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Course 4:

Growing Your Food

Course Segments:  

The Kuleana Curriculum guides you as an aspiring homesteader to tend your land and water in the same spirit and in the tradition of Hāloa shared in the first Course segment called Special Focus: Kalo.


Growing and sharing food with the story of Hāloa in your heart will not only help you deepen your understanding of kuleana, it will help gradually transform food systems, demonstrate to others what has real value, and show others how to share with one another as an act of great aloha instead of just a practical transaction.

The themes of this Course are presented in the spirit of the "Mahi‘ai a Ola" - a term developed and used by Kamehameha Schools and The Kohala Center -  that encompasses the deeper meaning of mahi‘ai - the idea of cultivating an ‘āina-based lifestyle, a way of thinking, and our connection to and relationship with ‘āina. In the larger food system, farmers cultivate more than food, they cultivate minds, families, and communities.

Of course, enjoying your first homegrown lettuce salad, tomatoes, green beans or mint tea can be a truly rewarding experience in itself. When you have your own vegetable garden you will know exactly what went into growing it.


Each day you can pick just the amount you need - no more and no less. As you become a more experienced grower you can begin trying different kinds of vegetables that a grocery store could not provide.  

This Course brings you through the basic steps of growing vegetables and fruit trees. It also provides useful guides for growing flowers (visual food for the eyes!) and making traditional Hawaiian lei, instruction on the Hawaiian moon calendar and la‘au lapa‘au, the traditional use of Hawaiian healing plants.

These Course resources are only a starting point. There are so many paths for you to choose from, based on your preferences, growing conditions and level of commitment.  Start with the Useful Links of this Course and go from there to customize your learning at your own pace!

Ready to start?

Go to the first segment of this Course:

"Planning a Vegetable Garden."

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Your vegetable garden is the heart of your homestead. Learn how to prioritize activities, avoid mistakes and plant for successful harvests.

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Some plants grow better when planted with others. Use companion planting to improve your growing success.

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Plant, grow and harvest according to the phases of the moon, as Hawaiian planters did long ago. Visit an interactive Moon Calendar website. 

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Trees are important high yielders for those who have limited time to grow food. Learn about the easiest trees to grow in Hawaii.

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Flowers play an important role in attracting pollinators. Learn about Hawaiian lei flowers, make lei, and explore companion planting charts.

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Use natural methods to manage pests and weeds. Save money and be a better steward to the environment.

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Cultural practitioners describe the Hawaiian tradition of la‘au lapa‘au, healing with plants. Hear about some key plants of this practice.

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