We spent Saturday morning volunteering at Hoa ‘Aina O Makaha (Land Shared in Friendship) farm here in Makaha. It was literally the most fruitful volunteer experience we’d ever had, and Patrick got lots of pointers for our own future garden.
The farm is on 5 acres of land owned by the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu. For many years the land sat vacant and unused. Then in 1979 Father Luigi Cocquio (Uncle Gigi) moved to Hawaii. The church challenged him to find something to do with the land…so he turned it into a farm. The farm went through many different stages of development before it became what it is today, which is mainly an educational farm for the Makaha Elementary School across the street.
According to their website, the farm has a volunteer day on the second Saturday of each month, which is why we decided to show up yesterday. I am pretty sure the people who run the farm forgot about that being on the website because they were certainly surprised to see us, but they were still happy to have us.
We spent the morning planting sweet potatoes and cabbage. We also hoed a row, laid some mulch, and pressed some sugar cane. Sugar is kind of crazy hard to make, in case you were wondering. At the end of the morning, they let us take whatever we wanted from the farm. The farm is really just an educational program; they don’t sale any of their harvest. Instead they just give a lot of it away to volunteers and students.
Not only did they send us home with bags full of fresh produce, but they also invited us to join them for lunch. They happened to be having having a retreat on the day we were there to teach local church and community leaders about the farm. Part of the retreat involved a delicious lunch using some of the things harvested from the farm. We really did not do enough work to merit such a payout!