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Kūpuna Collective Members Unite for Summer Social at Hoʻōla ʻĀina Pilipili Garden

A garden is a place of growth. Even more than the food that sustains us, a garden can be a place where connections to ʻāina and others, cultural humility and appreciation, independence and confidence, learning, and health can also grow.

A Garden For All

Community gardens are a treasured place of gathering for many, but they are not always accessible or created with people of all ages and abilities in mind. That is why Melody Halzel, PhD candidate at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, is set to work with advisors Dr. Summer Maunakea and Dr. Christy Nishita to revitalize a “dead space” on campus into an inclusive garden called Hoʻōla ʻĀina Pilipili

One major goal of Hoʻōla ʻĀina Pilipili is that all people, regardless of age and ability, can see themselves reflected in the healing space of the community garden. The garden features accessibility designs that are ADA-compliant: raised garden beds and vertical gardening for those with mobility assistance devices, clear visual signage, seating, restrooms, parking considerations, and even sensory components tailored to those with dementia and memory loss.

The Summer Social

The Kūpuna Collective joined at Hoʻōla ʻĀina Pilipili last month to host their Summer Social, the first in-person gathering for Oʻahu members since the pandemic. Members took a tour of the garden’s age-friendly features, learned about Native Hawaiian and medicinal plants, and even planted seeds and cuttings while enjoying each other’s company.

The event was a success, and the garden proved to be a perfect place for members to rally around the vision of the Kūpuna Collective. Rooted in maximizing the health, independence, and engagement of our kūpuna, the Collective looks forward to working with partners to create more inclusive gardens across the state. For more information or to get involved, contact

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