2017 Giveback Series - Part 5
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how life has lead you to become the executive director at Waipā. How long have you been with Waipā? I grew up in Kaua'i as part of a family that practiced subsistence and commercial fishing and farming. Graduating from Kamehameha Schools I moved to Southern California where I attended University Southern California's Marshall School of Business. After receiving my Bachelors of Science I returned home to work with my 'ohana and community where I helped found the Waipā Foundation. I have been at Waipa in either a board, volunteer, or staff position for 23 years now.
How would you definie ‘āina? ʻĀina literally means, "that which feeds us" and it is also the word for "land and natural resources".
Can you explain to our readers what Waipā is and does? Waipā is a 1,600 acre ahupua'a owned by the Kamehameha Schools and is managed by the Waipā Foundation, a 501(c)3 Nonprofit founded in 1994. It evolved from the community's first efforts in the early 1980's to save a space for the Hawaiian people, practices, and values on Kua'i's north shore. Waipā is a place where folks can connect with `āina, and share in our Hawaiian and local values and lifestyle through experiential learning opportunities and programs– including, reforestation efforts; stream restoration; working in the lo'i, garden or nursery; making poi and other foods; and other crafting/cooking classes.
How many volunteers does Waipā currently have? Are they all located in Kaua’i? We have an average of 25 regular volunteers per week, with a total of over 100 per year, counting weekly and periodic or one time volunteers coming from all over.
Are there clinics in the next coming months that volunteers can join? Check out our website for information on upcoming events. The public is welcome to our "community workday" on the 4th saturday of every month. It is this saturday, and there is more about it on the website.
We know that Waipā is about educating people to eat local and live local, what are some of the places that resource their food directly from Waipā? Most of our produce is consumed on site by program participants and volunteers, and we sell and distribute additional produce directly to families and individuals within the community. We also sell our produce at our Tuesday farmers market (onsite) and to a few commercial accounts including Akamai Juice Co., Fresh Bite Food Truck, the Westin Princeville...and a few others.
How has Waipā influenced your way of life? It has allowed me to live, raise my children, and work in my home community at an extremely rewarding job, where I can give back to my community while doing what I love (farming and mālama `āina), perpetuating our cultural values and practices while inspiring the next generation and taking care of the kūpuna.
Thank you for taking this time to speak more on Waipā for us, Stacy!