktime of watermelon and talk-story was followed by raking the grass to add to our mulch pile (another yahoo!!!, chiko came by and mowed the grass for us today) and lunch was prepared all together.

    Uncle Ryan came by to visit too (what a day, yeah?) and picked greens for our stir-fry and joined in on our ono-ono lunch of quinoa, stir-fry, tomatos, avocados and lilikoi.

    My highlights for today were having uncles Gary and Ryan join our `ohana, really settling in to the daily routine where our Kaiao family meet to share our hearts, our thoughts, and our dana (the generosity of what we offer to Kaiao) knowing -or not knowing- that what she offers us is multiplied thousandfold.

  18. Week 4

    Monday started beautifully with Mele and Drew’s arrival. Pomikai’i chanted us in, and we hit the ground running, ready to paint our wall!!! (I’ll try and post pictures!) We all began to collaborate our ideas about the wall design, then Naomi, Lisa, Drew and Mele did an awesome job tying it all together. Within an hour we had a charcoal outline, and we were putting a strong foundation of color on the wall.

    With radical teachers, good music, lots of watermelon, and an awesome lunch, the paint went up with grace and laughter. =]

    I gotta stop for the moment and get on a plane to see my Mom!! i’m excited too keep writing!

    big love~eric

  19. Finishing up the wall – It was amazing to go from un-experienced artist and drop in to all of the un-tapped potential that our group had to paint our 60ft wall. We worked effortlessly together painting different sections, and taking direction from Naomi, Drew and Mele. The freedom that Mele gave us, was awesome. anything that we did could be changed, and transformed, to work with the rest of the wall. I was in charge of the worms, and making them come to life. I made some brown blobs with purple outline.. but didn’t really capture the real essence of a WORM, but it was the 3 people that came in afterward and made them look “enriching” (get it??!!).. The group effort made it happen. thank you everyone for holding the vision of our garden on cement. The wall will attract an entirely different kind of perspective on education, creativity, and understanding the love that goes in to learning from a garden. THE GARDEN MADE THE MURAL POSSIBLE. We have been talking and dreaming up the mural for three years, but is was this summer camps commitment to tapping in to our teacher, kaiao, that our roots hit the rich creative layer in ourselves that birthed the mural.
    KAIAO. She is the foundation that is taking us on a journey. Though her, there is an understanding deep of kuleana. We are awakening, as educators, farmers, artists, students, community members and friends.

    our garden camp rocks. it brought tears, enabled clarity about loving ourselves and each other, and I believe we alll walked away feeling empowered about how we can join hands and awaken each other in our community.

    big love, eric

  20. As both cohorts of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo Teacher Education Program gathered together, with friends old and new, this past Friday, the 30th of October, I appreciated that our day at Kaiao Garden was not only both relaxing and most pleasant, but also that it underscored the importance of incorporating place-based education into our developing pedagogies. This garden day, it was made eminently clear that one does not have to possess a formal teaching license to truly be a teacher. Those who have the mana`o and generosity of spirit can deeply enrich those who have the heart and ears to hear and be moved to action.

    I learned more profoundly of the depth and richness of my beautiful hometown from the learned and generous Ryan. From the lovely Pomaika`i I felt how the meaning of our names can be like deep roots binding us to the aina, to our ohanas, and to our communities. The amazing Bodhi and Julie passionately spoke of how we need to inculcate into both our own hearts, and those of our students, a respect and an appreciation for the land, and for the nourishing bounty that it provides for each of us. I learned from the gloriously beautiful children who joined us that there is an indescribable joy and peace that is found when in a garden among friends. From the joyful Lisa and the gentle Naomi, I was able to see how nature and art can heal, sooth and enrich our lessons despite what content area or standard we are addressing. Terry and Darius, two of our beloved and esteemed professors at U.H. Hilo, shared of themselves in personal ways by interacting with us outside of the four-walled context in which we usually interact with them, and it was wonderful. And, I saw my diverse educational ohana prove that we all can contribute beautifully to the whole no matter what our particular gifts. In these ways we developed relationships that went beyond those previously cultivated in our academic contexts. In this one day, we merely scratched the surface of the gentle yet powerful rigor that is found when we look to nature for education. And, we could see, beyond question, the relevance of helping our children and our students connect more fully to the land that nourishes and heals them. But first, we learned how we must first make that important connection ourselves.

    There are 43 of us in the Teacher education Program this year and we are all different. Twenty eight of us hope to teach elementary and 15 of us look forward to teaching secondary students in four different content areas, and yet every one of us can instill in our students a deep and abiding love and respect for our island home and for the abundance that it provides. I can see how that doing so goes far beyond textbooks and standards, and how that now, in these trying times, it is more important than ever. Mahalo plenty.

    Me ke aloha pumehana, ~Risa

  21. Ahhh…and I cannot forget Eric, as he generously and patiently shared his aloha for Kaiao with our group of teacher candidates.
    Mahalo plenty to ALL of the Kaiao ohana!

    Malama pono, ~Risa

  22. Kaiao garden was a great experience. I heard ancient stories about Hilo and the location of Kaiao garden. I learned how to take a holistic view when it comes to my pedagogy. I enjoyed the two workshops that I look. Nourishing the Garden taught me how to easily make fertile soil. Nourishing our Express gave me a greater appreciation of the leaves around me and how I can use it to teach my kids. The lunch was very delicious. Thank you to all of those who helped prepare lunch. I would also like to thank everyone who works at Kaiao garden and made my experience a fun one.


  23. My experience at Kaiao garden was truly wonderful. Personally being at the garden, was motivating to incorporate place-base learning strategies in and out of my classroom. My favorite part of the day was opening a new Taro patch. My group at that time enjoyed working the dirt, as we talked about eating local food versus imported foods. Also the feeling of being apart and contributing to a strong and caring community was comforting. I felt that being apart of this event helped me further build my pedagogy in a new way. Thanks to the T.E.P for allowing me to have this experience.

  24. Working at Kaiao Garden was truly a wonderful experience. From the moment we started, I was inspired. I am so excited to learn more about culture and place, and to be able to experience that before I have the opportunity to present the information to my students. Just knowing that we, as a group, are doing something good, and putting our efforts toward the same goal is amazing. Being in the cohort, we all want to be teachers…we all want to succeed. Growing up, school was always a competition. It was all about who got a better grade, who’s project was more impressing. It’s so refreshing to put our sweat and hard work into a bigger goal and to be working together. Like they say, together we can move mountains!

    It’s been a long while since I’ve gotten to dig in the dirt and get my hands dirty. I almost forgot what it was like. As a kid, I loved doing those types of things and as the years went by I grew further and further from activities like those. I’m glad I was brought back to the soil and I thoroughly enjoyed prepping for some planting 🙂 I am excited for what’s in store for us on Friday!

  25. I have learned so much from working at the Kaiao Garden. I enjoyed learning new things about our home. It gave me a different perspective on life, on teaching. It inspired me to work with children through nature, and cooking. I am thankful for such wonderful people who dedicate their time and hard work to teach others. I really enjoyed coming together and taking care of our responsibilities. I really felt one with nature.

  26. My experience at Kaiao Garden was an amazing one. It was a time to just relax and take time out to focus on our gardening. I was able to help clear an area in the garden and even built a path using rocks. I don’t usually garden so this was an experience for me. Throughout this experience I learned the value of how important it is for us to know about the place we live in, which is Hilo. I believe that it is important to teach our future students about their home and how one name can have so many different meanings. By being able to work in the garden has allowed me to build stronger friendships and bonds with my fellow classmates and also have the chance to get to know the secondary cohort. The garden has taught me that teamwork and unity can bring a variety of people together as one. This has affected my pedagogy by allowing me to want to show students how working in a garden can have an effect on one person’s life in so many ways. It is an awakening experience which I believe everyone should take part in.

  27. I would like to thank everyone at Kaiao Garden for inviting us to the garden and being such welcoming hosts. I enjoyed Ryan’s session on “Place” and how important it is to understand what makes your place unique. This idea of making a connection to where you are and what you want to learn as you approach different curriculums is something I will take with me as I begin my teaching career. Students should find value in every curriculum if they first know who they are and want they want to do. Again, this begins with a sense of place.
    My day was spent nourishing the soil and nourishing our expression. Both workshops were very interesting and I enjoyed having a day where my hands could get involved. It is a great reminder that students need a break from the everyday classroom and we should look for ways to let them connect to the environment. The differences between workshops was a great example how the environment can be brought to different curriculums and I definitely see how I would use it in literature!
    It was such a nice day outdoors being with similar minds, working towards a common goal. What a treasure you have here at Kaiao Garden, tucked away right in the middle of Hilo town. Thanks again and I look forward to what our next experience at the garden will bring.

  28. Mahalo nui, for allowing us into this beauiful space. Kaiao gardens is an amazing place. Seeing different generations come together and form a wonderful place that nourishes the opu and the aina is very encouraging. From Ryans talk last week on place based learning to learning about IMO’s this week I have become very enlightened. I would love to find some way to incorporate all of this wonderful knowledge into my own teaching. I was also very happy to see how excited all the young children were to work and learn about mother earth. It is very encouraging.Thank you so much for the opportunity.

  29. As I reflect upon the second day we, the U.H.H. Teacher Candidates, have spent at Kaiao Garden, I can clearly see how the richness and depth of the metaphor, the kaona, of a garden connects most fittingly and profoundly to that of our students and our classrooms. In my mind’s eye, our children- our students – represent the diverse and verdant beauty found in a Hawaiian garden. Though different, all are symbiotically needed for both purpose and balance. None is more important than the next. All are valued for their priceless contributions. Some children, like the kalo, mai`a, niu, `ulu or `uala will provide life-giving sustenance. Others such as the noni, kukui, ko`oko`olau, uhaloa, popolo, or olena have a purpose to soothe and to heal. The lauhala, `aka`akai, olona, ti, and ipu, among many others, provided the structure and support needed to create and strengthen the necessary foundations of life, as well as for crafting the artful implements that make our lives pleasant and our work light. And, like these precious plants, our students have not just one skill or purpose, but many talents and strengths. And like all tender young shoots, they need to be nurtured and tended most lovingly, for they are vitally important. And the reason is profound. Our children are our future. They are who we will rely upon to take over where we have, however successfully, left off. They will be our future leaders, caregivers, innovators, artists, teachers, peacemakers, farmers, craftsmen, thinkers, our stewards of tomorrow, and so much more.

    When some hear that I want to teach secondary students, I often hear grumbling about this -new generation,- and how many adolescents think that, “it’s all about them.” To these comments, I simply reply that I feel that in this belief these young ones are correct. It is all about them. And that is as it should be, for they are our tomorrow. And teaching these young ones is an investment in our future. And, frankly, in these uncertain times, investing in our youth, and by extension in our communities, is pretty much the only sure investment. Conversely, failing to invest in them is both foolhardy and dangerous.

    Our role as future teachers is also an important one, but just as in Kaiao Garden where a younger one may teach an older one, so too do our students teach us. Though we are of different generations we need one another desperately. If nurtured and tended with care, these ones will blossom, and bear fruit most splendidly. And we who teach them will be filled with joy, and a deep and abiding pride at their growth to lush, strong, and vital young people. So, in my short time at Kaiao, I have come to see that two of the greatest and most satisfying joys we have in life include the providing of wholesome, nourishing food for those whom we care for, and to generously give of ourselves and our resources so that others may have enough to thrive and grow. These gifts can be realized in such a place as Kaiao Garden. And it is my greatest hope that these same things may also be realized in my relationships with my students in my own classroom. Mahalo plenty Kaiao Ohana!

    Me ke aloha pumehana, ~Risa

  30. the site looks pretty good. The Hoeaea: Return to Freedom link dosen’t seem to work though.

    Hi Eric, Dr Meyer, Julie, Bodhi!!!

    And Maka and the other dog too!!!


  31. Aloha!
    I am moving to Hilo in January and I wanted to know if you could pass on this email to anyone you may know who would be interested in a work trade agreement.

    Please feel free to circulate this email as necessary. Mahalo.
    I am excited to be going back to school in January and I would like to be closer to UH Hilo. I will be studying Natural Science and Agriculture in hopes to be a teacher. Ideally I would like to garden and landscape a few days each week in exchange for housing within biking distance to the UH.
    I am a hard working young man, and I have been studying art, organic gardening, wood working, and bee keeping my entire life. I have references available upon request. I do not smoke/ drink or play loud music. I enjoy reading and physical activities.
    In the past I have worked as a landscape gardener while finishing grade school. I worked for a remodeling company renovating historical districts when I finished high school. I was a maintenance man for a small private college in 2009. And the past year I have been involved in many unique projects which include a bamboo tree house and bamboo foot bridge, innovations in organic compost tea fertilizer manufacture, and installation of orchards and vegetable gardens.
    Please contact me if you have any information regarding work exchanges in the UH Hilo area. Mahalo-
    Yuri Zhuraw 808 430 8446 Aloha Imua

  32. Aloha EVERYONE! Please Check out


    This is an up-to-date page about Kaiao Community Garden!


  33. The info at this site is surprisingly beneficial. I have discovered a large number of pointers.

  34. Dear the gardeners of Kaiao Community Garden,

    I am a ph.d student from Tokyo, Japan studying commuting urban agriculture. I am staying in Hilo this weekend, and I’ve heard about your beautiful garden space which I would love to visit! I am wondering if it is possible for us to have a quick look at the garden on this Sunday afternoon (2/24), and it will be great if we get to learn little bit about what you are growing in Hilo, and what kind of activities you are offering. Looks like the garden is only open on Saturday morning, but please let me know your availability!

    Best wishes,

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