This past Friday, March 14th, Sustainable Molokai welcomed the FoodCorps Hawaii state team to Molokai. The team consists of eight service members, there are five from Hawaii Island: Jane Lee serving at Kohala Elementary, Julia Nemoto at Mala’ai Garden, Jessica Sobocinski at Honaunau Elementary, Kalu Oyama at Na’alehu Elementary and Leina’ala Kealoha at Kua O Ka La Public Charter Schools. Tasia Yamamura is serving at Ma’o farms on Oahu and here on Molokai Lacey Phifer and Simon Mendes are our service members. The state fellow is Amelia Pedini, and our host site leader from the Kohala Center is Nancy Redfeather.
Friday at 6p.m. the entire team had arrived, and we gathered together for a welcoming pizza party, with our newly christened, mobile pizza oven. Not even realizing until now that we had this party on March 14th – 3/14 – the annual PI day, it was a fitting and incredibly tasty coincidence. Joining us at dinner were local farmers and vegan chef extraordinaire Artie and John Wordin, as well as Kent Wheely and Judith Kern, trustees of the Ceres Trust. The pizza came out so tasty – crispy, fresh and hot, loaded with local vegetables – for one night we were all in Italy. We can’t wait to continue to share our pizza oven with the community, at our future community events.

The next day the FoodCorps team gathered at the High School permaculture site for a workday led by Fred Richardson. After touring around the site we split into two stations, one group took down an old fence and transplanted some wind break trees, while the other group cleared a path through the ‘uala ground cover.

On Sunday, the FoodCorps team visited and got a tour of Pu’u O Hoku ranch. We were shown the vegetable gardens and awa production, and everyone got to drink fresh awa. After the ranch we were treated to a hands on la’au lapa’au with Malia Akutagawa—we are now all confident in our Hawaiian medicinal plant identification abilities!

On Monday, we visited Halawa valley. We learned Anakala Pilipo Solatorio’s story and a little history of his early childhood. We then worked together as team to build a solid dam base for the waterway feeding the loi terraces, alleviating future overflow. The day and conference concluded with a terrific lecture from Glenn Teves, and a delicious, local meal prepared by the Phifer ohana.

It was a great privilege and enjoyment for Sustainable Molokai to host the statewide FoodCorps Hawaii team and we hope this becomes an annual event here on Molokai. Applications for the next year of FoodCorps are open until March 30. Feel free to contact Simon and Lacey for any further information. ([email protected] [email protected])

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