Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Community of Sustainable Gardening

This past weekend was packed with things to do on the Big Island, including the first E Malama ‘Aina sustainability festival in downtown Hilo. Visitors swarmed the Hawaii Island Master Gardeners booth, picking up free seedlings of edibles such as tomato, eggplant, sweet basil and jicama, and buying locally grown UH seeds for dirt-cheap. A display on sheet mulch “lasagne gardening” showed how to make rich soil to enable growing a garden atop solid lava rock, and I was there with container gardening displays of a hypertufa pot, herbs and a hanging cucumber grown by master gardeners.

What got the biggest response was the simple yet effective fruit fly traps made of empty soda bottles baited with pheromone – flies fly in, and they never check out! It was great to see so much interest in easy organic gardening methods.

If you didn’t get to the festival, you can still call the HIMGA helpline at (808) 981-5199 if you would like more info on fruit fly trapping and to purchase a fruit fly trap kit.

Here’s a short video on some of the happenings at the festival, courtesy Big Island Video News.

Hui Malama Ola Na ‘Oiwi was also there with info on their excellent Mai Ka Mala’ai program, a 10-week educational program for Native Hawaiians with diabetes to encourage healthy steps toward managing the condition. The program teaches clients how to grow fresh vegetables in small, easy-to-maintain raised box gardens and containers. They also provide a health support team: nutritionist, community health educator, fitness trainer, outreach workers, pharmacist, dentist, podiatrist and other professionals.

“In the beginning of the class, everyone is shy and quiet. But then as they learn, share, and start working in their gardens, they all start to bond,” says Edna Baldado of Hui Malama Ola Na ‘Oiwi. “ By the end of the 10 weeks, everyone can’t stop talking – no one wants to leave!”

If you are Native Hawaiian and interested in participating in the Mai Ka Mala’ai program to learn to grow your own health-sustaining garden, call the Hilo main office of Hui Malama Ola Na ‘Oiwi at (808) 969-9220.

Here's another video from the festival. Guess who's talking about the Master Gardener helpline about the 2:42 mark.


Anonymous said...

Janice! Everything you're talking about is of interest to me. I'll have to print out your entire blog! Mahalo and "More." All the best, Lynne Farr (author of "Off The Grid Without A Paddle")

Janice said...

Fabulous! I got a peek at your book at Basically Books -- entertaining and I bet lots of newcomers can relate. Mahalo!

Anonymous said...

Whoa! You've got a blog!

The pics are just beautiful and they bring Hawaiian breeze into my room in chilly Sapporo.

(gotta check out your book on amazon)!


Janice said...

Hey, Aki! How are things in Northern Japan? Right about now you must be getting a light snow...barren trees wrapped in burlap.... Good to hear from you!

Marie said...

I am a Penn State Master Gardener in Lehigh County Pennsylvania. I have been trying to research Hawaii native plants because I will be in Hawaii (Oahu & Maui) from January 2 to January 12.

I was so excited to find your blog. It's great! The video was awesome. I'll be reading through it for days.


Janice said...

Aloha, Marie, thanks for your kind words. Be sure to check out the links I have here to native plant info on other websites. I teach the native plant class for master gardener trainees for East Hawaii Island -- a subject near and dear to my heart.

Enjoy your stay in the islands!