In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

MA’O Organic Farms grows local food and local leaders in youth internship program, recognized by Aqua-Aston Hospitality #ShareTheAloha campaign

Sponsored by Aqua-Aston Hospitality

With a 70-year legacy in Hawaii, Aqua-Aston Hospitality is raising public awareness about the importance of environmental stewardship and responsible tourism in protecting our island home. The company’s #ShareTheAloha campaign recognizes community leaders and organizations, like MA’O Organic Farms, for its community leadership in promoting mentorship and career opportunities, while also helping Hawaii become more sustainable by buying local.

MA’O is an acronym for Mala ‘Ai ‘Opio, which translates to the Food Youth Garden. In the early 2000’s, community members wanted to create a systems approach solution to help solve the poverty issues in the Waianae community, from education to access to healthy food.

MA’O grows about 40 – 45 different vegetables on the farm, which include:
Salad greens: Romaine lettuces, arugula, tatsoi, baby kale
Root crops: Beets, carrots, daikon, radish, turnips
Cooking greens: Pac choi, kales, collards, chards
Herbs: cilantro, Green onion, parsley, basil
Fruit/citrus: Lemons, limes, tangerines, mango, oranges

MA’O Organic Farms is well known for its Youth Leadership Training Internship (YLT). It recruits young adults from the Waianae and Leeward coast from ages 17-25. These young adults work on the farm part-time, about 15-18 hours. They are engaged in the full operations of the farm which include planting, weeding, harvesting, washing, and packing fresh certified organic veggies. For their sweat equity, these young adults get a full tuition scholarship to Leeward Community College and receive a monthly educational stipend starting at $500 per month. MA’O believes that supporting interns through college and giving them hands-on work experience allows them to develop leadership skills.

MA’O purchased 21 acres across the valley in Lualualei, but it’s currently fundraising to purchase another 236 acres nearby. Donations can be made at, and the funds will help to support future expansion and the YLT internship. You can also continue to support by purchasing its local products at the Kaka’ako and Wai’anae Farmers market, every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. MA’O is also in retail spaces like Foodland, Whole Foods Market, Kokua Market, and Down to Earth.


About Aqua-Aston Hospitality #ShareTheAloha Campaign

Aqua-Aston Hospitality has been in the business of sharing aloha since 1948 and is celebrating its 70th anniversary. In honor of the milestone, the hospitality company is celebrating responsible tourism in Hawaii and the small acts of aloha everyone can do to help protect and preserve our islands. Aqua-Aston hopes to do this by celebrating Hawaii’s host culture, supporting initiatives that embrace tolerance, equality and diversity, and by being environmental stewards.

Everyone can participate in the #ShareTheAloha campaign by bestowing random acts of aloha to others in your life and by making positive choices that help protect the environment. For example, we can all #ShareTheAloha by volunteering, cleaning up the beach, saying no to single use plastic, or choosing reef-safe sunscreen. You can also support local businesses, or just be kind to one another.

Aqua-Aston is making it easy to get started and #ShareTheAloha with its special A-List package, which includes an eco-friendly celebration gift. The gift includes a handmade Jana Lam bag, a tin of reef-safe sunscreen, and a stainless steel straw complete with a cleaning brush. Guests who book the package will also receive a 15% discount on rooms and a free upgrade.

If you have your own aloha experience, share it by tagging #ShareTheAloha. If you know someone who lives aloha, you can also share their story and they could win an Orlando trip for two on Alaska Airlines and five nights accommodations at an Aqua-Aston Hospitality resort in Orlando.

For more information:,,
Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @aquaaston, @maoorganicfarms