Slow Press – June 14, 2023

Hoʻokuaʻāina Farm Walking Tour

Join us for an informative stroll through Hoʻokuaʻāina Farm, where you’ll learn about sustainable Hawaiian farming practices.

When and where

Date and time

Saturday, August 5. 2023 · 9:30 am – 12:30 pm


916E Auloa Road
Kailua, HI 96734


$10 – $20

Part of MA’Os 200 acre farm expansion

Visit to MA’O Organic Farms

Under a bright blue sky on Saturday, May 20, 2023,  MA’O Organic Farms founders Kukui and Gary Maunakea-Forth welcomed Slow Food O’ahu (SFO) visitors to their farmland in the back of fertile Lualualei Valley. Kukui set the tone for the day by leading everyone in a chant to honor our three piko, which connect us to our ancestors, parents, and future descendants. 

Kukui Maunakea-Forth, Executive and Programs Director
Kukui Maunakea-Forth, Executive and Programs Director

Kukui and Gary explained their mission and what compelled them to establish the nonprofit Wai’anae Community Development Corporation and MA’O. MA’O is an acronym for Mala ʻ Ai ʻ Opio, or “youth food garden.” The social-entrepreneurial enterprise supports youth toward college education while training and mentoring youth leaders and farming 280 acres of organic fruits and vegetables.

Gary Maunakea-Forth, Farm Operations Director
Gary Maunakea-Forth, Farm Operations Director

In their introductory comments, both Kukui and Gary referred to attending Terra Madre in Italy under SFO sponsorship in 2006 as having a great inspirational impact, meeting others from around the world who were similarly invested in reviving the food-producing traditions of their regions. Over the years since SFO has supported more than four additional MA’O staff in attending Terra Madre. 

Derrick Ikaika Parker, Food Processing and Quality Control Manager
Derrick Ikaika Parker, Food Processing and Quality Control Manager

Former intern Derrick Ikaika Parker was one of those who attended Terra Madre. He spoke of the meaning of the MA’O program in his life and his commitment to the mission as a way to change lives and “grow hope” in youth and culture. Derrick also spoke with an appreciation for our role as “co-producers” in the process of changing how food is cultivated, processed, and accessed by consumers. Current intern Wahliya Kessell-Fay shared her intention to take all that she is learning home to Kaua’i to farm and support that island in becoming more self-sustaining. 

Chef Trevon Taylor
Chef Trevon Taylor

The group then toured the farm with Kukui, Gary, and Derrick, being treated to baby greens and radishes plucked from the fields, and learning about the valley’s history and fertility, the process of growing over a hundred tons of food annually, and MA’O plans for growing increasing numbers and varieties of produce. 

Then, at another MA’O parcel nearby in the valley, visitors were treated to a seated, wine-included, multi-course luncheon conceived and prepared by intern Trevon Taylor. Trevon spoke with delight of the opportunity to go literally from farm to table, cooking and serving hand-selected ingredients, and utilizing MA’O’s wood-fired oven.  

Symbolic of the graciousness and generosity experienced by our group throughout the day, everyone was invited to take “leftover” heads of lovely romaine lettuce when gathering up to leave. A very educational, inspirational, and tasty time it was! 

Field of Greens

Jason & Harley Chow at the grand opening of the Local General Store

Jason & Harley Chow at the grand opening of the Local General Store

The Local General Store

The Local General Store is now open for business, operating Thursday thru Monday. You will find a variety of sweets & meats available in this unique butcher/bakery operation. Jason was a Terra Madre delegate in 2018. Both Jason and Harley have invested much in their respective food careers, traveling far and wide to get experience, exposure, and training. They are now open for business,  at the former Kaimuki Superette location. Check it out soon!

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