Waihuena Farm: So Much More than a Garden
Mar 31, 2015 07:46AM
● By BLAKE LEFKOE
Waihuena Farm, located on the North Shore, is as much of a community-gathering place as it is a garden. With yoga classes, boot camps, workshops, healthy potluck dinners, movie nights, parties, baby/toddler music groups, an afterschool program for kids and a great community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, there’s something for almost everyone.
To start with, the gardens are filled with delicious, organic kale, collard greens, chard, bok choy, daikon, radishes, beets, avocados, bananas, papayas, arugula, tomatoes, carrots, string beans and, last but not least, some of the tastiest wing beans ever grown. The farm sells its produce on Saturday mornings at the North Shore Country Market, located at Sunset Beach Elementary School, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. People can also buy it right at the “source,” the farm itself.
It costs $25 a week to join Waihuena’s CSA program. Every Monday, from 2 until 6 p.m., members pick up baskets filled with a variety of the farm’s organic fruit and vegetables. There are also greens, mushrooms, citrus, eggs and more available from other organic farms on the island that work with Waihuena to feed people sustainably grown, healthy food. Produce is available for purchase by the general public as well.
Organic farming is only one item in a long list of sustainability practices at Waihuena. Every building on the land is powered by solar energy, and many are equipped with a solar water heater. Volunteers collect food scraps from local restaurants and food trucks that are then fed to the 20 or so resident chickens. The chickens scratch at the weeds and poop on the grass, which fertilizes the land for future farming, and are then rotated to a different area of the field. Every item of food that has passed out of the realm of edibility gets composted to create mulch that fertilizes new fruits and vegetables. The newest method of sustainability on the farm is teaching the practice to today’s youth.
Every Wednesday after school, a group of kids take the trail from Sunset Beach Elementary through the woods and over to Waihuena Farm. Once there, they make art, practice yoga and learn how to farm and cook. They learn about the importance of organic, sustainable farming; composting; community; and teamwork.
Waihuena’s farmers want to propagate more than plants and know how important it is to fertilize the spirit, mind and body as well. In addition to the afterschool program, there are yoga classes, sustainability themed workshops (recent attendees learned how to make healthy bread at home), community events (such as farm dinners and movie nights) and a music class for babies/toddlers. Joel Tessier runs a boot camp three mornings a week where, after a butt-kicking workout, he teaches about the importance of nutrition, rest/recuperation, walking and cross-training.
Tessier also works in the gardens alongside numerous volunteers, called WWOOFers (willing workers on organic farms); full-time residents; and a few paid employees. Sunday, Monday and Wednesday are volunteer days. The farm provides lunch and education to anyone that wants to take part in whatever project is happening that day (it usually involves lots of laughing and playing in the dirt for a few hours).
The farm is located directly across the street from the Banzai Pipeline. The proximity to the biggest surfing events on the North Shore has made it even easier for Waihuena to be a part of the huge sustainability effort put forth by the Association of Surfing Professionals and Volcom over the past few years. All of the food waste produced at each of the four contests gets separated out of the rubbish and brought to the farm to be composted and used later for mulch, instead of going into a landfill.
Waihuena is committed to creating a place that not only nourishes people inside but outside as well.
Farm location: 59-414 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa. (It’s the closest dirt road on Haleiwa side of Sunset Elementary School, roughly one mile toward Kahuku from Foodland.) For more information, call 808-638-0570, email [email protected] or visit WaihuenaFarm.com.
Blake Lefkoe runs Aloha Editing from her home on the North Shore and is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings Hawaii magazine.