This year's event was held at Mari's Gardens, an 18-acre hydroponics and aquaponics farm in Mililani, O‘ahu. UH alumnus and owner Fred Lau purchased the land in 2007 to expand his nursery landscaping business. But when his son, Brendon, graduated from the University of Hawai‘i's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, he showed an interest in soil-less farming methods.
In 2010, the Laus started using hydroponic and aquaponic methods to grow greens. Today, five years later, Mari's Gardens boasts more than a dozen different crops including Mānoa lettuce, heirloom carrots, Japanese cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, beets, ong choy (water spinach), pak choy, kale, radishes and watercress. In addition, the farm raises Chinese catfish, tilapia, swai (bass) and giant gourami.
Participants were given walking tours and information about the hydroponic and aquaponic methods being used on the farm. See the photo gallery for a glimpse of all there is to see at this incredible place!
Lunch was prepared by Miso & Ale who specializes in unique farm-to-table dishes. They prepared the delicious lunch using ingredients grown at the farm!
Guests were also given the opportunity to hear from UHAA President Ken Hayashida, UH Mānoa Associate Dean of Academic & Student Affairs Charles Kinoshita, and Mari's Garden owner Fred Lau!
The day wrapped up with everyone taking home a bag of hydroponic lettuce and a small gift from our friends at the University of Hawai‘i Bookstores!