Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023 |
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Malama Kauai is welcoming youth from the island to part of the Kauai Ag Internship Program.
The nonprofit offers the paid agriculture internships to provide an opportunity for people to work with experienced farmers. Another major focus of the program is to provide opportunities for those looking to build a career in agriculture.
Megan Fox, director of Malama Kauai, tells of the benefits of participating as a student in the summer internship program.
“It’s teaching students critical thinking skills and the ability to adjust themselves to the aina, what the aina’s telling them, what it needs and what it responds to,” she said. “Really we’re just introducing them to a broad spectrum of opportunities.”
Building and improving upon agricultural resources in the community is a key part of the programs and takes places in locations across the island.
In Hanalei, students will be working alongside farmers to restore, rebuild, and complete other activities to help farmers there, especially at the Hanalei fields as taro farmers have been particularily hard hit by the flooding.
MK also plans to spend a lot of time helping others on island to rebuild their farms as part of their continuing flood relief efforts.
Although there is a scientific side to farming, it isn’t necessarily an exact science. Learning the difference through hands on experiences with guidance from those who know the land the best is all part of the experience.
“It’s those people that have that innate knowledge to develop what it (the land) needs that really know how to farm the best,” Fox said.
“It goes back to indigenous wisdom and the people that began farming in those places knew when and what is best to farm,” she continued. “When you go to Hawaiian farmers they understand that still, and it’s this traditional knowledge that allows people to make the land as abundant and productive as can be, based on what the land is telling you. If you don’t listen to the land it’s not going to be as productive.”
Helping youth who have a passion for agriculture get a start on their career and make money doing it is key to what the Kauai Ag Internship Program is all about.
“If we don’t provide them economic relevant opportunities to fulfill culturally relevant roles then we’re dictated by a different economic system that is not our own,” Fox said.
The AmeriCorps internship is from June 4 to July 27 and applicants are no longer being accepted for this internship, though applicants are still needed for the other two kinds of programs.
The Alu Like internship is from June 4 to July 13 and requires that a person be between 14 to 24 years old and fulfill low income requirements. The Alu Like internship also requires applicants to be Kauai or Niihau residents and be of Native Hawaiian, Native American Indian, or Alaskan Native descent.
There are two of the 3-Week internships, with the first set of dates from June 4 to 22 and the second from July 9 to 27, and applicants must be Kauai and Niihau residents and age 14 years or older.
Applications for the paid summer internship programs can be found by viewing the Kauai Ag Internship Program under Our Programs on malamakauai.org. Contact the nonprofit at 828-0685.
Malama Kauai continues to be at Opakapaka Grill and Bar in Haena 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays to provide additional supplies to the community for those affected by flooding.
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