Documentation of our day by day journey from the conception of a vision.
Documentation of our day by day journey from the conception of a vision.
Through this month we decided to work on ourselves while we cared for the land. Earlier in the month we had harvested some more peppercorn to dry. We have recently started to build our terraces, creating small dig-outs to reform rock walls to hold soil in place & hold the plants at different tiers for their growth. Around the middle of the month we started tackling a new cane field we recently discovered on our back border, we've already taken about a third of it down in the past week. Moving forward, on our upper terrace, we decided to make a mini-mala for the few Huli we had. A nice little 5.5x7 area with enough space in between them for keiki. As for our tool & space situation, we started to put up a shed to lessen the amount of space taken by tents. Putting up the platform for the shed wasn't all that easy, yet it was done smoothly. So far, we have the walls & lower-half of the frame up. Ending the month, we're planning for the construction on a bathroom, some kitchen flooring, as well as an office to operate the more needy work online in the future.
Starting off with some of the work we got done earlier in the month, we started collecting pallets for temporary materials. Making platforms for flooring as rain season is coming very fast. As you know, we've been clearing cane grass roots for some time now. While we soften up the ground for keiki plants to go into for growth, digging up the roots of the cane is like a sub-job. They're what makes it hard to dig regardless, they got to come out. Speaking of planting, this month some new keiki made it into the soil, 9 Cacao trees, 1 Chico tree, and 4 'Olena. We also found out we have Two Avocados that just sprouted not long ago, that are growing at the front of the property line. In the middle of the month we can to a realization that we have had a peppercorn tree which provides us with white pepper. After harvesting the bright red bunches of pepper, we've started trying to dry some to use. We're gonna prune a couple of trees for easier harvesting, we've already pruned the white peppercorn tree. Another small piece of exciting news is that our Poha berries are nearly ready for their first small harvest! Getting back on track, what we're going to do is get as much of those cane-grass roots out so we can continue expanding our growth areas. Having to clear space before planting each plant allows you the time and consideration of which spot each should go. Having planned ahead, we'll be starting two new projects for our keiki plants next month.
By the beginning of September, we got majority of our cane field cleared. Most of our cane grass work is now just getting the remaining roots out. As for what kinds of Keiki are further back by the cane grass area, we found a few dwellers that we kept from all over where we worked so far. We found a total of six noni keiki, however only one is in the cane area. Having also found a young Guava tree, which is already starting to fruit! What we planted for now is, Two Niu, giving our Guava some neighbors, and we planted a small patch of Tī which is already starting to sprout new leaves. Getting more into it, as I believe nothing was mentioned about the earlier keiki in which were already planted. in front of our guava tree, there's an area about 24 ft of space where we have a few of our other keiki. An 'Ulu, A Jackfruit, Two Lilikoi, and Two more Niu on the property line. We also have papayas randomly sprouting places. Anyway, by vastly opening the cane field, our team and our uncle are brightened by the work that we did.
August 9, 2021
As we continue to work, we see the differences each weekend. Our first cane grass patch is at about a half point to being gone. Steadily working to get the roots of invasive plants as well as our 6ft cane grass, keeps us wanting to see the new differences while we work on. Our cleared area is astounding to walk through, as the keiki plants grow and thrive in their new homes. As we get further into depleting the cane grass, we'll then be able to put more plants in the ground.
July 9, 2021
In terms of legal documentation, we have officially had the farm for three months, working mainly on the weekends. At this juncture, we have cleared about an acre by hand, and have planted approximately 30 items in a mixture of food and companion plants, as well as maintaining a native species status of about 83%
The photos to the left depict how the original state of the land was, chock full of invasive trees; mainly Fishtail palm, Octopus Trees, and African Tulip trees. What is only a 5 minute walk down the trail today, was once a 25 minute hike through a neglected jungle, back in April.
Having already cleared a decent sized area, it was time to begin planting some trees to maintain forest conservation and rain patterns, as well as to urge immediate food growth of long term vegetation.
The camping area has been refined for optimal day to day operations, and we now have a residential guard to protect the property.
We are in lieu of our first and second grant, of which will absorb certain major expenses to help us take a leap forward in productivity. Much of our labor efficiency has been reduced as most of the family had to seek a second job to make ends meet during the harsh summer finances. Planting of trees will continue to commence.
Under the mentorship of Alex & Georgia Pinsky, we will continue to be advised by Companion Plants Maui, and accompanied by Maui Family Farm Training Network. We are also working alongside the USDA Conservation Program, known as NCRS. Under this program we will document our progress from a land filled with invasive species, to a farm with endemic forest conservation.
Day 9: Wall Expansion
As of our 9th day, we had expanded our Brush walls to enhance our privacy from unwanted on-lookers as we work. Our wall now covers majority of our work area(s), and keeps us shaded during our break times. By keeping the trees that we have no need to cut, we can keep the tree-top canopy for extra shade and a cool breeze.
Day 8: Tree Pruning
Beginning our 8th day, one of our Uncles had come in to help us take down invasive trees, within a few hours we had a good portion of space made. Cutting the logs shorter, as well as stacking the logs, they were neatly moved to a designated area on the side. After cleaning up the debris, and moving unneeded tools away, we see that our opening for sunlight had expanded and gleamed bright. Having removed a few invasive species, we look forward to seeing native plants thriving as time goes.
Our Latest Blog Entry
Our Latest Blog Entry
Day 7: Mother's Day
On our 7th day we received confirmation that we will be a recipient of our first grant. This grant will provide us with a few hand-held tools to help our progress make its way to the next level. Thanks to donations from other farmers, we now have ample plants in which to begin our growth operation, however we want to assure that the trees have their new home well prepared before we move them in. Although we have a video of this day, which started with the drive across the northshore at 5am, we did not take photos or further documentation, choosing to celebrate motherʻs day in a socially distanced manner at Hana Bay. After lunch, we returned to the farm, removed a few more invasive tree root systems, planted the ti, and went home to rest.
Day 6: Looking at it from multiple angles
During the time that everyone is wrapping up the semester and some of us are graduating, we are only able to come out on Sundays. On this day we had our heaviest amount of volunteers. There were eight of us working side by side in an expanded area.
A large cane grass and bamboo meadow was reduced in size and more trails accompanied the previously cut walk paths.
The walking areas were cleared from debris and the low-lying tree limbs were cut from heights that are hazardous to walk through. Dreams commenced, as each person began developing their own vision. Each vision of each volunteer will find its niche in this development, hosting a variety of hope for the future. Each volunteer on this farm shall always have a place in their heart for Kaʻelekū, and Kaʻelekū will reciprocate their aloha ʻāina.
Day 5: Honoring Buddyʻs Space
In the center of the photo, our friend Buddy can be seen supervising our clean-up operations. Our goal on this day was to tidy up the brush walls, clear some more walk space, and to assure that the stones were stored nearby their natural habitats, under a tree local to the original area that the stones were removed from. The stones were pushed aside to reduce hazardous conditions while walking the property with equipment to get to other areas. When we are further in our journey, we will place the stones in small monumental places, to mark their history in that area. By the end of this day, our trails had expanded to perhaps one-fifth of the property.
Day 4: Gaining Perception
Wise man once said that we have to try on every pair of shoes to see what the people who wear them think or feel. In this case, we gained perception by clearing some more space in which to easily walk through the forest. However as depicted in the photo to the left, we can see that there are many obstacles to overcome.
At the bottom of the picture, the brush wall can be seen. By building brush walls, we are able to define sections that are under development and recycle the cut material, as not to waste the life of the land. Through the Jamaican lilikoi vine we can see one of our workers choosing the next tool, under the supervision of our famed landmark friend, Buddy. The vine goes throughout the entire property, draped on the tree tops above, and hanging out below, wherever the trees cannot support the vine. Much of the vine is so well established that it is about 2 inches thick in diameter in some places, with a bark exterior.
Day 3: Continuing to open walk space
After recruiting a few friends, we returned to clarify the working space that we previously opened. Buddy looked happy to see us, and kept all of our things in one location by providing a landmark in which to work from. We opened up the "driveway" and clarified the open space, while taking turns splitting up into excursion groups to assess how to move forward.
Friends of the Maui ʻOhana Garden Network, Food Security Hawaiʻi, and the Maui Family Farm Training Network brought great hope and joy by unleashing a man who was happy with his reciprocating saw. He tested his saw on some invasive trees that were too big for us to cut. Georgia Pinsky assisted in plant identification, which provided an enormous assistance to our planning committee for the cutting back stage. At no point whatsoever, do we want to harm an endemic species. Georgia was also instrumental in the arrangement of our first set of ulu trees to plant.
Day 2: Choosing a starting point
On day #2 Our team of four began hacking away at a section of haole koa trees - often thin trunked and heavily invasive. Equipped with nothing more than a few sickles, a shovel, a machete and a hatchet, we opened up an area in which to create our operation pad. Our initial decision was to open a path for a driveway, but nature would choose otherwise. At that point, the unidentified tree that presented itself as an obstacle, became known as Buddy. Buddy is now our supervisor. Our Buddy protects the entrance into our new growth space.
Day 1: Finding our way through the land
The property that we had chosen was a thick jungle of some native, but more invasive plants & trees that was neglected for a number of years. While the soil was rich with nutrients, each square foot was so densely forested, that it was overwhelming to go into.
After spending a half day praying on guidance, we unloaded a few items that would be needed on the farm, for the long haul.
We met a few neighbors who simply looked at us like we were crazy for refusing to use tractors on the land. Perhaps they never looked too deeply into the history of the area, or the density that we faced may have been overwhelming to them as well. Either way, our choice is to work the land in the same fashion that has been in practice for thousands of years.
This season was spent situating all of the paperwork and proof for the assisting agencies to acknowledge documentation.
Final approval and acquisition of the farm property was met with completion in April 2021.
After watching the real estate for a number of years, while completing genealogy in another aspect of time, we found one of the lands that our family derives from, and as opposed to spending decades fighting for the land, we utilized the resources available to us to secure a location in which to provide for the people. We had a long list of requirements in which to assure that we were taking the right steps in our process. These are the requirements:
1. The land had to be a land that our genealogy connects to
2. The land could not be in any current land battles involving other members who share common ancestors.
3. The land had to be in a position of potential settler danger, meaning that it had to be land that wanted to be protected and preserved.
4. The land had to be spacious enough to furnish the idea of conservation and ample food growth.
5. The land had to be well within the budget limit of the agencies that we were getting assistance from.
Life found a way to continue, through the pandemic. School had found a way to continue as did the farm program. Forging through the process, Kahala began to look at the options available to the family in which to farm.
Someone might ask how a person goes from a position of activism and correcting injustices, to becoming a farmer as a means to correct history. The story continues.
Farming in a food forest setting gives one an opportunity to conserve the natural environment, while producing important means of nutrition for the general population. It comes as the foundation of Maslowʻs Hierarchy of Needs. Once we take care of the base needs of people, people will be stronger to push forward.
All other needs can be met once the initial needs are met. People cannot feel confident in their capabilities when their needs are not met. We will handle justice from the bottom of the pyramid to the top.
March 5, 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic brought all things life to a screeching halt.
Our Second Blog Entry
Our Second Blog Entry
2019: Developing Clear Action Plans
With 50% of the family in college and the other 50% of the family in Home School, our plans began to take shape into tangible goals. Through the process of eliminating what we didnʻt want, we found a sense of clarity. An offering through the vocational programs at Maui College landed the enrollment of Kahala & Russell into a farm program. The year long program would bring us to the next phase of the construction of our dream. In addition to traditional school and farm school, Kahala also enrolled into a business cohort that was offered by the Council of Native Hawaiian Advancement.
Our First Blog Entry
Our First Blog Entry
2018: A Vision for the Future
After years of studying & commitment to the correction of injustices in both historical context as well as that of modern day, our family decided that it was time to put the truth aside to make way for survival. It was our third year of attempting to become farmers, but without a permanent land base, dreams of farming became realities of gardening in small apartment spaces. The journey toward sustainability became more than just reducing plastic packaging. The need to grow food to provide for the greater goodness of humanity started to emerge to the forefront. We cannot fight injustice on an empty stomach. At this time our actions included enrollment in college to learn how to elaborate on our goals, and how to put those goals into perspective alongside survival.