The VICTree Gardens Program offers a practical, achievable, dependable and localized solution to food insecurity: small tree gardens planted in yards, and the ability to virtually connect them all. Each of these Tree Gardens will create a perennial food forest designed to provide emergency nourishment for a family of four for four to six days in the event of a natural disaster.
The Olohana Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Hawaii. We work with communities to co-create resilience and adaptation strategies. Our projects focus on the intersection of food, water, energy, and knowledge systems as we navigate the world of global pandemics and rapid climate change as a global family.
Our VICTree Gardens Program, or Virtually Interconnected Community Tree Gardens started eight years ago when we took a closer look through the lens of disaster preparedness at our communities to measure our resilience to natural and man-made disasters.
Immediately, we recognized an insecurity, an insecurity which is greatly exacerbated with COVID-19. Currently, Hawaiian communities depend on 85% of their food from off island sources. And yet, Hawaii is a place where food grows 365 days a year. Why have these current generations been so disconnected to this critical life line that our ancestors always had? How can we help bring back food security to our larger global family?
So, we took this information, and did what our elders have taught us to do: “Hana I ka Lima” which means “to work the hands.” We asked our partners, including county, state, federal and international officials indigenous elders and members of our local community: How can we address this food insecurity? How can we transform suburban yards from food deserts to places of plenty? And how can we get this done as soon as possible?
We sat down with our native elders and we conferred with scientists. We consulted young mothers and we asked children and we met with legislators. The list goes on and the meetings continue. Quite quickly we saw that it comes down to relationships: our relationships to our foods, our relationship to our yards, our relationships to technologies and, of course, our relationships with each other.
The VICTree Gardens Program takes all these relationships into account and offers a practical, achievable, dependable and localized solution: small tree gardens planted in yards, and the ability to virtually connect them all. Each of theseTree Gardens will create a perennial food forest designed to provide emergency nourishment for a family of four for four to six days in the event of a natural disaster.
We understand that most yards are small, time is limited and weeds grow, so that is why our Tree Gardens are only 10’ x 25’. They are designed to limit inputs (such as time and costs) while obtaining maximum outputs! Not only could a tree garden such as this be good for your pocket book and your appetite, it could also offset potential burden on emergency management services should a need arise.
How to Learn, How to Join, How to Support
Olohana is excited to embark on this adventure with you! Anywhere you can connect to the Internet, we will be there to help guide your gardening while connecting you to other VICTree Gardeners. Olohana will provide virtual connections, Tree Garden design, answers to frequently asked questions, relevant educational videos, technical expertise, and much more when you decide to join the VICTree Garden Program here on Patreon, where we are crowdfunding resources for the program.
Our goal is to realize food security in hundreds of neighborhoods throughout the Islands of Hawaii and the world while also increasing the communication and interconnectivity of our global of community members.