ABOUT ʻĀINA MOMONA
‘Āina Momona (Hawaiian for the fertile or rich land) is a Native Hawaiian 501(c)(3) organization proudly founded by Walter Ritte for the purpose of achieving environmental health and sustainability through restoring social justice and Hawaiian sovereignty. We are led by a board of exceptional Native Hawaiians that support the critical work of our talented staff who work in grassroots communities to restore fragile ecosystems, promote cultural rights and practices, enhance community well-being, and advocate for native rights and social justice.
‘Āina Momona has four primary program areas that the organization focuses on: ‘Āina (land and environmental health), ‘Ai (food and agriculture), Wai (water) and Ea (sovereign, resistance and social justice).
ʻĀina Momona's land base is Keawanui Fishpond and Cultural Learning Site in the Kaʻamola land section of Molokaʻi.
Keawanui is a 55-acre, loko kuapā (closed wall fishpond) on the south shore of the island, where there were once dozens of thriving loko iʻa.
Due to the ongoing effects of colonization, land development, and climate change there are few fishponds in Hawaiʻi today that are still operable, though many in the community are working to revitalize these crucial, mariculture practices.
Our executive director, Walter Ritte, has spent over 25 years working to restore loko iʻa (Hawaiian fishponds) and has spent decades at Keawanui educating the community on the value and ingenuity of these systems. As we work towards building a sustainable, climate change resistant future in Hawaiʻi, the traditional loko iʻa system will be a vital part of local food production efforts and crucial to our survival as kānaka. It is paramount that we revitalize and reinvigorate these practices to create a just, equitable, and pono future.
ʻĀina Momona's staff work year round to maintain and restore Keawanui, engaging with the wisdom left to us by our kūpuna and carrying it forward for future generations.