Aina Fest 2017


Educational Activities

Permaculture Presentations Schedule (Education Tent):

  • 1:30-2:30: Donna Maltz: "From the Soil to Your Soul"
  • 2:30-3:30: Bobby Grimes: "Bamboo with Bobby G- Growing, Harvest, Curing, Design & Build!"
  • 3:30-4:30: Jenn Rasmussen: "Intuitive Treatment Free Beekeeping"
  • 4:30-5:30: Zach Mermel: "Teaming with Fungi: Recruiting Mycelium for Farmscape Repair"
  • 5:30-6:30: Ilana Stout: "Seedy Times on Hawai'i Island: an overview of local seed preservation projects and introductory seed saving techniques"

Educational Talk Story Offerings (at Hawaiian Village Tent):

  • 2:00-3:00: Cindy Kuʻupua Whitehawk: "The Traditional Art of Lauhala Weaving" and "Traditional Method of Creating Niʻihau ʻIpu"
  • 3:00-3:45: Jerry Konanui: "ʻAwa Propagation"
  • 4:00-4:45: Jerry Konanui: "Kalo Revision Updates"

Hawaiian Village Activities

Kanu O Ka ʻĀina is a Hawaiian-focused, project-based charter school located in Waimea, South Kohala. 2016 marks the fourth year that Kumu KiTeya Belford-Smith brings a group of student volunteers from his ‘Āi Pono (Food Sovereignty) class to the Kohala ʻĀina Festival. This year the students from Kanu will facilitate games of strategy and skill at the Hawaiian Village to celebrate the beginning of the Makahiki season. The games are ʻulu maika, moa pāheʻe, ʻōʻō ʻihe, and kōnane. All four games are open to Festival attendees all afternoon, free of charge.

We're pleased to present the following activities as part of the Hawaiian Village:

  • Kanu O Ka ʻĀina PCS - Pāʻani Makahiki (Makahiki Games)
  • Chantal Chung - ʻOhe Kapala (Bamboo Stamp Designing and Printing)
  • Shayne Keahi Tomas - Paʻiʻāi (Pounding Taro)
  • "Coconut" Cathy McVay Black - Lau Niu (Weaving with Coconut Fronds)
  • Keoni Aweau Turalde - Kālai Pahu (Drum Carving)
  • Read more about craftswoman/educator Coconut Cathy and craftsman/educator Uncle Keoni below!

Educator Biographies

Jerry Konanui

Jerry Konanui

Jerry Konanui is a Native Hawaiian mahi‘ai (farmer) and educator who works with botanical gardens, community organizations, and individuals throughout Hawai‘i to collect, identify, grow, maintain, harvest and process mea kanu (plants) and food crops.


Zach Mermel

Zach Mermel "Fungi Focused Permaculture" 4:30-5:30: One part ecologist, one part horticulturist, one part land planner, Zach Mermel’s work and education in ecological design have taken him across the Hawaiian archipelago, the U.S. mainland, and beyond. An interdisciplinary designer, Zach holds a master’s degree in ecological design from the Conway School. Born and raised on Hawai’i Island, Zach is intimately familiar with the different microclimates and multifunctional organisms of our unique island home.


Bobby Grimes

Bobby Grimes is the Director of Development and Operations for Hawai'i Agriculture, Energy and Earth Products and serves as Chief Operating Officer of Haina Mill Earth Products. He worked as an automotive engineer with General Motors in his hometown of Detroit and left traditional engineering to pursue his interests to improve the world through non-traditional paths. Relocating to Hawaii, Bobby has become expert in areas of agriculture and soils and built a consulting practice focused on sustainability in Hawaii, has converted his finish carpentry skills to becoming renowned for his work with bamboo as a building product and has been passionate for most of the past decade about the re-development and re-birth of the old Hamakua Sugar Mill property that is the centerpiece of this project. A vocal participant in all that he does, Mr. Grimes was an executive board member of the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association. Mr. Grimes is a resident of Hawaii, with his home and farm close to the Haina Mill Property in Honaka'a, Bobby has become involved with the life-long residents and organizations that support the drive to bring jobs, income, productivity and a better life to the island.


Donna Maltz

Learn how to strengthen your immune and digestive systems through fermented foods. Eating foods that are rich in enzymes, enlivens your life, from the Soil to your Soul! Observe simple methods in culturing Vegetables, Kavas, Kombucha and also in making Natural Cleaning Products.

Chef Donna Maltz is a Soil to Soul entrepreneur, farm to table restaurant owner, wellness and business consultant. As an environmental activist, she is passionate about doing her part in contributing to a peaceful thriving world for people and the planet. Donna also teaches culinary classes and mentors budding entrepreneurs. She is the author of a childrens book, and will soon publish her next book, “Soil to Soul Entrepreneurship: True Prosperity". Maltz graduated from the Organic Farm Program at Evergreen State College in 1982. She has over 33 years of experience in socially and ecologically responsible business entrepreneurship, including going national with the first organic cocoa and chocolate syrup in the nation. She serves as a business advisor for HIP Ag.


Jen "Bee" Rasmussen

Jen Rasmussen started learning about bees about eight years ago here on the Big Island. After a few months working with bees, several pests & diseases made their way to the Big Island. The learning curve was rough for many bees and their keepers. Several beekeepers lost their bees and struggled to recover. At this time Jen Rasmussen began her journey learning how to care for bees with these new pests & diseases without the use of chemical treatments.

Over the years the bees have grown strong and capable of protecting and sustaining their hives. It may be witnessed at Paradise Nectar Apiaries, even after many losses, the strong bees survive, and create the new hives that will repopulate the apiary. Jen Rasmussen encourages strong hygienic behavior in the hives and teaches how to provide preventative hive management that will keep bees healthy and strong. To learn more about intuitive treatment-free beekeeping visit


Coconut Cathy

Cathy McVay Black was born in Bloomington, Illinois and grew up in Alaska and Washington State, where she started a career as a young journeyman jeweler. Cathy first arrived on The Big Island in 1986. She has since become a mother of 5 children and hanai mother to her husband's 3 children.

When Cathy first arrived in Hawaii she did not have much knowledge of coconut trees other than fascinating images she'd seen throughout the years in movies and on television. In 1993 Cathy decided to try selling her jewelry and art at Rainbow Falls, a popular attraction on The Big Island. It was there she met a lady named Diane who wove coconut leaves.The two became friends and Diane offered to teach Cathy a number of different coconut leaf weavings, which Cathy quickly learned and excelled at.

Although Cathy was not able to continue selling her crafts at Rainbow Falls, she found a “home away from home” in Kaimu, where she met Uncle Robert and the Keliihoomalu ohana. Although the scene at Uncle Robert's Awa Bar has drastically changed over the years into a flourishing hub of activity, Cathy can still be found there on occasion at her small stand on the hillside above the cul-de-sac.

Over the years Cathy and her husband have shared the art and beauty of coconut leaf weavings with hundreds of people from all around the world. They have shared their knowledge of the art in both public and private classes and continue to do so. For Cathy, it is a crucial art and craft that is very grounded in the Earth and one of it's most special and sacred trees, the pi'i niu or coconut tree.

Whether its functional baskets, or novelty toys for the keiki,Cathy and her husband look forward to the honor of continuing to share this special, sustainable craft with as many others as possible.


Keoni Aweau Turalde

Born in Ka'alaia Ko'olaupoko, O'ahu, Hawai'i in 1956. He kanaka kālai 'o ia. He is a carver and crafter who lives in Hilo, Hawai'i. Keoni is also the care-taker of Lihikai Hawaiian Cultural Learning Center down at Onekahakaha Beach Park. This is where you can find Keoni still perfecting his art of 50 years on a daily basis.


Illana Stout

Ilana Stout is a sustainability educator and an avid gardener. She teaches at Hawaii'i Community College and does outreach work for the Hawai'i Public Seed Initiative, a project of the Kohala Center. Ilana is also a Master's degree candidate in the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Program at the University of Hawai'i at Hilo. Her research uses community-based surveys and interviews with local seed keepers to identify heritage varieties of food and medicinal plants that were brought to Hawai'i during the plantation era.

To practice and teach ecologically conscious agriculture, empowering individuals and communities to cultivate alternative systems of living that restore human and environmental health.

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