Kilauea Ag Park grows with help of Hanalei Rotary

KILAUEA — To qualify for a $10,000 Weinberg grant, the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay needed at least 25 members to help enhance the Kilauea Ag Park Saturday morning.

Club members turned out in full force, with over 30 volunteers pulling together to help.

“We’re trying to get community members to be a part of the community garden. The Rotary Club is doing a lot of things for our community right now,” said Alvin “Bino” Castelo, president of Kilauea Community Farm, Aina Ho’okupu o Kilauea.

There was no shortage of work to be done Saturday. Each volunteer had either a spade or rake in their hands, hunched over on all fours to either plant or pull weeds from around the fruit trees they planted two months prior.

Because of the club’s efforts, the park’s plants and trees will be able to grow and produce fruits and vegetables for the surrounding community.

“The agricultural park is an experiment and a forerunner of what we’d like to see happen on the whole island,” said Tsajon von Lixfeld, community service director for the club. “We want to see small communities getting together and creating a plot, an area, where people can have a place to grow plants and exchange plants. The idea, ultimately, is sustainability for the island.”

The Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay aims to raise funds to eventually build a pavilion and gazebo at the Kilauea Ag Park to host a farmer’s market, family gatherings and other community events.

In the meantime, every little bit of volunteerism is celebrated.

“It all starts with the community and the food, but it’s also an education of where the food comes from. It’s all big picture,” Castelo said. “Getting this type of community involvement is a good thing. A lot of people are awakening to it because they can see the garden, and it’s picking up steam.”

There is a lot of momentum behind the project, said Castelo, and the ability to sustain its growth and enhance the ag park is a necessity.

“We need to be able to sustain ourselves,” von Lixfeld said. “Ultimately, the Rotary Club at Hanalei is in partnership with this park to see it become a permanent resource for this community.”

Just like any plant, time, effort and patience are needed for it to reach its potential. Club member Joe Halasey sees everyone’s patience and dedication beginning to pay off.

“Being a part of the Rotary Club, we do a lot of community projects. And this happens to be a very good community project,” Halasey. “This ag park has been a long time coming, and it’s nice to actually see something happening here.”

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