The Global Breadfruit Heritage Council was established as a vehicle through which to honor and protect the genetic, cultural/spiritual, environmental, and product integrity of breadfruit.
Olohana partners with the Micronesian Executive Leadership Initiative; the Pacific Business Center Program (PBCP) at the Shidler School of Business Administration, University of Hawaii; the Breadfruit Institute; Kansas State University; Agroforestry Net; Intertribal Council on Utilities Policy; and the public and private sectors of Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Marshall Islands, and Pohnpei and Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia to create local food and renewable energy micro-hubs around the cultivation of breadfruit and food forests using traditional methods.
This is the Ulu/Breadfruit Initiative.
Thanks to the dedication of our partners, the Breadfruit/Ulu Initiative has been steadily developing since 2010 with plans to reintroduce and popularize traditional food forestry and kitchen gardening methods and practice on the Pacific Islands and develop a global market for breadfruit as a gluten-free food staple.
Breadfruit is the cornerstone of the food forest. It carries considerable cultural and spiritual significance for the peoples of the Pacific.
For the past several years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Office of International Affairs (OIA) have contracted with M. Kalani Souza, Olohana founding director, and Olohana partner, Agroforestry Net’s Craig Elevitch, as instructors to teach breadfruit agroforestry. They have traveled throughout Polynesia, Micronesia, U.S. affiliate islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands as instructors. In 2015, Olohana distributed more than 100 breadfruit saplings to farmers and growers on the Big Island. They are working with Kanu O Ka ‘Aina Learning Ohana Charter School and Hawaii National Park Service Ala Kahakai Trail Association to develop demonstration food forest sites in Waimea and Kaiholena.
In 2016 at the Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana (PRiMO) annual conference, Olohana launched the Global Breadfruit Heritage Council (GBHC).
The purpose of GBHC is to protect the genetic, cultural, environmental, and product integrity of breadfruit and its cultivation; to promote this gluten-free food on the world market; and create economic opportunities for and offer technical support to farmers and communities in Hawaii.
GBHC has three programmatic areas: advisory, technical, youth and education. These concurrent programs will advance Olohana’s mission in three tracks:
- Global Monitoring Non-modified Organisms (GMNO) protection of the biome, monitoring intellectual property rights and biogenetic engineering regarding species that have cultural /social/religious significance to native peoples/cultures;
- Global Alliance of Interdisciplinary Agro-foresters (GAIA), made up of academic researchers and farmers presently working within the agroforestry models;
- Globally United Young Agro-foresters (GUYA) working with local communities, public, private, and state charter schools including Kanu O Ka ’Aina Learning Ohana, National Climate Atmospheric Research Center in Boulder CO, PRiMO-Federal Region 9, OIA, IKE Hui, and UH NDPTC National Disaster Preparedness Training Center.
A short film produced for Olohana helps express the goals of GUYA and gives voice to a few of our young community members.
The results expected from the active participation of youth in GUYA
and the Ulu/Breadfruit Initiative include:
- Transfer of agroforestry and traditional planting knowledge from
elders, educators, scientific community to youth.
- Ignition of interest in and appreciation of agroforestry, agriculture,
gardening, and environmental stewardship.
- Proliferation of food forests and four-dimensional kitchen gardens
in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.
- Meaningful contribution of youth to the development of economic
opportunities for the community.
- Strengthened relationships between all members of the community
as progress continues and the project develops.
- Increased community resilience and preparedness to natural and
- Increased independence from imports, including food and fuel.
- Increased interest in traditional medicine and medicinal plants.
- Strengthened ties to cultural and spiritual traditions.