Our Programs

Intermediate School Programs

‘Ai Pohaku Workshop
‘Ai Pohaku Workshop is a hands-on, culturally based, and social studies standards aligned curriculum that nurtures and instructs all Wai‘anae Intermediate (WIS) 7th graders through ‘aina (land) based activities including cultivation and harvesting of organic food crops, making pa‘i‘ai (cooked and mashed taro), carving traditional implements, and the sharing of research information from classroom instruction, assigned readings, and lectures. It is a mini-immersion into Pacific Island culture. Students and teachers share information, food and work in an outdoor atmosphere in a half-acre organic garden.

AKE (‘Aipo and Kalo Explorations)
AKE is a three-week afterschool program open to all students at WIS. Students participate in five activities: making pa‘i‘ai after school, working in the organic garden at WIS & MA‘O Organic Farms, visiting Makaha Valley and Stream, visiting the Waiahole Mauka Lo‘i, and the Family Night Dinner and Sharing. The AKE program will be adding on a family garden day as well. AKE aims to continue to create a unique opportunity for students and their families to connect more deeply with each other and the ‘aina.

Summer Garden Club
This club runs for seven weeks of summer and consists of a hand-picked youth crew from Wai‘anae Intermediate and High school. And it’s all about food! They meet one day a week from 7am-3pm and grow and eat food, study organic farming and learn Hawaiian cultural practices. The students are currently exploring healthy musubis. The Summer Garden club ends each Summer with a big Family Night Dinner.


High School Programs

Wai‘anae High School Natural Resource Academy - Agriculture
In collaboration with MA‘O, kumu Lei Aken’s agriculture class has created a half-acre on-campus organic garden. Students participate in hands-on interactive labs, stimulating field trips and classroom activities. The students maintain an organic bounty of bananas, corn, tatsoi, mesclun, pak choy, red Russian kale, cilantro, corn and arugula. Students developed creative entrepreneurial ways to share their veggies with teachers and families, helping to spread awareness and aloha for eating organic. Wai‘anae High School is the first Hawai‘i public school to have an organically certified garden. The high school garden will be featured at the upcoming Wai‘anae farmer’s market—keep an eye out for their produce branded under Ka‘aihonua!

High School Internship
Each Spring MA‘O runs a High School Internship in Organic Agriculture and Food Systems. Working both at the school garden and at MA‘O, the internship places motivated students into real-world entrepreneurial situations, introduces college-level learning, and adds a dynamic component to a young person’s high school experience

College Level Programs

Youth Leadership Training (YLT) College Internship
This 2 year internship offers Wai‘anae youth (17-24) a unique opportunity to start their college career by obtaining an Associate of Arts degree from Leeward Community College while gaining work and leadership experience as a part of our non-profit organization - MA‘O. The YLT interns are provided many services and support aimed at developing grounded, respectful, vibrant, and engaged youth who have a strong understanding of the health and environmental issues in our community as well as how to succeed in the work and college environment to better pursue their career goals. The services and support we provide to our interns include:

  • $500-$600 monthly stipends
  • Work experience co-managing an organic farm ~ interns learn organic methods for preparing fields for planting and for weed and bug control. They plant, harvest, wash and package vegetables for delivery to premier restaurants and health food stores, run Farmer’s Markets, and handle business transactions with top chefs and produce buyers.
  • Full tuition scholarship at Leeward Community College ~ interns earn a General Associate of Arts degree with a Subject Certificate in Community Food Systems which includes “Introduction to Organic Agriculture”, “Hawaiian Studies”, “Entrepreurship” and “Native Nutrition and Lifestyle” courses. Interns can use their degree to transfer to a 4-year university or Career and Vocational School to pursue any career of their interest.
  • Communication workshops ~ Interns learn how to communicate more effectively with their families and peers using “I” messages, assertiveness instead of aggression or passiveness, and non-verbal communication. They learn how to be better listeners and how to recognize their natural leadership styles.
  • Cultural Protocol workshops ~ Interns learn about Lualualei Valley - its history and how agriculture was once an important aspect of life for the Hawaiians. They also learn and regularly practice chants that ready their minds for work (E Ho Mai) and that enable them to greet and acknowledge the many groups of people they meet at the farm and in their travels to outer islands, the Mainland and Abroad (Oli Kahea, Oli Komo and Oli Mahalo).
  • Financial education classes ~ Interns prepare for high paying careers by learning to manage their money. Interns learn about checking and savings accounts, credit, loans, credit cards and debt management.
  • Asset building savings accounts (IDA) ~ Interns choose a savings goal that will help them with college (i.e. car, lap top, tuition) and create a savings plan for their Individual Development Accounts. For every $1 an intern saves, MA‘O will match it with $2! So if an intern saves $100, he/she gets a $200 match giving him/her a total of $300 in savings! (Open to 2nd year interns only)
  • Opportunities to travel Interns are leaders in the community and State because of their ability to promote and spread messages of the importance of sustainability and agriculture. Thus, they are invited to attend conferences abroad (New Zealand, Italy, Canada), on the Mainland (NYC, California, Arizona, etc.) and on neighboring islands.
Download the 2013 YLT Application Form