Growing Farmers

During the first week of February, I was across the Pacific in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. With the opportunity to travel to a tropical island I was not just thinking about beaches and mai tais. I immediately wondered what does the agricultural scene look like on the island? Are there any certified organic farms, what do they grow, where do they sell, and who are the farmers?  I searched the internet for organic farms in Oahu, and only found a small handful.

The pathway leading to the North Shore Chamber of Commerce in Haleiwa

The pathway leading to the North Shore Chamber of Commerce in Haleiwa

I decided to reached out to MA’O Organic Farms, a non-profit that grows certified organic fruits and vegetables while cultivating youth leadership in the town of Waiʻanae. The awesome staff took time out of their busy day to give me a detailed tour of their amazing operation.

wp-1455567873736.jpg

They grow beautiful kale, chard, bok choy, carrots, turnips, radishes, herbs, incredible salad greens, and more on 24 acres. Their harvest is sold to multiple restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets, and their own CSA. To pull off this multi-faceted distribution they have one of the most efficient wash and pack houses I have ever seen. As you look into their wash house you see three lines of tables and racks with multiple water stations on each line where produce is cleaned, weighed, and bunched or bagged then later packed into boxes to fill the order that each final destination requires.

wp-1455568406538.jpg

The efficiency of production and beautiful produce alone make this working farm a star in any region but it gets better. The farm is managed by Waiʻanae youth, ages 18-24, who are part-time organic farmers and full-time college students. As a teaching and learning farm, MAʻO adheres to its Hawaiian cultural values to care and nurture the land in perpetuity to grow, process, package, prepare and share food in ways that are sustainable and just. This farm is made up of many hands, who all have a part in making this place a rock star operation.

wp-1455569519570.jpg

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Growing Farmers

  1. Great post…love the info. re the college students running the farm!Keep up the good work!Carol Davis, SonomaSent from XFINITY Connect Mobile App

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s