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A Farm Tour Of Mahi Pono: Cultivating Hope

A Farm Tour of Mahi Pono: Cultivating Hope

The Healthy Eating + Active Living (HEAL) Coalition is thrilled to share the highlights of their recent farm tour with Mahi Pono, organized by the Maui Nui Food Alliance. This tour was an incredible opportunity for HEAL to connect with key partners focused on enhancing food access and nutrition within the community. Local farmers, the Maui Food Bank, and Bayer were among the key partners who joined the tour.

Mahi Pono is a farming company that operates 41,000 acres of land in Central Maui. Mahi Pono’s mission is to grow food for local consumption, promote, and provide high-quality agricultural employment.

During the visit, the team explored Mahi Pono’s expansive operations, from its orchards to its new state-of-the-art processing and packing plant. Mahi Pono’s local products on rotation include limes, lemons, watermelons, and onions, to name a few. Farm managers spoke about the farm’s day-to-day operations and some of the challenges they face in agriculture, which gave a great perspective to the farm. 

Na Mea Kanu No Lāhainā: Plants for Lāhainā

One of the most heartwarming initiatives by Mahi Pono is their collaboration with Iao School on the project “Na Mea Kanu No Lāhainā,” which translates to “Plants for Lāhainā.” This project aims to bring solace and joy to the families of Lāhainā, who were affected by the devastating wildfires on August 8, 2024.

Mahi Pono and Iao School have come together to cultivate a variety of plants that hold sentimental value and provide a sense of comfort to the Lāhainā families. Students from Iao School have embraced this project, contributing their time and effort to help cultivate plants such as pua melia (plumeria), ulu (breadfruit), and various citrus plants.

Mahi Pono’s collaboration with Iao School proves the power of community partnerships in fostering resilience and hope. It highlights the importance of sustainable agriculture and its positive impact on local communities. Through this initiative, Mahi Pono and the students of Iao School are planting more than just seeds; they are planting the promise of a brighter, greener future for Lāhainā. This project serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience and strength of the Maui community.

Cultivating Hope

HEAL is grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Mahi Pono farm tour with wonderful community organizations. The farm tour not only showcased their agricultural practices at Mahi Pono, but also highlighted the profound impact that collaborative efforts can have on community.

As HEAL continues to champion healthy eating and active living, the inspiring stories from Mahi Pono and Iao School reinforce the importance of building pilina (connection) and community support. The “Na Mea Kanu No Lāhainā” project is a prime example of how local initiatives can foster hope and healing.

RoAnn Viloria, MPH

RoAnn Viloria, MPH

Maui, Molokai and Lānaʻi HEAL Coalition Coordinator
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