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january in hawaii  RSS feed

Posts: 95
Location: Berkeley, CA
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Hey all,

This thread is getting good! Azura, Aimee and Q make some great points that have been on my mind.

I went to Hawaii for the first time two years ago with my fiancée, she was on work and I was in search of permacukture people and projects to visit and learn from. (Nowadays, every trip I take seems to have some permaculture motive tied in). So, we went to Oahu, and I visited some farms, some permaculture projects, snorkel led and explored.

One day I made it to Waimea valley, to visit, since they have a sort of open air museumm of traditional Hawaiian living. When I got there, I met a guide who instantly intrigued me and we sat down and talked for a good hour till she told me that was plenty and I should go and explore my new found knowledge in the valley. That hour changed my life, she opened me up to the ancient systems of the Hawaiians for agriculture and living. This was the deepest permaculture I had ever come across. I spent the next two weeks, visiting permaculture places, but also looking to find that deeper connection to Hawaii, there was SO MUCH to learn, the fishponds, the taro fields, the aina (sp?). Since then I have visited Hawaii three times, always going deeper. Visiting the Ritte family, in Moloka'i, touring the Big Island. You see my fiancee is a lawyer, her main gig is suing Monsanto in Hawaii, so you can imagine a) locals love her b) she has to go to Hawaii a lot. And it has changed her too. The aloha spirit has begun to infiltrate her thinking an her being as we connect to this ancient wise culture. I find her repeating Hawaiian sayings in her legal briefs and we have been following situation at Mauna Kea closely, with Hawaiians trying to protect their sacred mountaintop land from further development (and, we permies know the ecological value of a mountaintop). Walter Ritte's speeches have been amazing, we watch them weekly, some bringing us to tears. He is the Martin Luther King of modern Hawaiian rights.

And then something else happened. The tone in Hawaii started to change. Home rule and self determination have become not just strong buzzwords, but the basis for a whole new understanding of Hawaii's relationship to the mainland. The aren't protesting US involvement, they are protecting their land, which is their sacred and legal right. (We illegally annexed Hawaii for american companies, so technically we have no right to the islands under international law (sound familiar). But they aren't just protecting Hawaii from from the U.S. government, they are also fighting vigorously against Monsanto, harder than we are on the mainland, because Hawaii is ground zero for Monsanto's experimental GMO/pesticide plantings. And this month the were fighting to stop the TPP.

So these people, whose land the U.S. govt stole, whose people we subject to the will of our companies from Dole to Oracle, these people whose plight we ignore, as we visit Waikiki and leave a mess. These people are fighting not only their own battles, but taking on the world's battles, and fighting on the very front lines to protect the rest of us from Monsanto and govt abuse.

That is the Hawaii I have come to know, and it is still only one little piece.

The connections I have made there are some of the strongest I have ever made. They have so many answers to the world's problems. There is so much more that Hawaii can give the world compared to what the world can give Hawaii, which really isn't that much. Leaving them alone to be a free people would suffice.

So I see any trip to Hawaii as a partnership with the Hawaiian people. And as I said, the tone has changed, before they would have been more focused on outside experts to bring foreign knowledge, nowadays there if a feeling surging that local knowledge is better, and that local control of of the lands and politics is better. So, I don't go to Hawaii to teach, but rather to share. To cross pollinate, build our worldwide community, learn from them and let myself really soak up Island culture in the peole, the small towns, the still moments, the conversations by the side of the road...

Purposes of this trip:
1) share knowledge, cross pollinate with Islanders and permies.
2) bring new ideas to the islands and take new ideas home, as well as some of the aloha spirit.
3) learn about ancient Hawaiian agriculture
4) have some time to slow down and relax, to engage the places and people and rest up a bit.
5) Eat Hawaiian pineapple and contemplate how to make a cooperatively owned regenerative polyculture pineapple farm that will put Dole out of business.

So, yeah, your posts were really on point.

At this stage we are trying to get an idea of what's doable, and budget, to see if this thing has wings (I think it does). And the final format is still up in the air. I want to secure funding to get Paul, Willie, Geoff, Nadia?, Jocelyn, Cassie and myself out there. We will all work hard except for Joc, who totally deserves this time off!! For putting up with all our craziness, while holding so much together at base camp! And if I know Jocelyn, she will still put in work, even if we say to just relax.

Some possibilities include:
A day of workshops and talks at a permaculture center for in depth stuff, higher price
A day of intro to permaculture for a large amount of people at a cheaper price
A lecture in a big hotel for people with high heels and suits (professors, business people, politicians, activists.) at a high price
A PDC given by a combination of mainland teachers and local teachers.
Redesign a fishpond, there is one on Lana'i that needs work, and since geoff did this last time, and it worked out so well, it is a very good option.
A three or four day event with some mainlanders and some locals presenting, kind of a convergence if you will.
There could be a tour of the islands for mainlanders that goes to Hawaiian spots and learns the history of Hawaiian ancient agriculture from locals.

I would want to see some kind of aina discount for at least one of the events to bring in lots of people, reach lots of people.

How many islands? For one week two is plenty, for two weeks three is great IMHO. Big island has lots going on, so does Oahu. I would disagree that most of the farming takes place on Oahu (I include cattle ranching and other activities), but there is plenty on both islands.

If this interests you, speak up.

If you have good Hawaiian contacts, speak up.

If you can bring out a group of people for an incredible experience, speak up.

If you have anything to add, please do!

I jump at the sun, cause I never get burned,

Seth Peterson


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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Well, I think it is too close to january to try anything now. But I very much like the idea of shooting for something in january of 2017. right now would be a great time to do the planning and get a date set.
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Mahalo nui ia 'oe e Seth! I want to thank you for your well written response about the trip to Hawaii. I would like to share that I was one of the original 31 arrests on Mauna a Wakea and am closely tied to the cause of equality. It has been the call of aboriginal peoples everywhere that we be given a voice at the table when it comes to natural resouce management and relationship to 'aina [land to which your heart is connected. That which produces you, by form of 'ai, or food, for the body, mind and spirit]. Everything in Hawai'i is about relationship. Come to Hawai'i as a spiritual being, experience what the tour guides can't show you because they don't live it, only sell it. What will change this world and inspire our collective purposes is what we in Hawai'i strive everyday to bring back and live again. When i was a boy, i would arrive home from school to a bag of fruit or vegetables on our porch. My Dad would cook it, and we would share it with the neighbors. Hawai'i has changed since that short time to a point where our communities no longer so that. We have been flooded with so many people looking for reprieve from the psycho babble of the United States, hoping to find solace here, only to learn that it's been and currently being destroyed by the same monsters that destroyed the tribes of the Americas.

I unfortunately don't have time to write my wgole thought out at this time, but i will be watching this thread, and would like to help make things happen in the right way that will heal wounds, rather then open up old ones. One tidbit here is that between 1849 and 1865, Hawai'i supplied hundreds of tons of food the to mercenaries in San Francisco, and we definately know how to produce, if given a fair turn.

Mahalo kakou,
Posts: 10
Location: Big Island of Hawaii
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Hey Paul,
If you folks are coming to the Big Island, let me know. We have a 20-acre site that is being nursed into a permaculture farm. Old sugar can land being morphed into tree-ness. Would love to have folks come by, and participate in whatever strange and wonderful activities you folks think up.
David in Hilo
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