D.R. Horton to Offer Urban Food Gardens at Kahiwelo at Makakilo

D.R. Horton–Schuler Division unveiled its new, urban, food gardens at a preview of its Kahiwelo-at-Makakilo homesyesterday. Kahiwelo at Makakilo offers residents the option to customize their backyards with FarmPodz garden beds and Mari’s Gardens aquaponic systems, encouraging residents to grow and eat their own fruits and vegetables. Fred Lau, owner of Mari’s Gardens, and Alan Joaquin, founder of FarmRoof, led tours of the urban food gardens to show the variety of fruits, vegetables and fish that can be grown.

"It's an example of urban agriculture at its finest,” said Mike Jones, president of D.R. Horton–Schuler Division. “By enlisting the expertise of farmers to integrate urban food gardens into thehomes, we are changing lifestyles by teaching people to live closer to the earth.”

Kahiwelo residents can raise greens such as mint, lemon basil, rosemary and Hawaiian chili peppers in the FarmPodz garden beds. They can choose between a large size with six beds as well as a smaller size with just two. Both sizes come equipped with an integrated battery-operated timer, valve, pressure regulator and water filter, and maintenance packages will also be available to residents who don't have time to handle the upkeep themselves.

Aquaponic systems will allow residents to raise tilapia in the same container as their lettuce. The word “aquaponics” is a hybrid of hydroponics and aquaculture, and integrates two systems: raising fish and growing hydroponic vegetables. Thefish byproducts provide almost all of the necessary nutrients to the greens, which flourish in this environment.

Other bounty it's possible to grow: Chinese bananas, starfruit, green onions, kale, avocado, purple sweet potato, Okinawan spinach, loquat, red pineapple and more.
The Malama Learning Center, a nonprofit based in Kapolei, will also be working with D.R. Horton–Schuler Division to help students develop healthy, sustainable lifestyles through art, science,conservation and culture. Students from the Center will care for FarmPodz at the Kahiwelo model homes and will sell their produce at Makeke Kapolei, a weekly farmer’s market held at Kapolei High School. The program is scheduled to start in the 2012-2013 school year.

“The Malama Learning Center is thrilled to begin its farming program at Kahiwelo at Makakilo,” said Pauline Sato, the executive and program director. “Through hands-on learning with FarmPodz, we hope to equip students with the knowledge, skills and experience that will help move Hawaii toward sustainability.”

For more information on Kahiwelo at Makakilo, click here.