2 men holding koa bowl award
Braddah J Barrett and Alapaki Luke represented Honolulu Community College at the 2012 Betty Crocker Awards

Honolulu Community College’s Ka Māla o Niuhelewai, The Garden of Niuhelewai, received the Award of Excellence in the Xeriscape category at the 2012 Betty Crocker Landscape Awards ceremony held on June 25, 2012.

Honolulu CC received a $25,000 grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to plant Hawaiian varieties of kalo in a dry land māla. In March 2011, Honolulu CC started building a dry stack rock enclosure and over the past year, students, staff and faculty members learned how to set rock, prepare the land, plant and care for approximately 20 varieties of kalo and numerous native plants.

“The māla creates awareness by connecting to student learning, while promoting sustainability through mālama ʻāina (caring for land/earth),” says Mark Alapaki Luke, Honolulu CC Hawaiian studies instructor and project coordinator.

The campus community enjoying the first harvest of the mala

Some of the huli, or cut stems from the kalo, came from UH Mānoa’s Ka Papa Loʻi ʻo Kānewai. The huli from the Honolulu CC māla was shared with other Oʻahu schools and farmers.

“The māla serves as an educational platform to teach our students how to use the traditional Native Hawaiian holistic approach to caring for our community,” said Luke.

Last year, the college took top honors in this category for its vegetable garden and greenhouse.

The Betty Crocker Landscape Awards, sponsored by Scenic Hawaiʻi, is held annually to recognize and acknowledge people who work every day to make Hawaiʻi a more beautiful place.

Adapted from a Honolulu Community College news release.