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Learn and Earn

Page history last edited by unityfire888@... 15 years, 2 months ago










serious vermi-students




Harmony Farm in Anahola is committed to sharing successful permaculture practices and soil restoration efforts with local youth in order to educate and collaborate with them in creating more island self-reliance and a healthier ecosystem.


This summer, 2007, interns are learning the cycle of vermiculture snd how it integrates in a permaculture system. Interns are earning money operating the vermiculture system while gaining a general permaculture experience in the process.


Interns match paid field-work hours with "volunteer" hours devoted to learning related vital life skills. In this case we're exploring

vermiculture's potential to help regenerate soil island-wide.  Interns and mentors together are learning the process of starting a cooperative micro-green vermi-business that focuses on soil education and promotes self-reliance.  






Why is this so important?


Kauai imports over 90% of its food. Our food security can be measured in days should the ships stop coming.


The hidden costs of eating imported and GMO food is more than the next generation can afford--when you count the cost to the planet, the island ecosystem, the local economy, our health and our sense of security.


The reefs are choking of siltation and run-off. Everytime it rains the bays turn brown. Contrary to popular wishful thinking, this phenomenon is not natural but points to big problems uphill.



Most of our agricultural topsoil (common heritage) is virtually gone.


Our aquifers are at risk of drying up as rain water is running over roads, roofs and hard earth directly into the ocean rather than absorbing through a spongy topsoil and going deep down to replenish the aquifer.


Youth are increasingly at risk of becoming involved in dangerous activities. They are in dire need of inspirational guidance.



Older people need to interact with young people to remember what's real. They need to create opportunities for youth as much as  youth need opportunities.


Increasingly, Kauai's young people are having to leave their island home to find meaningful work and education, mostly because the cost of living is so high, but also for lack of opportunities. They need opportunities.



If we continue on our current course Kauai will soon be an island full of old wealthy people with a few servants, no local food, no topsoil, and a dead reef. 



Everyone (deep down) wants to eat locally produced organic food, AND we want it to be affordable. Unfortunately, most of the agricultural land on Kauai has been depleted due to agricultural practices of preceeding generations.



Most people have no idea how poor the soil is or what it takes to grow food here. At the same time, most people WISH they had a healthy garden near their house and they could harvest whenever they want.  Everyone, at least sometimes, wish they had fat fruit trees outside too.


Finding experienced gardeners, land stewards, farm workers and soil restorationists is even more challenging. Finding any workers on Kauai who will show up consistently and work is increasingly more difficult because it's expensive to live here and people cannot afford to work cheaply. Many workers need 2-3 jobs to survive. 


More and more Anahola youth and neighbors want to learn about what we're doing here. There are 9-10 kids who show up on this farm to help. HF has employed them as funds allow, however, there is a need a program, a curriculum that combines education with on-the-job-training, and funding.


At 3 years old, Harmony Farm has been very busy planting, irrigating, weeding, mulching and feeding. It is now ready and needing to shift focus to harvesting, marketing, adding value to and generating income with products of the aina. Being a diversified planting, this will require plenty of creativity and collaboration. 




What do we hope to Accomplish?



The goals of Harmony Farm and this summer program are in alignment with Permaculture Ethics: to take care of aina, each other and to share the surplus.


To share knowledge, resources and opportunity of local self-reliance beginning with soil regeneration and using permaculture methods.


To do our best in every opportunity to steward the aina in a way that benefits the whole watershed community, human and otherwise, beyond boundaries including deep underground and far out into the ocean.


To encourage all neighbors to join us in growing food, forests and soil and sharing their surplus too.


To participate in the community not as a center but as part of a patchwork-a growing network of gardens, farms, stewardship forests, botanical gardens and restoration projects who, all together, are reweaving a healthy ecosystem.





Educating the youth with stable ecological awareness is the MOST important opportunity we have for the future.


To take a posiive first step toward our very lofty goals.


A goal of the Harmony Farm Earn and Learn program is to teach, and learn with, interns, hands-on, how to work and run their own sustainability projects in the community, not only with vermiculture designs, but also nurseries and organic gardens, composting, and eventually regeneration/recycling.




As a result of the interest of these local kids, Harmony Farm has an increasing commitment to offering not just work, but meaningful education about taking care of the aina, as well as income-generating opportunities doing ag/sustainability work.


To outreach to the local community and help educate about the wonders of worms.


Harmony Farm Cooperative will run the worm business as part of its educational outreach, to promote environmental health and island sustainability.



Another goal of Harmony Farm is to learn from and with local sources of wisdom including kupuna and the neighboring Ka Nui Ka Pono Hawaiian Cultural Charter School to learn chants, protocol,  and share mana'o about caring for the land, also other local programs.





By matching needs and resources (a fundamental permaculture principle), Harmony Farm has found some viable solutions to the lack of happy, experienced farm workers: one of those is by matching farms and students thus fulfilling needs of both simultaneously.




...other farms and green projects are also realizing this match made in heaven: HF wants to contribute to the success of this organically growing movement of training young earth stewards by encouraging an island-wide collaborative mentor program.


As mentioned above, this summer's program includes both paid field work and matching hours devoted to learning related life skills. 


Field work includes making vermi-compost, brewing and spraying vermi-compost tea, sheet mulching, tree care, cover crops, companion planting, raising organic laying chickens (including feeding, health and hygiene, droppings, eggs, and housing),



Matching hours are devoted to learning about start-up of this small sustainable vermi-business and participating in the July 14 community outreach event at KCC, (The Hawaii Healing Garden)making worm start-up kits and preparing educational materials. and learning about and practicing fundraising.



Interns simultaneously begin to experience growing basic sustainable perma-food crops

such as dryland taro, pumpkins, bananas, papayas, coconut, breadfruit/nut, sugar, beans and potatoes.




Making the castings sifter with girl power!


At the end of this training, interested interns may continue working with the Harmony Farm Cooperative, earning income by designing and installing vermi-composting systems for neighbor gardeners, farmers, livestock growers, restaurants, schools, hospitals, churches and community centers. Harmony Farm Cooperative will oversee the projects and provide consultation, guidance, and help in business development. Harmony Farm intends to participate in a cooperative CSA that will increase opportuntity for economic sustainability.



The graduate interns may continue their sustainability education with other Earn and Learn programs as they develop, such as the upcoming Nursery and Garden program, or sister programs, including the Farm Incubator Project, The Compost Cooperative Mentor program at Anahola Akamai Mahi'ai Project, Anahola Native Plant Nursery, also the Kalalea Stream Restoration, Slope Stabilization and Reforestation Project and hopefully many more.





Whose idea to serve noodles for lunch at Worm School???






This is a 3-year old permaculture farm in Anahola known affectionately as Harmony Farm. It is a diversified planting, including fruit and nut trees, nitrogen-fixing and other beneficial trees, understory, native plants, ornamentals, medicinals, bamboos, food plants, flowers, groundcovers....


Because the soil (clay) in this area is so depleted, a successful soil regeneration project is underway at Harmony Farm. Utilizing permaculture principles, a variety of methods and local organic resources function together to grow soil and feed trees and gardens. The farm also raises chickens, worms, and high-grade, rich organic worm compost--in abundance! Much of this activity orbits around a sizeable vermicomposting operation:


    • transforming commercial organic food waste, chicken droppings, cardboard, mulch, and shredded paper into worm castings rich in beneficial microbials, nutrients, and mana. Compost tea is then brewed from the worm castings and sprayed on the soil, plants and trees with amazing results.



Zero Waste! In the process of remediating the soil, waste that would otherwise go to the landfill is being diverted into the worm bins and feeding the soil. Cardboard, junkmail, shredded paper and all organic matter, including manure, are valuable resources that must be returned to the soil. All organic matter needs to be properly composted and returned to the soil everywhere on Kauai, and Harmony Farm is modeling this. People need to be educated in this area.


Research and Development: A diversity of people work on the farm, therefore systems and methods are being developed/documented on a pbwiki site so everyone who comes to help can reference, study, collaborate, or check out the farm before they even arrive. Besides being functional for farm operations, this is the beginning of a comprehensive curriculum that begins with soil regeneration, land design and growing sustainable food, and leading to reforestation, stream restoration, slope stabilization and terracing....


Principles and practicesof Harmony Farm include: neighbors-helping-neighbors, each-one-teach-one, cooperative organization, collaboration and relocalization. This program is the beginning stage of establishing a cooperative to work hand-in-glove with Harmony Farm. Everyone involved has the opportunity to participate in a cooperative as equal members, whether student or teacher, worker or owner.


The farm is located directly below Kalalea Watershed Regeneration/Reforestation project, and supports the watershed regeneration effort. Harmony Farm is a seed farm which, in collaboration with other seed farms/nurseries/projects, can feed and nurture the next level of watershed regeneration as well as the next generation of land stewards.



Check out all these WORMS!



For Harmony Farm, the challenge now, of course, is funding to pay these young "farmers-in-training" a living wage while they're training and while we're developing business plans and curricula simultaneous to teaching them the hands-on work. Farmers should be well-supported and thus inspired. Everyone wants these young people, future farmers and caretakers of the aina, to feel motivated. This Earn and Learn Program is our first step towards solving that problem. With this plan students and mentors are supported by angels in the community to do the start-up work. The results of their collaboration will be a sustainable cooperative business that can stand on its own and generate income for future coop members






*Interns incentives (pay young worker/trainees)

*Trainers/Mentors incentives

*Curriculum Development

*Vermi-Business Development

*Preparation for Public Event:

        educational materials, start-up kits, worms and castings preapred



*Nursery Development

*Curriculum Development for next phase

*Regeneration Station/Recycle Development


Please send any donor-directed donations to INCF:

Inter-Nation Cultural Foundation:

at P.O.Box 1271 Kilauea, HI. 96754.

If you are sending a check, please write "Grow Soil/Grow Food Mentor Program" on the memo blank on your checks

Or throughout this pbwiki site you will see other specific projects you may choose to donate to,

You can specify or generalize any level of the overall effort as we are all working cooperatively.

Donor-directed non-profit is a beautiful thing as it offers choice to the donor as well as ensuring that the money really goes where you want it to.

If you have any questions about INCF, you may direct them to

holito@hawaiiantel.net or call 808 826-1617.


For questions concerning Harmony Farm,

Worm School or Regeneration Projects, please contact:





Cristal Harmony 634-0292





Please see Budget: Worm School Budget





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