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Homegrown At Hokuli’a

A Community’s New Take On Malama ʻĀina

Hokuli’a is not your typical private club. While the Kona coast boasts many resorts and luxury residential areas, Hokuli’a stands out due to its fundamental mission of homeowners living sustainably. The purposefully designed properties count with an agricultural easement, allowing residents to grow their own vegetation and enjoy the benefits of harvesting their food. 

“My wife and I have had apple and peach trees before, but nothing like what we have here at Hokuli’a. We have learned a lot about growing fruit trees,” says Clay Thomas, a member of the club. 

Even if residents don’t know how to bring their farm-inspired vision to life, they can get help from local farmers or simply follow the example of fellow residents and learn how to properly take care of their crops. Due to its location in the Kona Coffee Belt, the largest sustainable agricultural zone in the state where world-famous Kona Coffee grows, the community enjoys consistent weather all year round. This rare opportunity teaches residents to not simply eat Hawaiian produce but to practice malama ‘āina, the Hawaiian philosophy of responsibly taking care of the land. With the opportunity to build a home from the ground up, homeowners can plan how to accommodate their agricultural goals from the very beginning. As a result, coffee, mango, papaya, avocado, and jackfruit are only a few examples of trees that can be seen in the lots, where the only limit is the residents’ aspirations. 

The emotional and mental benefits of working with nature are endless, and the process of seeing something grow from scratch is nurturing to the soul. In a world where people pace in front of a microwave because it takes half a minute to warm up food, patience is an underappreciated virtue. Everything has to be fast and immediate, yet, when we face the fact that a mango or an avocado tree takes years before its fruit is ready to be picked, all that is left is to appreciate the waiting.

“I very much enjoy it and am proud that we grow a lot of the fruit we like to eat. I love to spend time each week working in the trees. It is some work, but it is peaceful and a great satisfaction to see it all grow,” Clay says.

Another benefit that comes with tending to your crops is not having to run to the store as often. Fruits, vegetables, herbs, they can all be at your reach whenever you need them. The risk of your food going bad before you can eat it is minimized when you only pick what you are going to use. The rest stays in the tree until required, or you could also use the opportunity to practice aloha the way Hokuli’a does it. “After the harvest, we don’t keep all the produce,” Clay says. Everyone shares the extra produce they harvest with other members of their community, as everyone in Hokuli’a is encouraged to do. This provides an even wider variety of produce for the residents to enjoy and endless possibilities of food combinations to cook with. 

And if there is any waste from their property, it is repurposed into the soil. This way, instead of banana peels, avocado pits and mango skins ending up in a trash bag, they turn into compost. Nothing is wasted.

Carrie Nicholson, Marketing Director of the Club at Hokuli’a, shares her thoughts on how people's lives improve when they understand the importance of sustainable living.

“Here in Hawai’i, sustainable living is a natural part of malama ‘āina, responsibly caring for the land and teaching our future generations to honor that practice as well. I believe we must understand the larger picture of how being more conscientious today can help shape a better future. There’s also something beautiful about teaching our owners how they can participate in having homegrown produce or coffee,” Carrie says, and any of us can do the same at home. 

When asked what to tell those who feel too busy to grow their own crops, Clay shares that it does not take nearly as much time as people might think. Most of the energy spent will be at the beginning but, here in Hawai'i, once the seeds sprout, it is often very little work to encourage them to grow. Just as the Hokuli’a residents have learned to work the land as they enjoy what they receive from it, we can learn too. 

“Not many luxury real estate communities around the world have this level of commitment to practicing a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Ultimately, sustainable living also helps grow together as a community,” Carrie says. 

But if you do not have enough space in your backyard for a fruit tree or if all your pot plants have died over the years, hang in there. Begin with something small. Thyme, oregano, basil, and tomatoes thrive in the exceptionally rich Hawaiian soil. Papaya trees bear fruit in less than a year after they are planted. You can even repurpose your used coffee grounds as a natural bug repellent and fertilizer. The important thing is to look around and begin to appreciate the amazing opportunity that living on our island provides to live sustainably. Consider sharing any extra fruits you have with your neighbors, or make creative food recipes only with local produce, such as BBQ jackfruit tacos with mango and avocado salsa. And if you are struggling to begin this journey of malama ‘āina, do not give up. After all, every big thing starts small, and every tree starts as a seed. The reward, as residents of Hokuli’a have found, comes in the waiting.

If you want to learn more information about The Club at Hokuli’a, visit HokuliaClub.com

"Not many luxury real estate communities around the world have this level of commitment to practicing a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Ultimately, sustainable living also helps grow together as a community."

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