Ka Malu Ulu O Lele seeks to restore the historical breadbasket of Lahaina
LAHAINA — The beauty and value of the aloha spirit is manifested in many ways in Hawaii, and nowhere is this more evident than in the “giving back” philosophy of its people.
The highly revered Hawaiian tenants of malama, kupono and kokua all combine to form the altruism that fuels and builds the culture of the islands.
Here in Lahaina, the effort continues in many ways. Two weeks ago, it was manifested in two ongoing programs in the historic community.
On a bright, sunny Saturday morning, dozens of volunteers combined their efforts to propagate the success of two notable endeavors here on the West Side.
The Kuia Agricultural Education Center is a sustainable farming project on 12 acres south of Lahainaluna Road and just above the Lahaina Bypass highway.
It is sponsored by Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii Farmers Union and the County of Maui, and it’s managed by Kaipo Kekona, Rachel Kapu and Jade Chihara.
Ka Malu Ulu O Lele is a program to restore the historical breadbasket of Lahaina that existed in the history of the leeward community.
Soil restoration and preparation, moisture retention and nurturing sustainable crops are the primary goals of the project.
To this end, KAEC recruited some 40 volunteers from a spectrum of the community — including school administrators and teachers, business executives, first responders, engineers, visitor industry workers and even keiki — to combine their efforts for the project.
This day’s focus was to nurture the soil for water retention and weed control by covering the ground with bales and bales of recycled cardboard and truck loads of chocolate and coffee mulch from nearby farms.
The concerted effort organized by the KAEC leaders and carried through by the volunteers lasted over three hours and culminated in a much-deserved local luncheon.
“We really appreciated the people coming out to help in the hot sun. It is extremely important to the health of the soil, and we look forward to more opportunities to build relationships with the community,” said Chihara.
Earlier in the day, the continuing effort by the Lahainaluna High School Foundation and the Friends of Lahainaluna High School Football — two of the community’s volunteer organizations — was underway to service and maintain Sue D. Cooley Stadium, the state-of-the-art athletic facility at the historic campus.
Considered one of the top high school stadiums in Hawaii and across the nation, Sue D. Cooley Stadium is the independently financed facility that is managed and maintained by a volunteer staff led by LHSF President Jeff Rogers and the FLHSF membership.
The maintenance efforts are scheduled on the third Saturday of every month. Volunteers from the two organizations and the community-at-large arrive at 7a.m. to clean the stadium, maintain the landscaping and perform the general cleanup of the facility.
Again, it is contributors from school administrators to former Luna student-athletes that make up the workforce for the successful effort.
“Once again, we thank all of the volunteers who help with the stadium cleanup. We simply could not accomplish this without your help. Mahalo!” concluded Rogers.