Generating ideas, connections, and action

Lessons in humanity, leadership, and environmental responsibility in Hawai'i.

Those of us who have been here in Honolulu at the Engaging Communities in Education/Community Learning Exchange this past week had the opportunity to visit Ma'O Organic Farm yesterday.  The farm is a youth leadership incubator in the Waianae section of Oahu. The trip was a life-enriching journey to a place where people dedicate themselves to planting and harvesting food in ways that respect the land, the farm worker, the community, and the people who eat. It is a dramatic extension of  what we experienced at Ka Papa Lo'i O Kanewai a day earlier. The Lo'i is a small taro root farm located in the School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawaiian at Manoa. The Lo'i teaches students about the history and significance of the kalo (taro) plant in Hawaiian culture and is a laboratory for teaching Hawaiian language, history, sustainable agricultural practices, and leadership to students and the community. Mahalo (thanks) to the vision and tireless work of the leadership teams at Ma'O and the Lo'i. The humanitarian and environmental work being done at those two farms is an inspiration.  I've felt and seen The Creator at work in these spaces over the past few days. In addition to being abundant with life-sustaining food, these sacred spaces have and are producing a bounty of human stories about overcoming adversity, reclaiming self, and restoring our humanity by respecting the earth and each other. My heart is full and my spirit is eager to spread this good news. We are capable of so much more than we know when we commit ourselves to nurturing rather than destroying each other and our world. The journey is hard, but the rewards of collective leadership are infinite. We can and we must persevere.