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Windward // Windward Oahu Coverstory
Rasa Fournier

Hauula Betting On ‘Ulu For Future Sustenance

Welcome to a greener, more self-sustaining Hau’ula, thanks to ‘ulu sapling donations.

A partnership between the Breadfruit Institute and Hau’ula Community Association meant that 468 young ‘ulu (breadfruit) got new homes Oct. 20, primarily in Hau’ula, but also in Laie, Kahuku, Pupukea, Haleiwa and Waimanalo.

The HCA advertised the giveaway via schools, community groups and the Koolauloa Neighborhood Board. Anyone interested in planting and caring for a tree filled out an application and showed up at Hau’ula Civic Center on pickup day. As part of the program, 10 trees were planted on the Hau’ula Elementary campus by students, and ‘ulu also were planted in natural disaster safety zones.

“Hau’ula Community Association has been developing an emergency preparedness plan over the last two years, and this was part of the plan to provide for food safety in the case of a disaster, where foods are not available or able to be shipped in to the island,” explained HCA president Dotty Kelly-Paddock. “Breadfruit was one of the first trees brought to Hawaii, and it is very nutritious and provides abundant fruit two times per year.”

The Ma’afala variety that was distributed should start bearing fruit within three years. The Breadfruit Institute shared planting guidelines Oct. 20 and offers recipes on its website at breadfruit.org. HCA also plans to make recipes from residents available in cookbook form.

“We offered Hau’ula residents help with planting their trees through a service learning project at Hau’ula Elementary,” noted Kelly-Paddock. “Heidi Bornhorst, a local arborist (and the Oahu coordinator for the ‘ulu project), was available when we distributed the trees to speak with anyone who had questions. She also provided a workshop to students and parents who planted the trees at Hau’ula Elementary.

“The head custodian, Evans Kahana, was instrumental in the decision to plant the trees.”

HCA maintains a database with the trees’ owners and has plans for an ‘ulu festival when the trees begin producing. With all the excitement over the hundreds of new breadfruit trees, noted Kelly-Paddock, one spirited participant suggested changing the town’s name to “Hau’ulu.”

In all, the institute’s year-long “Plant a tree of life – grow ‘ulu” project is dispersing 4,000 trees throughout the state. Its mission, said director Diane Ragone, “is to promote conservation and use of breadfruit for food and reforestation.

“It was an honor to be involved in this event,” she added, “and to see how enthusiastic, appreciative and excited the recipients were. So many wanted trees to provide food and food security for their families.”

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