We are a couple in our mid-50s who have been stewarding this land for almost one year. We're looking for motivated & energetic people to help us get over the hump of some large tasks, move forward with cultivating seeds, cuttings, stock for green manure, and planting trees for a diverse edible, native and habitat forest. In the process we hope to offer good hospitality, company and mentorship.
The farm is not a commercial or income-producing operation. We both have other jobs: movement educator/Rolfer/Thai Massage therapist and carpenter/builder. However, for this year we're taking on minimal hours on outside clients and projects, just to cover some bills. Our energy is 99% focused on our land as a personal homestead, and a Workaway helper can expect us to be working right alongside them. In 3-5 years we may have the capacity to start a small nursery operation but that is still far in the future.
Our 5-acre land on the Hamakua Coast of Hawai'i Island has been home to many intensive agricultural operations over the past decades, including a rose farm (before cut flower production moved to South America), an anthurium/orchid farm, vegetables, eucalyptus seedling nursery, and cow grazing. Many of these uses have been extractive and hard on the land. The nursery propagation in particular left a lot of rubbish to clean up. Most recently neglect allowed existing fruit trees to die, fences to fall, and water lines to break. We've been working steadily to repair everything and are planting cover crop, food and ornamental plants almost every day.
Helpers would be expected to help us with the creative and regenerative work of preparing the ground for new plantings, planting food & nitrogen-fixing trees, tending existing trees and working in the garden & propagation area as well as with the rehab work (clean-up of agricultural debris on the land, which is mostly down to manageable items like old sections of pipe, buckets, nursery pots, small pieces of broken fencing etc. but which we want to be meticulous about). There are so many projects to do, so apart from the essential work of cleaning & preparing the land for planting (which is our top priority), we hope helpers will have choices about where to help according to their interests and skills.
There are always a lot of tasks that are not directly plant- or soil-related, such as construction projects, so we also welcome people with skills to help us accomplish these. They include things like building trellises for vines, building propagation tables, etc.
The work that is happening on our place is the work of Beginning.
It's the work of approaching the blank slate and imagining the future. It's the work of initiating, planning, envisioning; and also of repairing, restoring and replenishing. It's not yet the work of "listening to the sound of fruit dropping." For almost one year we've been cleaning up the land, removing derelict structures and preparing soil. We look for helpers who are willing to learn this phase of farmsteading, to gain the experience of entering onto raw or damaged land in order to participate in soil-building & planting for diversity. Anyone who has the vision & enthusiasm for the hard work of Beginning is welcome!
***We ask that prospective helpers read through the following and make sure that they’re OK with making these agreements with us:
- To bring their own work gloves, work boots or closed-toe shoes and sturdy work pants. This is a requirement. We want everyone to be safe and protected when working. Even though this is Hawaii, we don’t only wear shorts and sandals in the field, though of course that’s totally fine if appropriate. Pulling out old fencing = protective work clothing required. Sowing seed trays = dress as you like!
- To abstain from cannabis, tobacco, and all recreational drugs and alcohol during their stay with us. We really mean this and we really appreciate your respecting this request.
- To understand that we don’t live by the beach, and that we don’t have good public transportation here. On days off, travel to the beach or any other recreational areas would be your responsibility, though we would be happy to help as we can and share rides when we go that way.
- To have a clear plan for departure day and to communicate with clarity throughout our time together about any thing important such as need to change plans, etc. .
We're hard-working but fun-loving people who have a strong motivation to bring more health, beauty & diversity to this land. We like to eat well, read, discuss and learn; we like to hike, go to the ocean, play and balance effort with rest. Between the two of us we have extensive gardening, farming and homebuilding experience. Our ask is for some dedicated help in taking our land to the next step, and our intention is to build relationships that will allow helpers to feel welcomed, appreciated and rewarded as they take part in caring for this Island.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Help around the house
We have both lived, traveled and worked extensively abroad, and have received so much hospitality & kindness from our hosts in other countries. Our freedom to travel has with changed with our commitment to the land, and Covid has transformed the landscape for many of us, but we are still as curious & eager as before to connect with other people from around the world. We would like to offer our own hospitality & welcome to our helpers through the sharing of mentorship, collaboration, friendship, good meals (and recreational outings together if it works out.) What we can share are our skills in farming & gardening, building, eco-projects and farm management.
We speak English, Spanish and French.
- Propagate (in temporary propagation areas): many varieties of vegetables green manure plants; food & habitat trees
- Build rock retaining walls with larger rocks removed from planting areas
- Plant: nitrogenous & other fast-growing biomass trees, diverse cover crops, fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers.
- Install pond & Plant pond area
- Weed / prune: existing trees of low utility or that are shading growing areas; noxious weeds
- Clean the land of agricultural debris and waste left by previous users. 1 acre has been fully cleared and the remaining 4 acres have varying degrees of need.
- Build: permanent shade/greenhouse & propagation area; goat shed
- Establish large composting area with multiple piles
- We're always doing ongoing work restoring the 1966 house: sanding, scraping, painting, repairing windows and screens, etc.
This host offers a language exchange
We speak Spanish, French and English. Slowly but study working on study of ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. In the past I studied Hindi and Tibetan.
A nice room in our house with its own bathroom.
Helpers can also tent camp if they prefer to have space outside the house.
The Hawai'i of tourist brochures is a poor reflection of the Island's true essence. Yes, Hawai'i is rich in natural beauty, walking & hiking opportunities, ocean, mountains and forests. Its cultural traditions are profoundly earth-based and should be respected & honored. What helpers do in their time off is only limited by their energy & interests. Public transport is regular but not extensive. We may be able to help. We love to walk & to explore.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Internet is fine for us.
Let's discuss whether this can work. Hookups are not available.
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week