“I found the family I never knew I needed.”—Cheryse Kaui Sana

How can a farm help educate students, empower youth, celebrate culture, all while feeding a community delicious organic food?

On this Saturday Around the World, we are going to MA’O Farms on the Waianae coast of Oahu. MA’O Farms is the largest organic farm on the Hawaiian island, and they are hard at work on a mission for social good.

Their common sense approach for bringing education and tradition together could become a model for communities everywhere! So we’re going to take a peek at what they’re doing and why.

Only four out of ten students in Hawaii graduate college. Among native Hawaiian students, only four out of five even make it to their high school graduation, and of those who graduate, only half will go on to college. This is where MA’O Farms is making an incredible intervention.

Why not teach students to farm as their ancestors did while also giving them the opportunity to pay for college?

Seems like a nobrainer, right? Through their Youth Leadership Training programs they are helping students get their college degrees while empowering youth by celebrating ancient Hawaiian tradition and heritage. This process not only works to strengthen local communities but gives these students the opportunity to expland their knowledge by being fluent in modern and traditional ways of life.

To celebrate this incredible place and see how they’re making it happen, pop into this great video from AJ+ with more!

Via: AJ+ 1

“It’s not new… It’s knew with a silent ‘k’.”

MA’O Farms goes beyond supporting students’ education by lifting up identities at the same time. Fostering students sense of community is critical in places like Waianae where only 14% of people have a college degree.

Hopefully, as these students graduate they will come back and have a broader impact as doctors, politicians, and community leaders lifting everybody up.

20 minutes

Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Rapa Nui

Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, is well known for its Moai. While many go to see these incredible stone statues that tower over the landscape, few are introduced to the rich culture they represent. This is the story of that culture and the people working to preserve it!

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Empowering youth to be leaders in their communities is powerful and it’s an idea that can spread around the world. Yes, it’s scary to live in quickly modernizing times: Will cultures be erased? Will native voices be silenced? How will longstanding knowledge be passed down?

MA’O Farms seems to have found a way to do away with many of those fears. There is a lot we can all learn from the way they are supporting the next generation of pioneers, elders, and community leaders. These are the future thinkers who will bridge the old and the new. Along the way, taking us all to a brighter place.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

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Notes:

  1. “How Hawaii’s Farms Are Solving The Education Crisis | AJ+.” YouTube, AJ+, 25 Sept. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oju44Rdy2J0. Accessed 20 Nov. 2018.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO Ever Widening Circles

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV