What do you do when you haven’t had water for generations? You ask for some help.
Jerome Kekiwi Jr. has been cultivating kalo (Colocasia esculenta) in the valley of Wailua Nui, in the moku of Koʻolau for three generations. East Maui landscape has sat dormant for so long and it has created the need for surge work. It is not just a another day on the farm.
Communities have work peacefully through long wait of illegal water diversions by East Maui Irrigation and parent company HC&S. Jr. Kekiwiʻs farm, as well as numerous others throughout Maui hikina (East) have been denied access to the natural stream flow for years. This has been devastating to crops.
An amazing story, 140 years of water theft and generations deep, kalo farming in Wailua Nui can flourish as it is meant to. By the persistence of his legal organizing elders and water protectors, wai (water) is being restored to the area in which Jr.ʻs farm resides.
Jr. Kekiwi has plans to continue conducting educational farm tours and teach the importance of learning Hawaii culture and history. He looks to balance his livelihood and community give back.
Jr. Kekiwi conducts educational farm tours to groups and schools. He teaches the kalo farming cycle and the history of kalo farming. His educational plans are place based and sustainable. The ability to include traditional oli (chant) protocol makes this a unique educational model. This learning plan is the inception point for inspiring many young farmers.
As farm life demands itʻs dedicated, maintenance on the farm can sometimes be expensive for the small farmer. Promoting enriching education can also be a challenge due to the remote location of Jr. Kekiwiʻs farm. We invite you to join us in supporting this deserving Wailua Nui Maui kalo farmer through his GoFundMe campaign.
Updates of fund raising and farm progress will be shared here in the future.
Support Kalo Farm Restoration Education here.