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Revitalizing agriculture on a local scale

By Staff | May 26, 2011

Tui Anderson from the county Board of Water Supply and students lay drip line irrigation to the new fruit orchard at Lahainaluna High School.

LAHAINA — If everyone planted a garden at their home and in their community, what would happen? 

Here on Maui at Lahainaluna High School, a Community Work Day took place on Saturday, May 14.

I have coordinated many work days, and I can honestly say this was one of the best I have ever participated in right here in Maui at Lahainaluna High School, revitalizing a high school ag program. 

This was based on the participation of nearly 100 volunteers, adaptation and positivity. People want agricultural back in their lives.

Growing food is becoming valued again. This is important, considering we import nearly 90 percent of our food. I live on an island that is dependent upon the importation of food, and we are going to make a change. 

Darcel Gilbert from Kaiser Permanente stands in front of the new orchard as volunteers plant the hillsides at Lahainaluna High School.

Established in 1831, rich in tradition and culture, Lahainaluna today is not only one of a few public boarding schools in the nation, but it is also the oldest high school west of the Mississippi River.

The first newspaper west of the Rockies, Ka Lama, was printed in Hawaiian at Lahainaluna on Feb. 14, 1834.

It is also the first high school ag program on Maui to begin to renew its Agricultural Department, out of the many schools that were once entirely sustainable here in Maui.

Some, including Lahainaluna, had a dairy, piggery, slaughter house, chickens and field production that fed the school and helped feed the community. 

The principal of Lahainaluna, ACE Hardware, both agriculture coordinators from Lahainaluna, the county Department of Water Supply, LHS Boarding Department, the entire National Honor Society from Lahainaluna, teachers and community members came together to help revitalize a long-standing tradition in agricultural at Lahainaluna High School.

Student volunteers plant as Ian Cole from the Breadfruit Institute in Hana walks by to help plant breadfruit in the new orchard.

This project is called Communities Putting Prevention to Work. It is funded by a federal grant through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working with local organizations and many local partners.