Summer Solstice Festival ~ Learning Sustainability from Bananas & Taro

Second Nature Farm holds harvest events for its members at the turn of the seasons four times a year: vernal equinox, summer solstice, autumnal equinox, and winter solstice. We cook healthy dishes with gifts from the earth that can be harvested at those times of the year and serve them at a potluck luncheon table.

At the June 15 Summer Solstice event, many participants dipped into the mud of the Kalo (taro) paddy for the first time to try their hand at harvesting taro. First, Kyle and Luana, volunteers in the taro paddies, taught the participants how to pull out the potatoes. They also explained simply about our natural agriculture method, including how to divide the pulled corms into edible ones and the rest to perpetuate generations of taro, how to lead the flow of spring water from the mountains into the taro paddies, and how to return the nourishing water to a stream in the farm to the ocean.

At the following potluck luncheon, the participants were introduced to some of our farm’s original recipes, including Indian-style sag paneer (spinach curry) with taro leaves and taro croquettes. They enjoyed the new recipes with the food and beverages they brought, filling their stomachs and hearts.

Bananas are also abundant this year. Even before the Summer Solstice Festival, we have been finding banana trees of Williams and Apple bananas that are turning color in sequence and sharing them with our farm members and volunteers. Most of the people who watched breathlessly as Gary manually harvested the bananas were surprised to learn for the first time that a banana tree’s life ends when it is harvested. However, they felt happy to discover that the trees’ trunks and leaves are put to good use for vegetable gardens and that small new shoots are beginning to sprout from the sides of the fallen trees.

Thus, at Second Nature Farm, nature plays the leading role, and humans play supporting and instrumental roles. We hope to repeatedly and perpetually perform the drama of taro and bananas’ lives on the stage of the natural ecosystem here.

Author of this article

日本の新聞社系週刊誌記者、第二電電(現KDDI)広報責任者を経て米国留学。「持続可能な発展」などの政策比較研究を行い2000年カリフォルニア大サンディエゴ校で太平洋国際関係研究修士号取得。ハワイで有機園芸業を行っていたGary E. Johnsonとの結婚を機に2005年ハワイへ移住。翻訳出版とヨガインストラクターを続けながらGaryと共同で、「健康な食の生産、体と心の浄化、自然生態系の保全」を目的(3Pモットー)にした「森林農業+ヨガ・瞑想」プロジェクトをオアフ島ワイマナロで推進している。

After working as a reporter for a weekly newspaper and as a public relations manager at Daini-Denden (now KDDI), she moved to the U.S. to study comparative policies, such as on “sustainable development.” In 2000, she received her M.A. in Pacific International Relations from the University of California, San Diego, and in 2005, she married Gary E. Johnson, an organic gardener in Hawaii. While continuing to work as a translator, publisher, and yoga instructor, she has been working together with Gary on the Agroforestry + Yoga/Meditation project in Waimanalo, Oahu, which aims to “produce healthy food, purify the body and mind, and preserve the natural ecosystem (3P motto).”