Exploring Kahumanu Farms in Waianae, Hawaii

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There’s something about food that enchants me. I love cooking, eating, but more recently, have become increasingly interested in where food comes from.

I’m blessed to live somewhere where farming can be done year round and have been spending the past several months researching farms around Oahu. I found out about Kahumanu Farms at work – the residents in our senior living community were planning a trip there, and I didn’t want to miss out on all of the fun, so I scheduled my own trip there!

My friend Kaley was my adventure companion for the day as we drove out to West Oahu for Kahumanu Farm’s Open House. Lucky for us, this particular day’s farm tour was free, so we were able to enjoy learning more about local agriculture for free.

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Kahumanu Farm is tucked away on Lualualei Homestead Road in the Lualualei Valley in Waianae. This particular day was sunny and warm, but a cool breeze made the temperature pleasant. We were greeted promptly by a farmhand letting us know where to park. We then checked in for the tour and were given the go-ahead to look around the property before the tour started.

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It turns out that Kahumanu has been around since the 1970s. It first opened as an intentional life-sharing community for those who are differently-abled. They expanded in the 80s to include group homes and started a transitional housing program for homeless, which still runs today.

In addition to growing close to 100,000 pounds of organic food a year, Kahumanu continues to support efforts for vulnerable populations including the homeless, disabled and youth. They have a learning center, a café (which I can’t wait to go back and try one day!), a commercial kitchen and even lodging spaces for those who need an alternative accommodation or retreat!

Before our tour started, we were welcomed into one of the retreat houses for refreshments by some of the farm staff. They had graciously prepared homemade hummus and veggies, pulled pork sliders, banana bread and poi mochi. We were able to wash it down with a refreshing hibiscus ice tea. We noticed some of the people who were staying in the bed and breakfast-like lodgings seems relaxed and to be communing with nature and those living and working on the farm.

We began our tour with our extremely knowledgeable guide Kristen. She blew us away with her farming knowledge, and also her expertise of Hawaiian land and customs. We toured the main farm which included a dragon fruit patch, a hurricane-resistant fruit tree orchard and a chicken coop. We were able to sample the farm’s salad greens (which they sell to a lot of restaurants in Honolulu) and carrots.

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After our samples, we all jumped into our cars and followed the tour guide a mile and half up the road, further into the mountains, to another piece of land that was recently entrusted to them by a former resident who has since passed on. Upon receiving the land several years ago, they prepared it by hand to grow food. Their hard work in being stewards of the land and practicing sustainable and regenerative organic farming is palpable. Their farmers are committed to the lifestyle, but more importantly, feeding people healthy and delicious food that’s grown in their own backyard.

We walked through the different fields growing carrots, salad greens, fruit trees and beets. We also were able to feed their goats and view their beautiful taro bed.

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At the end of the tour, we were invited to view a video they recently produced about the farm and the good work that they do.

Unfortunately, the café was closed that day due to a farm fundraising dinner, but I can’t wait to come back and try their famous macadamia nut pesto, salads and lilkoi cheesecake!

If you’re a visitor to Oahu or simply a resident looking for a fun and informative afternoon on the farm, make the drive and go visit. It’s enriching to walk the earth where our nourishment comes from and empowering to learn how to better feed and take care of ourselves!

To learn more about Kahumanu Farms, visit https://www.kahumana.org/.

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