Friday, March 16, 2012

Maui Trip: The Farms

On our trip to Maui we stayed at two different farms. Two VERY different farms. Each one had it's own lessons to teach us. I plan on making posts going over some of the lessons I encountered but I thought first I would introduce you to our two farms. 

The first one, you have already had a little picture introduction to in previous posts:
Hana FarmsThis farm is a business. They have a banana bread & fruit stand right on the Hana Highway. All WWOOF'ers work trade hours go towards helping the business in one way or another. You either help make the products, work the stand, or work the land which supplies some of the ingredients & fruit for the stand (though not many people are allowed this position). I also helped a little with their facebook page & website as well. 
Hana Farms offers one of the most generous work exchange set up's we came across. Which is why we chose to go to Maui instead of the big island where you will find the majority of Hawaii WWOOF farms. 
At Hana Farms we happened to come at a time when they were low in staff so we had our pick of a few different cabins. The work trade hours were minimal (25 hours a week which includes 6 hours of "garden time") and all of our food was paid for. The food set up was awesome and anytime someone had a complaint I thought about all the other WWOOF farms where they give you only bare bones minimum (some rice and beans). Heck, they even went out and bought us special things like goat yogurt & special cheeses. One thing I can say about the owners of this farm is that they are generous (but of course are weary of being taken advantage of). The farm is on grid. They have water supplied by the city, a clothes washer & dryer, an actual toilet, & a propane heated shower. The kitchen, clubhouse, and some of the cabins have water & electricity in them. The clubhouse even has a projector which allowed for many "movie nights". To us, this place was very luxurious. 
We were very grateful for our time at Hana Farms but also wanted to experience some of the more sustainable practices we would love to implement in our own home. Because of this, we decided to switch farms for our last 3 weeks in Maui. (you can see more pictures of Hana Farms in my previous posts HERE)

 The second farm we stayed at was in the next town over Nihiku. I won't name this farm since I will be talking about some of their very awesome & sustainable yet somewhat illegal practices. 
The Nihiku farm was 3 acres with around 30 chickens, 5 goats, completely off grid powered by solar panels, rain water catchment, composting toilet, solar hot water shower, grey water, etc. The farm is a sustenance farm for the residents. No food or farm products get sold to the public so our work there was very different than at Hana Farms. Here, our work trade was about 15 hours a week, & we were encouraged to come up with our own tasks to work on. The residents there had some cool projects started & the garden could always use weeding & tending. I loved spending time with the animals and really enjoyed spending time with the goats. It surprised me how affectionate they could be. One specifically loved rubbing her head against mine which was the cutest thing ever. The community dynamic at this farm was very different as well. Here we ate meals together with even the owners & their children. It was really nice to have that time together instead of having it only be about work. That simple act did wonders to make it feel more like a community. Food costs were shared by all the WWOOF'ers. People would just take turns purchasing the food & all items were open for anyone to eat. It created some small issues but I was surprised by how well it actually did work. 

Here are some pictures of the Nihiku farm:

Looking out on the goat yard

chickens & gardens

Solar hot water heated shower (with propane as a backup)

one of many ponds

Bamboo tool rack Dan built

Solar dehydrator Dan built

1 comment:

  1. Hello. Aloha
    I am finding myself lucky and blessed enough to be returning to Maui this coming April and I am on the search for living accomodations.
    The idea of working for trade, being a part of a community, working with the earth and saving some dollars is very appealing to me. I do have to say though that being in Hana feels a little far as I will be partaking in a training in Makawao and likely spend much of my time on the East and North side of the island
    I am wondering if there is any chance you might have a suggestion for any other farms I could try to contact

    Thank you kindly for your time and help