An update on past news

The Ho'oulu Mea Kanu Nursery is now under the Native Pathfinders Institute and sometimes holds plant sales.

Former OHA plant nursery
endures with new sponsor

Question: What ever happened to the native Hawaiian plant nursery in Laie started by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs?

Answer: The Ho'oulu Mea Kanu Nursery was begun by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in 1996 to train low-income families to grow native Hawaiian plants and to earn a supplemental income selling them.

But in 2000, OHA ended its sponsorship of the nursery, located on five acres about five minutes from Laie Shopping Center. The nursery continued under the sponsorship of the Hawaii Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development.

In 2001 the alliance gave $10,000 to begin the nonprofit Native Pathfinders Institute to continue the project, said President Roxanne Adams, who had been the project manager for the OHA nursery.

The nursery closed before its lease expired in July. However, the training project continues under the Pathfinders group.

Adams said the Pathfinders recently completed a series of workshops involving 15 families from Papakolea and Maunalaha. Besides learning how to cultivate plants, the families also learned about the Hawaiian ecosystem and environmental issues, she said.

Under OHA, 40 families were trained in propagation, making a total of 55 families who have been trained at the garden. The project families have cultivated at least 80 different plant species, she added.

Her group is focusing on marketing the plants by educating the public about all the available native species — in particular, the landscape designers and contractors obligated by law to use native plants in at least 10 percent of their landscaping of government projects, she said.

A nursery is being revived, Adams said, under the Pathfinders sponsorship. Her group is beginning a garden of native plants on an 80-by-90-foot parcel between Stevenson Intermediate and Lincoln Elementary schools in Makiki for students to use as a learning tool.

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