Author: Alice

Combining Sustainability and Agrotourism on the Big Island

Located on Hawai’i’s lush Big Island, the Ohana Retreat is an intimate vacation property that offers a home away from home for visitors from around the world. One of its most enticing features is acres of botanical gardens and orchards that surround the home. Resort owner Bruce Bergey, a retired NFL player, understands the importance of protecting Hawai’i’s natural wonders and is committed to agrotourism. In fact, guests are encouraged to stroll the gardens, relax in a hammock, and select from more than 100 tropical fruits growing nearby for their daily meals. From mango to papaya and pineapple to lilikoi, Ohana Retreat offers its guests a hands-on immersion into the local flora and fauna. While Hawai’i is known for its tropical landscape and unforgettable island views, Big Island residents also experience alternating periods of rain and drought each year. Restrictions on irrigation and water use are common. Integrating sustainable water practices into the management of its orchards, botanical gardens, and bird sanctuary was key for Ohana Retreat. The cornerstone of their sustainability plan was adding ten 290-gallon water tanks, used to collect and store rainwater during the rainy season. The water tanks both supply off-the-grid water during dry periods and provide a visual reminder to its guests of the importance of water conservation and sustainable tourism practices. The resort is also powered by 100% solar. rainwater catchment tank by LightManufacturing“With the recent water shortages, it’s been a challenge to keep all of our citrus trees alive,” said Bruce Bergey, retired Kansas City Chief player and owner of Ohana Retreat. “We put the tanks in to support the orchard and they have worked out perfectly.” Buying local is another way to reduce the property’s environmental impact. Bergey chose local manufacturer LightManufacturing – Big Island for its water tanks. The company’s innovative product is made in Kona using a patented Solar Rotational Molding system that derives heat from the sun to safely mold the rainwater catchment tanks from 100% renewal resources, without burning fossil fuels in the process. The unique solar technology makes both sustainable manufacturing and drought-condition watering a reality on the Big Island. The FDA-compliant plastic, solar-molded tanks are both easy to install and designed for durability, with UV-resistance a key feature. In addition to producing the tanks without creating carbon or greenhouse gas pollution, the company recycles the plastic it uses, keeping it out of landfills. The sustainable manufacturing process is also used to produce aquaculture tanks, road barriers, septic tanks and kayaks, all items that previously had to be imported to Hawaii. Removing shipping fees helps LightManufacturing keep prices low for its environmentally conscious customers. Visitor’s to Ohana Retreat can learn how local artisans turn cacao into dark chocolate. As they stroll the property’s grounds, they can discover more about the flora and fauna that surrounds them. Inside, they can enjoy locally produced Kona Coffee and fruit picked straight from the garden, from bananas to papaya and star fruit to jackfruit. Because of the property’s commitment to agrotourism and sustainable practices, they can also learn how Big Island locals are conserving water with locally made rainwater catchment tanks from LightManufacturing.