• November 26, 2017

    Honor the Heritage: Nurture Sustainable Communities

    2017 Giveback Series - Part 6

    Waipā ʻĀina. Culture. Community.

    It’s all too easy in today’s world of modern agriculture and door-delivered groceries to lose the connection to the land that feeds us. The Waipa Foundation of north shore Kaua’i understands this and works hard to foster a strong sense of interdependence with the natural world, using the 1600 acre ahupua’a (traditional land division) of Waipa to bring communities back to the source.

    The foundation encourages an “eat local, live local” mentality, and is a primary grower of kalo, a native island plant of exceptional nutritional value that is central to Hawaiian heritage. The local community can get hands-on with the harvest through the foundation’s weekly poi-making sessions (poi being the end product made when the root of the plant are ground down), and have even built a community kitchen to support local farmers and food vendors. And in an effort to battle the reality that Hawai’i imports nearly all its food, the ahupua’a enables a true farm-to-table vision by providing ingredients directly to the local restaurants in the area.

    You’ll often hear Hawaiians talk about “kuleana” -- or responsibility -- when it comes to taking care of their land and ocean. The Waipa Foundation is no exception, and promotes the idea that all of us share the kuleana and ability to be more sustainable. It utilizes the ahupua’a of Waipa to share, teach, and re-learn how to live in balance with our aina.)

    We, too, believe in restoring the health of the natural environment of Hawai’i and the native ecosystems of the ahupua’a, and support the Waipa Foundation through our Ama OluKai Foundation.



  • November 26, 2017

    Q&A: Waipā Director Stacy Sproat-Beck

    2017 Giveback Series - Part 5


    Tell us a little bit about yourself and how life has lead you to become the executive director at Waipā. How long have you been with Waipā? I grew up in Kaua'i as part of a family that practiced subsistence and commercial fishing and farming. Graduating from Kamehameha Schools I moved to Southern California where I attended University Southern California's Marshall School of Business. After receiving my Bachelors of Science I returned home to work with my 'ohana and community where I helped found the Waipā Foundation. I have been at Waipa in either a board, volunteer, or staff position for 23 years now.

    How would you definie ‘āina? ʻĀina literally means, "that which feeds us" and it is also the word for "land and natural resources".

    Can you explain to our readers what Waipā is and does? Waipā is a 1,600 acre ahupua'a owned by the Kamehameha Schools and is managed by the Waipā Foundation, a 501(c)3 Nonprofit founded in 1994. It evolved from the community's first efforts in the early 1980's to save a space for the Hawaiian people, practices, and values on Kua'i's north shore. Waipā is a place where folks can connect with `āina, and share in our Hawaiian and local values and lifestyle through experiential learning opportunities and programs– including, reforestation efforts; stream restoration; working in the lo'i, garden or nursery; making poi and other foods; and other crafting/cooking classes.

    How many volunteers does Waipā currently have? Are they all located in Kaua’i? We have an average of 25 regular volunteers per week, with a total of over 100 per year, counting weekly and periodic or one time volunteers coming from all over.

    Are there clinics in the next coming months that volunteers can join? Check out our website for information on upcoming events.  The public is welcome to our "community workday" on the 4th saturday of every month.  It is this saturday, and there is more about it on the website.

    We know that Waipā is about educating people to eat local and live local, what are some of the places that resource their food directly from Waipā? Most of our produce is consumed on site by program participants and volunteers, and we sell and distribute additional produce directly to families and individuals within the community.  We also sell our produce at our Tuesday farmers market (onsite) and to a few commercial accounts including Akamai Juice Co., Fresh Bite Food Truck, the Westin Princeville...and a few others.

    How has Waipā influenced your way of life?  It has allowed me to live, raise my children, and work in my home community at an extremely rewarding job, where I can give back to my community while doing what I love (farming and mālama `āina), perpetuating our cultural values and practices while inspiring the next generation and taking care of the kūpuna.


    Thank you for taking this time to speak more on Waipā for us, Stacy!


  • November 24, 2017

    Honor the Heritage: Cultivate Cultural Abundance in Hawai’i

    2017 Giveback Series - Part 4


    Hui Aloha ‘Āina Momona

    Take an aerial tour of Hawai’i, and as your gaze travels inland from the ocean you can’t help but notice the endless verdant hills and vibrant landscape. Hui Aloha ‘Āina Momona is a non-profit organization we support through the Ama OluKai Foundation, and is committed to helping preserve this rich land and its agricultural traditions. Through a variety of educational and cultural activities, Hui Aloha ‘Āina Momona works tirelessly to ensure that the principles of sustainability and cultural perpetuation are continued and that aina (land) momona (abundance) is restored to the land.

    No conversation about the cultural and culinary heritage of Hawai’i is complete, however, without a mention of the kalo plant. Part of the very fabric of Hawaiian culture and history, kalo is seen as the plant from which Hawaiians were born and offers nutritional benefits from its root to its leaf. There used to be hundreds of different varieties of kalo grown in Hawai’i, but now that number is down to just a handful, and Hawaiians have fought hard against efforts to genetically modify what is still available and bring the plant back to the relevance it once had in their lives. The Hui Aloha ‘Āina Momona educates Hawaiians and visitors alike on the benefits of kalo as well as passing down the traditional methods of how the kalo plant is harvested and processed. From the cleaning, cooking and preparation of this incredible plant to the grinding of the root into poi, there is an entire wealth of knowledge to be passed down to the next generation.

    With organizations like the Hui Aloha Aina Momona keeping the connection between the Hawaiian people and their natural resources alive,  we are humbled to help support the preservation of abundant and sustainable land for generations to come.


    For more on the kalo plant, check out: Kalo: The Pacific "Superfood"

  • November 24, 2017

    Kalo: The Pacific “Superfood”

    2017 Giveback Series - Part 3


    You will often hear the word “superfood” thrown around, but rarely does it apply to a food source as nutritionally perfect as the kalo plant. The plant is a root with a stalk and heart-shaped leaves, and the root of the kalo are often made into poi -- a nutrient dense soft food derived from the kalo corn consumed in many forms across all of Hawai’i. Although it may be famous for its poi, there is actually no part of the kalo plant that goes to waste, as every bit of it can be eaten.

    Kalo is gluten free, has a low-glycemic index (meaning it leaves you fuller, longer), and is hypoallergenic, making it the ideal food for everyone from babies to the elderly. It provides a bacteriocin-producing bacteria that is a source of healthy probiotics, working its magic to aid digestion, reduce cholesterol, and lower the chance of heart disease, while its high concentration of potassium, manganese, and vitamin C, E, and B-6 support the immune system.

    As if all of that were not enough, even the kalo leaves have hidden delights. With significant levels of vitamin A and antioxidants such as beta carotene ( the thing carrots are famous for) they complete kalo’s nutritional punch. We challenge you to “out-super” this superfood!


    Look how much work goes into pounding Kalo plants into Poi!

  • November 23, 2017

    Honor the Heritage: Protect the Children

    2017 Giveback Series - Part 2


    Na Kama Kai “Children of the Sea”

    Few people understand the ocean the way a surfer does, so it’s only natural that Hawaiian pro-surfer Duane DeSoto founded a non-profit organization called Nā Kama Kai, or “Children of the Sea.” By bringing ocean-based safety and conservation programs to Hawai’i’s youth, Nā Kama Kai empowers children to become stewards of the ocean.

    The organization has a motto -- “Keiki Aloha Kai Aloha” --  meaning Beloved Child, Beloved Sea. More than just an ode to its youth and ocean, this motto is core to the work the non-profit does throughout Hawai’i, educating children on the cycle of life and how everything they do on land affects the ocean, while helping them understand the ocean’s hazards. What’s more, and as many of us have already experienced, learning about the ocean gives us a sense of self that stays with us for life. Nā Kama Kai understands this and gives the children in their programs the opportunity to recognize their special place in the world and their own personal relationship to the ocean. Through their statewide clinics “keiki”, or children, learn to become confident in the ocean through a personally guided experience, surfing, paddle boarding, sailing, and even helping shape traditional wooden boards. The goal is for each of them to leave with a sense of love and responsibility for the ocean, so they can go on to make life choices that will positively impact it.  OluKai, through Ama OluKai, is proud to support this incredible organization through our give-back program.

    At OluKai we are thrilled to be able to support this incredible organization through our give-back program. For more information and ways to get involved, please visit:

    Images by Jake Marote (@jake_of_all_trades)
  • November 21, 2017

    Ama OluKai Foundation

    2017 Giveback Series - Part 1


    Since delivering our first pair of sandals in 2006, giving back to the community has been an important part of the OluKai tradition. Now, more than a decade later, we are proud to support a more formal giveback program by way of a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in the state of Hawai’i. It is a story about wayfaring people with a proud heritage, a rich island culture that is centered around community and the Aloha spirit.

    Part of the proceeds of every OluKai purchase goes to the Ama OluKai Foundation honoring those who preserve and celebrate the cultural heritage and aloha spirit of Hawai‘i. By parterning with local organizations, the Foundation helps preserve land, ocean, and Hawaiian tradition.


    Check out more in Ama OluKai's video below or visit

  • November 15, 2017

    "Aloha Detroit"

    Hosted by OluKai and Temple Children


    This year at Murals in the Market in Eastern Market, Detroit we hosted a collaboration event with our friends at Temple Children. A Big Island and Detroit based organization, Temple Children focuses on creating projects that strengthen and bridge communities through art, sustainability, food and adventure.

    We hosted a vintage Hawaiian inspired rooftop BBQ at Temple Children’s Eastern Market loft with all the artists and media attending Murals in the Market. To celebrate Murals and the local community with a Hawaiian twist, we sourced the meal and beverages from Michigan family-owned and -operated farms.


    Check it out in our Recap video!
  • November 14, 2017

    Murals in the Market

    Murals in the Market, Detroit’s only international arts festival, recently took place in the city's historic area known as Eastern Market. During this third year of the festival the organization brought together over 40 international and local artists to create live art installations around the local neighborhoods.

    The main mission of the festival is to utilize the power of public art to beautify the local area, create a sense of community, work with local businesses, and attract visitors to the city's surrounding towns. We have supported this movement with festivals like POW!WOW! Hawaii, POW!WOW! Long Beach and now Murals in the Market.

    Collaborating with our friends Temple Children, we were able to bring the Aloha Spirit through our event "Aloha Detroit". Check out Aloha Detroit in our next blog!

    To learn more about murals in the market visit

    Video Recap by Emad Rashidi



  • November 14, 2017

    Kalo: Hawai‘i’s Source of Life

    Kalo, a native Hawaiian plant, has profound importance in Hawaiian culture. Seen as the plant from which Hawaiians were born, it is a staple in their diet and is consumed in its entirety, from root to leaf.


    Kalo came to Hawai‘i on the canoes of the early Polynesian voyagers nearly 1500 years ago. It is central to the Native Hawaiian creation story and is a significant part of Hawai‘i’s cultural, historical and culinary identity.

    The plant itself is a root with a stalk and heartshaped leaves. The tubers of the kalo are often made into poi – a nutrient dense soft food that is enjoyed by people of all ages – although all parts of this incredible plant are eaten.

    The kalo fields (lo‘i) are a familiar sight on the Hawaiian landscape, and the farmers who tend the land are stewards of this tradition. With lessons learned from hundreds of years of cultivation, they understand how to work harmoniously with nature, and are typically happy to share their expertise and stories about Hawai‘i’s most important plant.

    Kamuela Yim, one such farmer, explains how the land, or “‘āina” in the Hawaiian language, is more than a sheer commodity to them.“‘ "'Aina is the thing that defines you as a Hawaiian,” Kamuela explains. “Outside of being Hawaiian, ‘āina is the thing that supports you and gives you the resources that you need.”

  • October 4, 2017

    Sunset Elementary Mural

    Artist duo Wooden Wave (Matt and Roxy Ortiz) are currently starting two murals at Sunset Beach Elementary on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The mural that is closer to the mountains will take on a mauka theme while the mural closest to the ocean will be makai themed. The mauka-themed wall will depict a sustainable treehouse farm built into a mountainside. Similarly, the makai-themed mural will be of a sustainable ocean clubhouse community.

    The native flora and fauna of the mauka mural’s foreground layer are currently being painted by the students from grades 1-3. The makai mural shows a vibrant reef ecosystem complete with corals and fish that was painted by the kindergarten and grade 4-6 students. With each student in the school participating, this means that over 400 students will be involved in this legacy project for the school. This level of school - wide participation is designed to instill in students a sense of pride and ownership for the finished murals.

    As part of the curriculum for the project, there was an in-class activity where the students drew images of what their ideal treehouse would look like. Additionally, each class submitted ideas of what kind of treehouse features they would like included in the part of the mural Wooden Wave will paint. The grade levels voted, and the winning features will be incorporated into the mural habitats. This activity is another way that the students are able to contribute to the development of the paintings.

    The student portion of the makai mural is complete and Wooden Wave is currently working with classes on the plants for the mauka mural. The artists will then spend the next month painting in the detailed sustainable communities. Not only are these collaborative murals serving as a way to bring art lessons to the school, they are also being used to address themes of environmental stewardship, Hawaiian values, and a sense of place.

    Project partners are the Friends of Sunset Beach, The Johnson ‘Ohana Foundation, and OluKai footwear.

    Article by: Wooden Wave

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