Aquaponics is an important method used to grow plants and raise fish in Hawaiʻi. Check out the work of the Backyard Aquaponics Research in Waimanālo, Malama Waimānalo. This project is working to build community aquaponics systems to increase access to fresh foods in a sustainable way. Aquaponics systems resembles the ahupua‘a, a system from the mountain to the sea that ancient Native Hawaiians developed to sustainably grow plants and fish. With this connection, Malama Waimanālo seeks to promote food production and agriculture through a Native Hawaiian lens. You can read another article about how Queen's Partnerships Promote Native Hawaiian Health.


"The MALAMA research study aims to test a culturally grounded family-based backyard aquaponics intervention with Native Hawaiian families living in Waimānalo. The study innovatively merges the modern technology of aquaponics with traditional Native Hawaiian practices to create a “mini ahupuaʻa” system in families’ backyards to provide constant access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and fish." 

Some other resources about aquaponics in Hawaiʻi:

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    Fig. 2. Aquaculture is an important part of culture in the pacific.

    Image copyright and source

    Image from A.Q.U.A

    AQUA: A Quest to Understand Aquaculture is a curriculum for all grade levels that offers educators and students the opportunity to experience how fun and productive it can be to learn science and other subjects through aquaculture. From the history of aquaculture (worldwide and in the Pacific), to step-by-step instructions on building, maintaining, and experimenting with a system at your school, this curriculum provides hands-on learning that encompasses a variety of subjects, including science, math, history, art, and more!

    Refer to page 32 in the pdf document to read more about ancient aquaculture.

  • The Aquaponics Place of Waimanalo, Oahu has all of the information and tools you need to start your own aquaponics system in Hawaiʻi!
  • Explore the aquaponics at Kunia Country Farms in Kunia, Hawaiʻi, where they produce leafy greens for restaurants, supermarkets, and individuals. Check out the information on how their system is striving for zero impact! They have also developed an educational site to help connect with the broader community. 
  • Ili‘ili Farms is an aquaponics farm located in Waianae, Hawaiʻi. They have three 5000 gallon fish tanks (with 2500 tilapia in each) which pumps filtered nutrient-rich water to a shadehouse with thirty 96' long growbeds to feed 34,000 plants. 
  • This article showcases the award-winning social enterprise agricultural project developed by a University of Hawaiʻi—West Oʻahu team, Hoʻoulu Pacific: Aquaponics and education define award-winning West Oahu Project
  • Hydroponics and Aquaponics from Edible Hawaiʻi: This article describes some the hydroponic system established at the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa in Po‘ipu. It also explores other operations around Hawaiʻi that utilize hydroponic or aquaponic systems.


Check out these research articles about the connection of aquaponics to traditional ways of knowing. 


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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawai?i, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.