The Hawaii Bamboo Society held their annual festival at the Papa'ikou Hongwanji, giving the public an educational look at the many uses of bamboo. This sustainable, eco-friendly plant can be grown not just for ornamental purposes, but also timber, screen, fencing, flooring, textiles, musical instruments, food…and the list goes on. HBS members are ardent in extolling the virtues of bamboo -- some seem to even express a devotion that’s akin to a spiritual awakening.
HBS president Lennart Lundstrom says as transportation costs rise, local bamboo plantations could provide alternative building materials for affordable housing and furniture, if approved by the county. Currently the only permitted bamboo housing construction are prefab homes that are made in Vietnam and shipped to Hawai'i. HBS hopes to encourage the public to learn more about bamboo and stimulate interest in it as a renewable local resource.
Of course, the festival was an opportunity for enthusiasts to add to their collections, with many non-invasive, clumping bamboo varieties on sale from Gaia Yoga Nursery.
Hawai'i Bamboo Society meets on Hawaii Island every 3rd Sunday of the month.