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Permaculture Parking Lot Paving Way to Sustainability at UH Hilo

Posted March 14, 2015, 01:46 PM HST
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The west border of the UH Hilo Lanikaula parking lot already teems with greenery planted by Kumukoa residents. Photo: Justin Avery.

The UH Hilo Student Association approved funding March 13 for a ‘permaculture parking lot’ project between the university and a neighboring household property collectively known as the ‘Kumukoa House’.

The private-public partnership aims to provide hands-on education to university agriculture students and community members, while enhancing the parking area and demonstrating how food can be grown sustainably.

“With over 85 percent of our food in Hawaii being imported, this is a great step for students and residents of Hawaii Island,” said Kumukoa homeowner, Justin Avery.  “This is a true win-win partnership.”

Avery is supported by the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, UH Hilo Sustainability Committee, the UHHSA Sustainability Committee, student organizations The Agriculture Club and Global HOPE, as well as over 200 students in the green initiative.

The funding will provide the project’s overall design, as well as raw materials including soils, mulch, and some 40 varieties of fruit trees and plants, according to Avery.  Signs will be installed to identify and inform visitors of the various greenery that will be growing.

The project continues efforts by residents at the Kumukoa house – mostly students – who have been planting and maintaining gardens along the west border of the paved lot with university permission for the last two years.

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Students from the UH agriculture school are now joining the effort.  Dr. Norman Arancon, an Agriculture professor at UH Hilo, is taking two of his classes totaling 50 students to the site on a weekly basis to apply what they are learning in the classroom.

Avery sees the project making fresh foods available to the community in the future.

“It paves the way, no pun intended, for a farmer’s market in the future,” he said.

In addition to the parking lot project, the Kumukoa House holds an open yard work day for students and the community on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

For more information or to participate, contact Justin Avery at justinavery@gmail.com.

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    Aerial view of  the permaculture parking lot.   Courtesy photo.

    Aerial view of the permaculture parking lot.
    Courtesy photo.

    Permaculture design plans for the parking lot.  Courtesy photo.

    Permaculture design plans for the parking lot. Courtesy photo.

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