HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- Think of Kakaako and you're
probably thinking high rises, not farms, but Kamehameha Schools sees rooftop
farms as the future
One such "ground breaking" new farm called
FarmRoof is part of the changing face of Kakaako.
It's on top of Automart USA, the car dealership right
across from Honolulu Harbor. It's a fitting backdrop for the farm since up to
90 percent of our food has to be shipped in. The hope is that by growing food
on more rooftops, we can have more homegrown food, literally.
After a prayer and blessing by Kawaiahao Kahu Curt
Kekuna, Mayor Peter Carlisle and FarmRoof Founder Alan Joaquin untied the maile
lei, rolled out the modules, and planted the first seeds.
"We have close to an acre of modules that will cover
entire rooftop and the buildings down below" said Joaquin. " Everyone
below and tourists flying above will be looking at green patches of healthy,
In a few weeks, the greens grown overhead will go to
chefs, retailers or members who sign up for CSA's or community supported
It's the world's first certified organic rooftop farming
system, and according to Christian O'Connor, Senior Assets Manager for
Kamehameha Schools, it's part of the master plan for Kakaako. O'Connor says,
"We think the vision of greening this entire place is definitely something
that can happen in maybe 10-20 years."
Automart hopes to shave 20 percent from its 12-thousand
dollar a month power bill because of the benefits of a green roof.
Mayor Carlisle sees the possibilities, saying "This
is something that's exciting to me because it could reduce energy costs, create
energy and it could create food."
At a time when Hawaii's struggling with high prices,
supporters see no reason why the islands should not be a hub for sustainable