Our family was and is a lot like the majority of people who live in Hawaii, in that we live on Oahu and in “town” because that’s where the jobs are.
But we’ve always had ties to agriculture, our parents and grandparents, grew up on ranches, kept chickens, collected slop for piggeries and worked the pineapple fields for Dole.
So growing up it was important to them that we have an appreciation of everything that goes on in order to put food on our plates.
But living in apartments or townhouses our practical experience was limited to what could be grown in pots on our balcony or our community garden plot on the weekend. Despite or maybe because of these limited resources, the lessons were clear:
- food does not come from the grocery store
- the best meals are made from food that you’ve grown yourself
- access to fertile soil is invaluable
Understandably, the first thing we did when we got a place of our own was to plant a vegetable garden. Being able to have fresh greens everyday was so unbelievably satisfying and rewarding that we figured we’d try our hand at backyard chickens for fresh eggs… The experience was amazing! We raised the chicks, built them a coop, watched them mature and they rewarded us with beautiful golden, gravity defying eggs. And that’s how we got hooked on self-sufficiency. We read everything we could find, visited everyone we knew in “the country”, hung out at feed stores, joined clubs, took classes… anything to learn more.
A decade later, and we’re growing enough produce for ourselves with a surplus for our animals.
This doesn’t mean that we are “off the grid”. We still go to China Town and Costco for specialty items and good deals; there’s a whole world of food out there and we’re very interested in appreciating what it has to offer. But it does mean that when we feel like it, or when we need to, we can bake our own bread, make our own pasta, collects eggs, pick fresh fruits and vegetables, or harvest a fish or a rabbit.
Our choices are greater, our dependency is less, and our overall quality of life and health is better than it’s ever been.
We try to provide context and experiences that help people to understand and appreciate where their food comes from and how it is produced.
We want to empower people so that they can exercise their influence and participate in reshaping how our local food systems operate.
For us, this means:
- Making the conscience decision to patronize establishments that utilize local produce.
- Seeking out opportunities to “lend a hand” by volunteering to help and learn from local farmers who work to perpetuate traditional practices and develope modern methods to strengthen the capacity of our island food systems.
- Building friendships with our neighbors in agricultural communities, and trying to understanding of how we are all affected by policies, legislation, and the daily choices we make.
- Finding our own way to participate in sustainable food production.
- Challenging ourselves to broaden our own cooking practices by adopting new locally cultivated ingredients as they are developed.
We encourage people to get involved by providing a introductory “first step” to basic agricultural principles so that people can gather their own experience first hand.
We are passionate about what we do and work hard to demonstrate that there are many steps people can take to be more self-sufficient and sustainable.
If you are interested in implementing your own projects and could us a little help please feel free to contact us, we are always happy to lend support and encouragement wherever we can.
Good luck in all your future endeavors, from our family at Urban Farming Hawaii