FarmStory

 The growing up of Lanipō Farm

My name is Bryna Rose ʻOlikokekaiāuli Storch. I started this farm in 2010: after many years of working on farms all over Hawaiʻi nei, and gardening since I was 6 years old. I had gathered a bounty of ideas, skills, tools and help from kind farmers of all sorts. I felt ready to live all I had learned.

I farm because I believe in this island and this earth, and I want to do right by this place and our people. [and let’s be honest, like most farmers, I’m a plantfanatic, munchavore and animaloverrr.]

I believe farming is a craft of one’s own making, there’s no one “right” way to farm,
but dedication, hard work and heart are elemental.
Loving the land, is everything.
Constant connection with and observation of Nature and our Kupuna, is the foundation.
I don’t expect easy, but I do strive for efficient.
And hope for plenty good times on this good Earth.

kaala taropatch
<time spent at Kaʻala Farm led me to believe in this path.>

          In 2011, my mama, Isobel, came to work at the farm. She does farmers markets booths and bakes the goodies. She’s nothing short of bad-ass!  momsquash

 

And… In 2013, I started “cruising” with Calvin Toyofuku, a kind and kolohe Hanapepe guy, who proudly loves this island. Now, we farm together. He never ceases to amaze me. And… many moons later, we had a baby! Our sweet little farmbaby makes everyday an adventure. img_0637

 

 

Family farming is way more FUN!

img_1073

In 2016, we expanded our farming to a patch of lovely land up Olohena (Wailua), where we can build our family farmstead and plant deep roots. [more about that below]

Back to the beginning,

when first starting the farm, the soil was sad, just break your heart, sad. 200 years of plantation sugarcane, chemicals and heavy machinery had stripped the soil of its vitality and left a layer of hard pan.
farmstart
There were no worms, there were few weeds, the parched residues of the cane fields was a dust bowl held together by sparse grasses. A neighbor came with a tractor and ripped open the hard pan for us, the one and only time we’ve used heavy machinery.

I then spent the 1st 18 months just healing the land with cover crops: sunn hemp, sudan grass, assorted mustards. Previous to planting the cover crops, had taken soil samples which showed that it was depleted in everything. Starving soil. As a start I added bonemeal and cal-phos.

covercropsstart covercropsunn

Also spent the 1st 18 months getting our chickens and their habitat sorted out just right while raising our first flocks. A baby boar, Maʻona, was gifted to me, and raising her was good fun, she lived in a posh “pig tractor” and helped in enriching the soil.

During that time, I worked 6 nights a week as a waitress in order to save funds for various tools and materials. Then I worked at a poi mill and learned much about the daily workings of the local food and farm products industry.

The rest of that time was spent making bio-char, or “terra preta”, gathering natural inputs from the area for composting and deep litter in the chicken pen, installing perimeter fencing, installing drip irrigation system, then planting “green manure” windbreaks of gandule beans, sugarcane and papayas. When the cover crops came to maturity, I mowed them down and tilled them in. There’s something profoundly powerful in earning and owning your own tools, and knowing how to use them.
newtiller

covercrops

We are now, years later, learning and transitioning to no-till farming. Our top soil is growing healthier and softer with the chicken/cover crop/food crop/compost cycles.

The first crop was sweet potato, in honor of Lono, a spiritual and natural benefactor of farmers.
uala

Then went in arugula, green beans… and goodness, so many different delicious things.

farmer<<first Arugula harvest.

We focus on crops of high nutritional and healing value, and overall ʻono {check out what’s growing on the “Whatʻs Fresh” page}. We continue to cycle in cover crops, sunn hemp, daikon, clovers.

The “deep litter” chicken pen is moved every few months, which along with compost and bio-char is how we give back to the soil between crop cycles. After the first chicken pen cycle of organic inputs, I had tested the soil again: all the levels were high and healthy. But we didn’t really need the test to tell us, the soil was soft and smelled good, like living earth.

Currently, we are developing our skills at making compost teas and other probiotic cultured, sustainable fertilizers using homegrown or home-gathered organic sources.

We do try our best to organize our planting cycles around the full moon for starts and new moon for seeds. But the weather is our ultimate boss-lady and has the final say.

Now in 2017 we begin all over again, at our “New Farm”…

After 6 productive years on a 1 acre lease-land, in 2016 our family adopted a few more acres to care for and expand our farming, to plant deep roots.

img_3170

“New Farm” we call it for now, although at some point when we’ve shed enough sweat, we’ll gratefully, properly call it “Home”.
Located in Olohena ahupuaʻa where Konohiki Stream runs, in the Kawaihau Moku of East Kauaʻi.
It’s lovely, ʻāina momona.

There is clean, cool water and clear open space.img_1735
We started planting immediately- ti, kalo, fruit trees.img_1139
Friends and family came with blessings. img_1668

We adopted some sweet, roly-poly Clun Forest sheep:
Blossom, Sky, Wonderbug, Zinnia and Mr. MacNut.img_2664

Then a couple goats Minny La Mancha & Sota Alpina, to hang with our humbug bottle-baby/brush-cutter, Guinness. [photos coming!]

We’re building a real jungle gym for our farmbaby and her friends.

A humble home, a habitat for us farmers, is in our prayers.

And, Lanipō is truly thrilled.img_1482

All of this happening as fast as our heartbeats, but photos and documentation of our progress will come soon enough!

Lanipō Farm Family Fotos:

new soil<<Chicken pen above, post-chicken & cover crop soil below. We rest the soil with cover crops after the chickens and before the food crops.

IMG_1730

likonguinnessweeding<<Truly, we thrive with guidance and help from ʻohana. Uncle Liko has shared so much goodness since the very beginning. And he sings while he works. He aloha pauʻole.

trade
<<Trading eggs & produce for coconut mulch from local tree trimmers = win/win!

comfreybabes
<<Comfrey flowering and sprouts. A major contributor to our compost, fertilizer and medicine cabinet, for the occasional broken toe, finger or injured animal.

img_2781

Intercropping comfrey, beans and cilantro.>>

seedsaving

<<Letting an Ethiopian Kale hedge around the house go to seed. What once was barren, is now a seed bank.

jungle
<<Kukui, Banana, Ti, etc. = Compost

shrooms

 

 

 

 

 

<<2 years after detoxing the area of chemicals, it’s now a regular occurrence to find all sorts of mushroom and fungi after rain showers. Feels like magic everytime.

morningrays before.after
<<Hard Pan Before/Garden After… 3 years into this life.

IMG_9323< why we do what we do!

photos by Bryna Storch
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