One of my favorite quotes is by 12th century theologian and author John of Salisbury. He said “We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours.” It seems practically everything we do and know is because of the people of the past. We too will add to the height of the giants with our own advancements and discoveries. But I often ask myself, what would happen if that giant were to be removed from underneath our feet? Would we still be able to stand tall? Do we know the giants? Where they came from? What they are made of? How they got so tall?
It hasn’t always been so easy to contact a person halfway across the world, to predict the weather, or to even have three full meals a day. Thanks to the giants, many things now come easy to us. However, we are currently facing some problems as American people. One of which is this: our country is consuming four times more resources than the next wealthiest country. Four times! Are things perhaps maybe a little too easy for some of us? Unless we start making efforts to reduce this, the results could be catastrophic for the entire world. I don’t mean to bring about that bone-chilling-fire-and-brimstone voice of guilt, I’m just reminding us of an issue that can be solved if we all make an effort to change the direction in which we are heading. It’s time to figure out why these things are happening which may require going back to the basic of all basics. This effort isn’t something that needs to be dreaded. I believe this effort can be exciting and invigorating. I believe that one pathway can be made by getting back to the basics of food- by learning where it comes from, how to grow it and nurture it, how to conserve it; that is the journey I am currently on.
My name is Chelsea and I currently reside in a town called Ninole, which is located on the northeastern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Only a week ago I was in my hometown; Wichita, Kansas. I came here through an organization called WWOOF, which stands for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Through this organization, one can find farms anywhere in the world to work on in exchange for food and a place to stay. As a recent college graduate, I can say it is a great way to travel since all you have to pay for is the plane ticket there and any activities you plan to do while staying there. The farm is called Everyone Grows and is owned by Drean and Pam Barely.
One of the main goals here at the farm is working to allow people to more easily grow their own food, to come together in an effort to conserve and process their own food. We make starter beds for people who maybe have never grown their own food, don’t have good soil, or don’t have the time to get their own seeds started. We offer a variety of vegetables like radish d’avignon, pac choi, bok choy, 5 types of lettuce, beets, spinach, parsley, cilantro, basil, kale, purple mizuna, and jalapeno.
We also sell and trade some of the produce we grow from our own gardens in areas nearby once to twice a week. We are currently at an elevation of around 1200 ft. At elevations such as these on the island, it’s easy to grow most vegetables but most fruits prefer the lower elevations where the weather is a bit warmer and drier. Drean has recently acquired some land in Waa Waa, about an hour and a half south of here, which has a better atmosphere for growing things like avocado, mango, papaya, and pineapples. This is all in the works. Between working in Ninole and Waa Waa, our work varies day to day from making starter beds, tending to the chickens and gardens, painting the greenhouse, to weeding, clearing, and building. More times than not I wake up with sore muscles- it’s hard work! But let me tell you, it feels sooo good in so many ways.
The farm here in Ninole consists of a house, cabin, cabana (where I sleep), loft, wwoofer lounge, greenhouse, chicken coop, and outdoor french-bed gardens. There are also two dogs, two cats, 25 Road Island Red hens, and two wwoofers other than myself from Connecticut and Canada. Most of the electricity here is solar and most of the water is obtained by the stream nearby. I’ve only been here for a week and I must tell you, I’m falling in love! (With the Island, of course) I fall asleep every night to the sound of the nearby waterfall and rushing river, swarming smells of ginger from the giant ginger tree outside my cabana, and the bright stars from the night’s sky as my nightlight. I have been bathing outdoors in a nearby natural pool surrounded by waterfalls. On my walk to these pools, I often will grab a guava, or a strawberry guava or two, from the trees lining the sides or the road to eat on the way.
At our elevation, the view of the ocean takes one’s breath away as it extends eastward for miles and miles into the horizon. The temperatures range between 70-85 degrees daily. I eat delicious natural foods for every meal that I don’t have to walk more than 100 feet to obtain. But most importantly, the best part is that I’m learning so much everyday about organic gardening, raising chickens, maintaining a farm, and living in a community. Drean has been incredibly hospitable not only with my wonderful living accommodations but a recent trip to Hapuna Beach and access to a vehicle on weekends that we are free to use to explore the Island. Every time I talk to Drean I feel I gain something; he is a man full of wisdom, experience, and motivation to make the world a better place.
As I mentioned before, the effort to make a difference can be exciting and invigorating! I am privileged to share mine with you and only hope you find it encouraging in one way or another. Thanks for listening! Aloha for now.. much, much more to come
From the Hawaiian Farm
Chelsea; aka Hawaiian Farm Girl
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