Sea Salts of Hawaiʻi: A Legacy of Tradition and Conservation

In 1979, a young Melanie Kelekolio was captivated by the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion project, imagining a future for herself amidst its wonders. Today, Melanie is a proud advocate of Kona Salt Farm by Sea Salts of Hawaiʻi, nestled in the Natural Energy Lab on the Kona coast. This region, rich in history and climate, has long been revered as a salt-gathering hub. While times have changed, the farm's essence remains the same - merging progress with respect for ancient traditions. Their collaboration with the Papahānaumokuākea project epitomizes this balance. As they support coral reef and marine life conservation, they also spread awareness through farm tours, emphasizing the importance of preserving Hawaiʻi's marine ecosystem. For Melanie and the team, it's about keeping traditions alive, promoting ocean conservation, and following one's heart to make a difference.

Melanie Kelekolio
Chief Salt maker | Sea Salts of Hawaiʻi
Video Transcript

We did a tour, a class tour of the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion project known as OTEC. This was in 1979, and I was just so taken by the project and the area, and back at that, my 13 year old self. I thought I could see myself working here.

My name is Melanie Kelekolio, and I work for the Kona Salt Farm by Sea Salts of Hawaiʻi. We're located at the Natural Energy Lab here on the Kona coast. Part of the area has been known throughout the years as a place where a lot of the paʻakai was gathered, mainly because of the area, the climate in this area specifically. So I feel like we are still carrying through with some of the traditions. You know, with progress, right it is change, we're trying to change but still be sensitive to what's always been here all along. So it's finding that balance.

The Papahānaumokuākea project is one really close to our hearts and us being able to sort of help, you know, fund their project. They go up there twice a year to do these huge cleanups and they're, you know, saving a lot of that marine life as well as the coral reefs. We feel that's probably the least we can do is actually talk about it here at our farm. You know, when we have our tours, we talk about it. So it kind of brings it to light for more people than just us, you know, ourselves. Not only are we giving 1% of our proceeds, but we're also spreading the word, and that's really important for us bringing the attention to this place and to what we do here.

I think that in itself has been so successful in where we're trying to go, and I'm so glad that I actually followed, you know, followed that 13 year old heart of mine and, and wound up here.

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