Hoa ‘Āina aka The Farm means a lot of things to a lot of people from all different walks of life, but one thing remains the same. No one can deny the positive energy they feel as soon as they step foot on the soil. In this portion of the website, we are going to keep a log of reflections from guests and friends of all ages as they express what Hoa ‘Āina means to them. Often times when something is difficult to put into words, it makes the best story.

Reflections from University of Hawaiʻi Students of Education and Social Work September 2015:

“This farm has been very inspirational as to how I can implement working on the farm or on the land in ties to ethics, values, and education…Not only are the students able to become self-aware, but they are able to enjoy each others company while working on projects.” – Deashia

“The stories and thoughts we shared today has made me realize the importance of creating a safe, open place that shares knowledge with the new generation. The virtue-based approach, which is reflected in the values on the tree.” – Cheyanne

“Something that really struck me about this place is how much everyone loves it. The children are taught from a young age to love and watch over the land. I really hope that whichever school I am placed into has something like this where the older students can remember what they learned in primary school about the land and be able to carry that passion into adulthood.” – Simone

Reflections from the East West Center Visit with High School Children from Nānākuli & Hiroshima, Japan for their Global Youth Leadership Program August 2015:


“The farm-based workshop and reception/welcome you hosted were truly memorable. For many of our students from Hiroshima, this was their first experience on a farm and they were delighted to see the many different plants, fruit, and vegetables that are grown at Hoa ‘Aina. Through pounding pa’i’ai, preparing lau lau, clearing the peace garden, and planting the seedlings, the Nanakuli and Hiroshima students were able to begin building friendships with each other through sharing parts of their own culture and working side-by-side. From the first time we came to visit Hoa ‘Aina O Makaha we noticed the tangible sense of peace that pervades the farm. That is no doubt a reflection of you as well as your staff and volunteers, and the time and efforts that you have put into making the farm such a hospitable and welcoming place.

In closing, let me say that without your involvement in the key facets of our programming in West Oahu, we could not have provided such a rich and memorable experience for our students – both Hiroshima and Nanakuli! Also, I should add that the Hiroshima students were all wearing the necklaces they received from you when they boarded the plane for Hiroshima. They are taking their seeds of peace back home with them.” – Namji, Director

“Today I learned about the importance of unity. We meditated to find our mana (power or spirit) that is inside us, and we set it for all eyes to see in the mural. It showed us that all of our personal thoughts and ideas can make something truly wonderful. It was a great experience painting and having fun with everyone, and I wish to do it again. Thank you very much.” – Cayenne, Nānākuli

“Today I was very happy to paint with everyone. As the mural represented PEACE I felt that I am making a difference while painting, from laughing and collaborating with my Japanese friends. From this experience I learned that I can make friends from everywhere, no matter what everyone looks like. I hope I can do this again.” – Sarissa, Nānākuli

“It need power of many people to make a big picture, so I learned that it need many people’s help, feelings, and actions to create peaceful world.
I learned it from Mr.Prime.
I thought that peaceful world is fun because I was fun when I made a picture” – Miwa, Hiroshima

“Peace Mural
I really appreciated to Mr. Prime.
I learned that if there are many people, we can make big wonderful things.
And also I impressed we can explain peace even by painting.
Nanakuli School
I enjoyed spending time with Nanakuli students.
My best memory with them was having lunch at farm.
I knew many things about their lifestyle and school.
I won’t forget these memories!!” – Rino, Hiroshima

Reflections from Hoa ‘Āina’s Annual Report for 2014/15:
(Click here to read the report.)

Aloha Gigi,
Great things continue to happen at the farm. When I think of Na Keiki and the farm I smile. In all my teaching experience working with you was the most rewarding. Going to work was always an adventure with lots of laughter. I still think about dissecting the fish “this is the heart”, walking through the sunflower crop trying not to think about the bugs, having to do the lesson with the chicks alone and I never touched a chick before, trying to figure out how to grind the corn to feed the chicks and you used your coffee grinder, when Jody Yabuno’s and my kids witnessed the birth of some rabbits, and the comments some students made that would make us just laugh out loud. These are just a few things that come to mind. When I reflect on teaching it always brings me back to Makaha.

Aloha Gigi and other hoa’aina:
Mahalo for the beautiful expression of Aloha through your work with so many keiki and the ‘aina. Mahalo. Those were loving stories.

Aloha Gigi, Judy, and Hoa Aina peeps,
I read the whole thing and feel like I have earth between my toes and healthy fresh food in my opu! Thank you for all you do. The openness and curiosity and heart of the children shines through.

Aloha Gigi,
Mahalo for “booster shot”; we often are so busy…busy report writing (which is what I am suppose to be doing right now)…busy answering phones…busy answering/creating emails – that “we”, should be “I”. I feel very busy, but it is stories like the 2nd grader that really makes me step back and wonder…am I doing anything that impacts anything; besides the system…? Talk about teary eyes…more like waterfalls. I so appreciate the farm and you – and all that you and the farm do! I know that I haven’t been around the farm in a few years; but I am always there in spirit – ever since April of 1994 – my first visit to the farm. I can remember most of the day like it was yesterday…Mahalo for sharing your thoughts and stories…I will forward this out to my “e-blast list” as I do with all of your emails…I know it will touch someone as much as it just touched me.
Mahalo Gigi!