Carbon footprints….organic food….recycle….reuse….no more plastic bags…what to do about landfills… these are all words on many lips these days as we struggle to understand how we can best live more gently on a shrinking planet. In these times when backyard gardens have become the newest “fashion statement”, it is not just a “vogue” thing to do but a real necessity as the cost of shipping goods into the island climbs unabated. Sheesh, we live in a place nic named the the garden island….seems pretty obvious to me what we should be doing!! Last weekend I expanded my own garden efforts and completed the prep work for a new raised bed organic garden for vegetables beyond the various planter pots of lettuce, herbs and spices I now grow. I felt a grand sense of satisfaction at the end of a big job as I gently watered newly transplanted tomato plants, kale starts and beet seedlings. Even my Hawaiian “chili-peppah” bush landed a more permanent home in a particularily sundrenched spot! It is really heartening to see so many garden projects pop up all over the island. Schools are implementing garden projects which are very valuable and fosters teaching opportunities about food, nutrition, time management, and even small business skills. We have had the county sponsored Sunshine Market program for many many years offering farmers county venues to bring their homegrown produce to Kauai consumers. In Koloa this has become a popular part of the visitor experience to make your way up to the county park at noon on Monday to barter and haggle for your weeks worth of veggies. I was pleased to browse through the new Kauai Community College market on Saturdays which sells produce and nursery seedlings which support their gardening education programs.
Even new residential developments on the Garden Island are making room for community gardens. Poipu Beach Estates, located on the west side of Kiahuna Golf Course provides for an agricultural water source to each of the 100 lots developed there. Besides the county potable water system, homeowners at Poipu Beach Estates will have an inexpensive water source for gardens and lanscape. Kukui’ula, the newest planned community in Po’ipu has gone a step further in their master plan. Nestled in the hills beside an idyllic upcountry lake, “The Farm” is brimming with homegrown produce where owners at Kukui’ula will have access to learn about tropical gardening, get some hands on experience or simply come pluck their daily needs as part of the extensive ammenity package provided to each owner within the Kukui’ula community. In these fast paced times it is nice to know growing food is becoming a much more mainstream interest and certainly has its place in the new world economy!