Stat Counter

A Valley Isle reportage. Shoot first, write later.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

La'a Kea Community Farm

I've been feeling philanthropic lately, so in the vein of the Maui Food Bank, I want to share with you  a very unique venture called La'a Kea Community Farm.  Maui County's special needs population is around 3,500.  Hawaii's special needs employment rate is 5%, which when compared to the national average of 23% is quite appalling.  So what to do?  How do you help these people out?

Like a hui or a kibbutz, La'a Kea is a farm resting on 12 acres in upper Paia on Baldwin Ave.  I went yesterday and discussed at length with Moki, the Farm Manager.  Currently farming taro and bananas, with plans to plant an assortment of crops such as cacao, herbs, and sweet potatoes, the Farm is an idyllic setting where Hawaii's developmentally disabled adults (example - autistic), can work, live, and learn.  I saw the master plan blueprints and the site will include full-fledged housing lending to a college campus atmosphere.

How did I hear about this place?  An advertisement in the paper for the farm stand - the current "commercial" arm of the project.  It's really not a true commercial operation due to the non-profit nature of the organization as La'a Kea relies mostly on charitable contributions.  For example, Yellow Seed Bamboo donated 100 clumping bamboo plants that Moki stated will serve, in addition to the banana plants, as a natural perimeter windbreak around the vegetable beds. The roadside stand offers local, fresh, organic produce from the farm and other nearby farms at reasonable prices.  Another alternative for local fruits and veggies is a boon for locals and Maui agriculture.

In addition to Moki, I talked with a worker named Ian and a customer, Marilyn Hotta of Paia, let me shoot her.

For more info or to donate, please visit :


A fantastic location overlooking the North Shore - 12 acres!

Ian and Moki manning the stand

Practicing their shakas

Marilyn looking deliberate

1 comment:

  1. we met Moki and Ian body surfing in Paia Bay on two consecutive vacations to Maui. They are the most positive and optimistic people I have ever met.
    Feeling the love in Seattle.
    Kevin Donoven And Kevin MacInnis