Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services formed in 1972 to provide health care for the valley’s low-income residents.
Macula Jackson, 2, helps return a work boot so it can dry at Kokua Kalihi Valley’s Ho’oulu Aina community garden Feb. 23. The garden creates opportunities for residents, many of them Asian and Pacific Island immigrants and their children, to reconnect with the land and one another around traditional foods of their combined cultures.
Tasks Yamamura, left, and Allie Dyer pick weeds and harvest kale plants at Ho’oulu Aina on Feb. 7. Food grown here is sold as farmer’s market produce and used for cooking workshops and to prepare meals at the Roots Cafe.
Volunteers converge on Ho’oulu Aina garden for community work days every Wednesday and Thursday. Kokua Kalihi Valley employs 180 people fluent in 20 Asian and Pacific Island languages and dialects working out of nine locations.
Darla Simeone picks noni leaves, a natural anti-inflammatory, from the Pacifica section of the Ho’oulu Aina garden Feb 7. This section is reserved for growing medicinal plants from regions of Polynesia.
Roots Cafe head chef Jesse Lipman, right, and volunteers prepare lunch Feb. 7 with produce grown farther up the valley at Ho’oulu Aina. The cafe inside the Kalihi Health Center is open to the public Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The Roots Cafe focuses on healthy entrees featuring mostly local ingredients such as this organic salad with steak and kalo pa’a. The cafe is also used for culinary training, discussion groups, speaker engagements, film nights and cultural celebrations.
Another program allows people, mostly youths, to learn bicycle maintenance skills and put in sweat equity to get their own bikes. The Kalihi Valley Instructional Bike Exchange begins each day with a circle to help build strong relationships among participants and mentors.
Lesson Guarin, left, and Aliipo Edgar work on a bicycle Feb. 20 that now belongs to Aliipo thanks to his hours of volunteering at the bike shop. The program gives kids a safe place to socialize and learn skills, but is also open to participants “as young as 77 years,” says KVIBE director Kevin Faller.
A raised flower bed is prepared for flower-growing Feb. 20 by, from left, Bernice Musrasrik, Mgmae Bingos, Kesleen Augustine, Sonja Ammons, Mauleen Roman and Faavaitenilynne Newo. As a children’s garden mentor, Musrasrik works to bridge differences by teaching kids about foods from various cultures.
Children and their families husk coconuts on pickaxes stuck in the ground at Ho’oulu Aina on Feb. 23. The garden is regularly the scene for community events such as this one involving collecting coconut milk and using it in the preparation of cultural foods.
Eonsa Lyman, 10, cracks open a coconut for the first time during the community lesson. On its website, Kokua Kalihi Valley says it serves over 10,000 people a year “to foster health in the broadest sense — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.”
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