top of page

Course 1:

What is Kuleana Homesteading?

Course Segments:  

There are many definitions of "homesteading" depending on where and when that term is used. In The Kuleana Curriculum, "homesteading" is the act of establishing more self-reliance by growing any amount of food at home, whether it is in a small planter box, an orchard, or a backyard garden. With this definition of "homesteading" the spirit of connection and stewardship with all that surrounds us can be activated even in the smallest of spaces. 

We can all express our kuleana by nourishing and encouraging life on any place where we stand.

Since everyone lives on some patch of land somewhere, whether it is a small house lot, an apartment with some outdoor space, a 1 acre ag lot, a 5 acre farm, or even when on an informal living site, we all can grow something and bring something alive to the world. Whether we have a small raised bed to grow lettuce, a few containers with tomatoes and chili pepper plants, or a homestead with trees, chickens and bees, The Kuleana Curriculum links you to resources and organizations that can help you with all sizes and phases of your home-based activities.   

In Hawai‘i there are many stories that remind us that we are all part of nature, and that plants, animals, and islands are Hawaiian ancestors.

This is especially clear in the story of Hāloa, shared in the Course segment called Special Focus: Kalo (Taro).  In the story of Hāloa we are introduced to the Hawaiian concept of kuleana, a deeply held value that requires each of us to do what we can to understand, steward and take responsibility for all that surrounds us - our ‘ohana, the land, the water, and all of the natural world.


With this in our hearts, fulfilling one's kuleana is a privilege and honor that goes way beyond the idea of simple responsibility, self-reliance or land stewardship. It is more than the physical act of restoring land and producing food with sustainable techniques. Kuleana implies heartfelt care, common fate and the deepest practice of aloha.

When fulfilling kuleana on the land on which you stand, it helps to remember that:

He kaona ka mea pa`a o ke ao no ka mea `uhane o ka po.

(The physical is an allusion to the spiritual.)

To learn more about the meaning of kuleana go to the first segment of this Course: "Ahupua‘a Values."


Learn about the Hawaiian land division system. Understand your location within the ahupua‘a and the kuleana that comes with it.


Water is life. Stories from homesteaders and farmers as they describe the water that feeds their lands and supports all life.  

Screenshot 2020-10-14 at 9.55.32 PM.png

When we work to restore the land and feed our ‘ohana we are also bringing balance back to nature.

Screenshot 2020-10-14 at 9.12.12 PM.png

Kalo is key in Hawaiian culture. Learn more about how kalo cultivation helps restore both land and people.

Screenshot 2020-10-15 at 1.20.04 AM.png

Use your lands to teach and inspire young people. Hear from homesteaders, farmers and educators who share kuleana values with the next generation.

bottom of page