Just the other day, Louie Agard, a long time childhood friend, called to tell me about Kahumana Organic Community Farm, because he knew that I was looking for that connection between farmers and community, especially with the hospitality sector to improve their incomes and the community well being, as I'm trying to do with my work in Fiji. So we head out to Waiana'e in Leeward O'ahu where the farm and facilities are nestled on a plateau at the base of the Waiana'e ranges. We got more than we expected as Christian, the farm manager, and CJ, his able and pert assistant, who runs the gift shop and creates herbal extractions, showed us around their facilities. Their 40+ acres not only has sustainable 10 acres of poultry, orchards, aquaculture, trading seed bank with nursery, and about 5 acres of production, but also permanent housing for the homeless, accommodation for farmstays, a vegetarian restaurant and giftshop, an apprenticeship program for farming and many scheduled events and workshops.
Christian's day begins early with his 8 apprentices and about 4 woofers as they harvest and pack their orders for local high-end restaurants and their own cafe. Some then tend to the chickens, ducks, turkeys, harvesting eggs and feeding out. Others tend to the fields, watering, weeding, planting or preparing and cultivating. A couple work in the nursery, planting and transplanting seedlings. Christian juggles these duties with improving sales, marketing his products, maintaining classes and helping homeless families work and learn to find their independence whilst trying to as least break even in a not for profit organization. We were enlightened and impressed with their attitude and work ethic. Check out their web site: www.kahumana.org to see what some in our community are doing to help others. "The way we care for the most vulnerable members of our society determines our mark as a people and a nation." Our mission is to co-create a healthy, inclusive and productive farm-based community with homeless families, people with disabilities and youth. We accomplish this through the practice of mindfulness (maka’ala), empathy (aloha), and working together (lokahi)..