Project: MALAMA: Rebuilding Indigenous Food Systems in Rural Native Hawaiian Communities through Backyard Aquaponics
Ilima Ho-Lastimosa (IRL 3), Dr. Ted Radovich (IRL 3), Dr. Jane Chung-Do (IRL 3)
Before Western colonization, Native Hawaiians were documented as being healthy people with a robust food system. Shaped by island geography, Native Hawaiians practiced the ahupua’a system, which is a wedge-shaped area of land running from the mountain to the sea, following the natural boundaries of the watershed. Each ahupua’a contained the resources for food, including fish, salt, vegetables, fruit, and other plants. With Western colonization came the privatization of land, mass plantations, and militarization that obliterated this traditional and sustainable food system.
Today, Native Hawaiians are 130% more likely to die from diabetes and 68% more likely to die from heart disease compared to the State average. Native Hawaiians also tend to live in rural communities, which tend to have less healthy food outlets. Currently, the team is working on a pilot study to develop an intervention that merges modern technology of aquaponics to restore Native Hawaiian traditional food practices and systems. Aquaponics combines hydroponics and aquaculture to create a contained, sustainable, food production system that mimics the traditional Native Hawaiian ahupu’a system.
This research project proposes, through a delayed randomized control trial, to expand and refine the initial intervention of using aquaponics and to evaluate whether learning and maintaining backyard aquaponics systems promotes health and reduces obesity risks among Native Hawaiian families. The findings from this study will be useful to Native Hawaiian organizations, practitioners, and policymakers in Hawai‘i and beyond to formulate policies and programming to eliminate the disproportionate impact of social determinants of health and chronic disease on Native Hawaiians and other indigenous peoples.
Panelist 2: Building Learning Infrastructures & Tools for Community Organizers
Sonia Sarker (CoHL 2), Joe Sammen (IRL 3), Felipe Tendick-Matesanz (CoHL 1)
Sonia Sarkar (COHL Cohort 2), Joe Sammen (IRL Cohort 3), and Felipe Tendick Matesanz (COHL Cohort 1) have partnered to build learning infrastructure and tools for community organizers who are leading grassroots efforts to ensure that the financing and delivery of health are accountable to communities.