Student Farmers elevate Student Farming in Hawaii


Posted on Monday 20th June 2022
Student Farming

Our GREENandSAVE Staff is pleased to inform our members and readers about organizations that are helping to promote sustainability. If you would like us to profile your organization please Contact Us.

Student Farmers is actively looking to recruit a student ambassador in Hawaii, as well as farm mentors in Hawaii that can help guide students. Overall, student farming is a great way to reduce the distance from farm to table and increase health for students as well as their parents.

Here is an overview on Student Farmers 

Student Farmers is a growing group of students who are committed to in-home and in-school sustainable farming as a means to promote physical fitness and environmental stewardship.

Our Mission: To improve health and nutrition education, combat the challenges of climate change, and support each other in generating some revenue to help pay for college.

Our Vision: To increase knowledge about the advantages of eating more heathy and locally grown vegetables across the range of high school and college age students. We also hope that many of the parents of the students will learn from their children’s engagement in our organization and adopt a diet with less processed foods to reduce the growing cost of healthcare. 

Here is an example of an agriculture education program in Hawaii:

Youth Farm In Hawaii Is Growing Food And Leaders

A tight circle of teenagers is deep in conversation — not about movies or apps, but about ... vegetables.

It's 7 a.m. at MA'O Organic Farms, part of 24 acres nestled in an emerald mountain-ringed valley just two miles from Oahu's west shore. Under a hot sun that bathes this idyllic breadbasket, college-aged farmers harvest tons of mangoes, bananas, mizuna (mustard greens) and taro every month for the island of Oahu.

The farm's atmosphere bubbles with enthusiastic lightheartedness, its college interns quipping across the rows that they can beat their neighbors' harvesting speed. But a calm falls over the group as they move from joking around to talking more seriously. A circle forms under an open pavilion, and a young woman speaks.

"We got 21 more orders for parsley because our stuff is great," Junell Fonokalafi, a student intern from Leeward Community College, says proudly. The organic bunches of parsley will go to top Honolulu restaurants like Chef Ed Kenney's Mahina and Suns, and also direct to consumers at markets like Whole Foods and Foodland Farms, where few might know that teenagers are growing their organic produce.

"No panic, organic," everyone chants in approval after each speaker, clapping twice.

"You guys only took an hour to harvest and had three hours to catch up with weeds and complete the order," Scott Kaeo, a farm intern from Leeward Community College, congratulates the group. "But last week, there was a bunch of food and stuff on the floor after lunch. Y'all are eating and missing your mouth." Everyone laughs, but it's noted: You had better clean up after yourself, because no one is just a carefree kid at MA'O.

A successful indie farm is a high bar, but MA'O's mission is harder. Meaning mala(garden) ʻai (food) ʻopio (youth), or youth food garden, MA'O seeks to grow leaders heartier than its legendary staple of ulu, or breadfruit. Waianae's residents are mostly native Hawaiians, and the area ranks among the poorest communities in the state of Hawaii, with a median household income of $58,807 and 25.9 percent of its population living in poverty. Some 9.5 percent of residents are unemployed and only 9.2 percent possess a college degree.


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