11 October 2023

Kalo and ʻAwa

Extension marks a decade+ of celebrating Waimea Valley festival

Kalo and ʻAwa

Since 2013, CTAHR has been honored to be invited to Waimea Valley Botanical Garden’s Kalo and ʻAwa Festival on the North Shore of Oʻahu. 

This year, the Dept. of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences and Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences participated once again byproudly hosting an educational booth that focused on educating participants about kalo plant parts, varieties, and groups. Josh Silva, Amjad Ahmad, Jensen Uyeda, Jonathan Deenik, Tina Lau, Alberto Ricordi, and Christine Hanakawa distributed kalo hulis, as well as sugarcane cuttings, Mamaki seeds, recipes, and vegetable seeds generously provided by Foodland Hawaiʻi. Meanwhile, Waimea Valley cooked and prepped a bounty of kalo varieties for taste testing, hosted educational talks, and conducted demonstrations on the use of kalo and ʻawa.

“Mahalo for coming over, your booth was very educational, fun for both adults and kids, and the huli given away to the community was awesome!” says Josephine Hoh of Waimea Valley Botanical Garden. “About 650 people attended this free eventon September 9. It was a wonderful gathering for all!”

Currently, Waimea Valley Botanical Garden houses about 53 varieties of Hawaiian kalo in its collection, Josephine explains. The Kalo workshop started with a need to get Waimea’s kalo collections named and verified. Starting in 2006, the late Uncle Jerry Konanui and Penny Levin helped look through the collection and discuss kalo. Other interested folks came along to listen and learn. 

The workshop grew into the Kalo and Awa Festival in 2013 under the non-profit management of Hi`ipaka LLC. This year, the festival drew many farmers, growers, educators, cultural artisans, product creators, and vendors to gather and share kalo plantlets, kalo and awa knowledge, and stories.

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