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“Edible World” Workshops with the ʻAkahiao Nature Institute

Over the fall, the Japan-America Society of Hawaii co-hosted two virtual workshops themed around the “Edible World” with the ʻAkahiao Nature Institute (ANI). Back in July, JASH’s 33rd Asian-Pacific Children's Convention (APCC) Junior Ambassadors (JAs) travelled to ANI’s Huʻehuʻe Ranch in Kona for an overnight retreat to learn about the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, the project theme for this year's APCC Bridge Virtual Summer Camp. While immersed in nature, the JAs learned about Hawaiian culture and mālama ʻāina (environmental sustainability), which they would go on to share with other students in Fukuoka, Japan and from around the Asia-Pacific region during the APCC's virtual workshops. Inspired by our JAs’ memorable weekend on Hawaii Island, JASH was thrilled to collaborate on virtual workshops with ANI’s program team, including Julie Rogers, Jeff Fuchs, and Liana Macdonald-Kainoa.

Jeff introduces viewers to tree spinach in the October workshop’s garden tour

On October 9, 2021, the first workshop “Edible World: Nature that Connects Us,” Julie, Jeff, and Liana took attendees on an exclusive virtual tour of their māla food garden, introducing the wide variety of plants growing at Huʻehuʻe Ranch and their perspectives on sustainable, environmentally-conscious agriculture. Walking through the lush garden forest at the Ranch, attendees from Oahu, New Mexico, and even Tokyo learned about tamarillo tree tomatoes, māmaki, chaya tree spinach, chayote squash, and other uncommon fruits and vegetables. The workshop wrapped up with a brief question and answer session, including a discussion on tea from expert Jeff Fuchs. Click here to watch the recording of the October workshop.

Liana collects soursop leaves, which can be made into an herbal tea

The second workshop, “Edible World: Nature that Nurtures Us,” took place via Zoom on November 13, 2021. During this workshop, Jeff and Liana guided us through one of Huʻehuʻeʻs most prominent features, ʻAkahipuʻu, and shared how it has served as an outdoor classroom where students have the space and freedom in nature to ask big questions, tackle difficult conversations, and heal physically, mentally, and spiritually. Liana also took us through a tour of another part of their garden, teaching the audience about the lāʻau lapaʻau or medicinal herbs and plants that grow on the property. To end, viewers participated in a hands-on workshop to learn how to make their own ti leaf lei. Click here to watch the recording of the November workshop.

To learn more about ANI, visit their website at Their team is passionate about connecting people of all ages back to the 'āina, and they host a number of programs at Huʻehuʻe Ranch in Kona throughout the year.

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