Centuries ago, Native Hawaiians grew and harvested enough food to sustain a thriving, vibrant island society. Fresh, clean water was treated as a precious and cherished resource. Places held deep historical, spiritual, and agricultural significance, with knowledge shared through songs, chants, and stories. And Hawaiians treated the ‘āina—the land and natural resources that provided for them—with tremendous respect and care.
Today, Hawai‘i imports more than 85% of its food from at least 2,300 miles away. Population growth and development increase demand for fresh water and threaten Hawai‘i’s native forests and habitats. Pollution, recreation, and climate change impact the health of our ocean and marine life. Hawai‘i’s high cost of living and limited educational and employment opportunities affect the health and well-being of island residents and communities.
Despite these challenges, we as residents and admirers of Hawai‘i can work together to improve the health of our own island planet and support it as a model of and for our world. That’s why The Kohala Center created PLANET HAWAI‘I, a movement to guide Hawai‘i’s future by focusing on four simple areas: food, water, place, and people.
Areas of Focus
With a diverse range of microclimates, deep soils, and year-round growing conditions, we can grow and produce more food here in Hawai‘i. The Kohala Center, through its school garden, seed saving, farmer training, and rural business development programs, is working to increase demand for fresh, local food and support the next generation of farmers, ranchers, and food producers.
Hawai‘i’s fresh water supply and ability to grow food depend on protecting and nurturing our native forests and watersheds. The health of our ocean, fish, and other marine life relies on caring for our coral reefs and minimizing pollution. The Kohala Center’s watershed and ocean conservation programs work to ensure Hawai‘i has an abundance of clean, healthy water from mauka to makai (mountain to sea).
As a model of and for the world, Hawai‘i holds vast knowledge and wisdom that can make positive impacts around the planet. Developing and understanding a sense a place underlies all of The Kohala Center’s work, from helping farmers understand what grows best on their land, to protecting native forests and critical habitats, to inspiring schoolchildren to deepen their kinship with the ‘āina that sustains them.
The people of Hawai‘i deserve affordable local food, clean water, opportunities to advance their educations, fulfilling careers, a vibrant economy, and healthy communities. The Kohala Center’s ‘āina-based programs strive for a state of pono in Planet Hawai‘i, building a shared community in which citizens realize their potential and care for one another—and the ‘āina itself—in exchange for a meaningful and happy life.
Become a Citizen
By becoming a citizen of Planet Hawai‘i, you help The Kohala Center train and develop new farmers, ensure a local seed supply, protect our native forests, educate locals and visitors about the importance of healthy marine environments, support intellectual leadership for the success of future generations, and much more.
You can play a vital role in making our island home healthy, secure, and sustainable. Become a citizen of Planet Hawai‘i today!