Growing kalo organically would be a practice that could be supported by a new program through USDA, Hawai‘i Farmers Union United, U.H., and MAO Organic Farms. Dryland kalo was a crop grown in Wood Valley many years ago. Photo from HFUU
Program Overview: Farmers will be matched with a mentor to help guide them on the steps to transitioning to a certified organic operation through 90 hours of mentorship over a two-year period. Mentors will be experts in the field and will provide guidance on farming practices, methods of management, record keeping, and the application process. There are available resources to help make the transition (i.e. soil tests and similar) as well as a $500 stipend per farmer. Mentors will need to have a minimum of three years of experience working in a certified organic operation and will be compensated at an hourly rate.
Who should apply? HFUU is seeking all interested farmers in crop production, livestock, value-added, or wild harvest. Applicants must have a desire to make the transition to certified organic and should be actively farming. New farmers are also encouraged to apply if they are planning on becoming a certified organic operation.
How to become involved: Those interested in participating as a farmer or becoming a mentor, reach out to Christian Zuckerman at email@example.com.