It takes an ‘Ohana

March 5, 2012 § 2 Comments

In Hawaiian culture, the word `ohana means family. Traditionally it meant blood-related but now the term has expanded to mean those individuals you “adopt” or intentionally include into your family. Living on a farm means that there is a great deal of work to do and as a result, we have found that we need more hands beyond our own. Currently, Reynaldo is visiting from Peru and he has been helping us on the farm since late November. Frankly, I’m not sure how we managed so long without him. He has pruned coffee – helped Tim with numerous farm chores – and his legacy will be his expanded gardens. As you know, we have goats. These four-legged members of the family have kept our gardens from growing beyond the too small fenced area. I’ve been able to grow food for the family but expanding our production in order to serve the community has been difficult due to lack of space. But Reynaldo was not deterred when he eyed three lava beds for a potential garden area; he jumped right in and built a fence from materials readily available on the farm – coffee limbs and lava rocks. With a few minor adaptations, the fence is holding and at market this past week, I was able to bring beautiful bundles of arugula, mustard, and salad greens. Kale, beets and carrots will be following shortly. Unfortunately, Reynaldo leaves us this month to head back to his home. He’ll be missed, not only for his service but also for his good company. He is now a part of our family. `Ohana emphasizes that individuals are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another. Every time I work in the new garden beds built by his hard work and determination, Reynaldo will be a part of the planting and harvest, March 2012for he is part of our `ohana.

I highly recommend the MESA – Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture – program that sponsors international farmers to come to the United States. The program facilitates a “share and learn” experience. And for us, it was a wonderful opportunity to connect with another culture and learn about other agricultural possibilities. We look forward to adding another member to our `ohana in the near future. To learn more, visit


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