Tell us more about yourself:
What lead you to live on the farm?
We were looking for a simpler, healthier lifestyle. Zach’s mom was getting older and had been asking Zach to come and take over Gingerhill for years. In 2011 we decided to give farmlife a try and moved to the Big Island.
In what ways is Gingerhill Farm committed to sustainability?
We think that the term “sustainability” has become overused and is no longer descriptive of what we hope to achieve here at the farm. You can sustain bad habits. We are looking for something deeper. We are working towards regenerative practices which enrich our community. This means that we are constantly reexamining the way we eat and grow food and manage our resources. We invested in a big solar system last year which has really forced us to change the way we use energy. We are in the process of transitioning from a bio-intensive agriculture style to more of an agroforestry style in which we plant and grow our fertility here on the farm as opposed to bringing in resources from outside.
This place is beautiful — tell us more about the plants & biodiversity of the property:
When people ask us what kind of farm we have we say, “ ...An everything farm.” By this we mean that we try to grow everything that we like to eat and use that does well at our latitude. We have a little bit of everything as opposed to a lot of any one thing. We are structured for self-sufficiency and education as opposed to production and try to use most of what we grow here on site. To this end we emphasize diversity and utility. We are looking for plants which stack functions like any good permaculturist. Bananas are a true workhorse for us. They serve as food, both savory and sweet, and also make excellent flour and dough for baking. They make an efficient windbreak or privacy screen. When we harvest the bananas, we use the split stalks and leaves in our orchards and gardens as mulch in order to add fertility, manage weeds and retain moisture. I think we currently have 15 varieties.
What plants do you grow here?
Most tropical fruits and at one point I counted 50 varieties of vegetables. This in addition to medicinal and ornamental plants as well as some timber and cordage or fiber plants.
What animals live here on site?
We have 5 cats, 4 goats, 3 pigs, 2 Rabbits and 30 chickens. There are 12,756 geckos and 243 birds, 2798 spiders and 13,000,000 ants.
Tell us about farming on Hawaii:
Tropical or in this case sub-tropical farming is great because you can learn a lot in a short time. There is no winter or seasons really so you can just keep planting. The cycles are a lot faster so you get to learn quickly from your mistakes. The challenge is that because there is no winter, we have no fallow season. Weeds, mold, pests year round with no freeze to kill them off. Our challenge is too much fertility. We get to farm in shorts without shoes. But we have fairly short day lengths that are consistent most of the year. It’s fun and challenging at the same time.
Do you have any sustainability tips for those who might not have access to growing their own food?
Go to farmers markets and buy local. Bring your own bags always and consider bringing in your own container already pre-weighed and buy bulk. Grow something green that you can add to your meals. Cilantro or dandelion greens, herbs, whatever.
How can our readers keep up with you & follow along your journey?
You have a yoga retreat coming up, tell us more about that:
The Awake Goddess Retreat condenses my 16 years of experience in holistic Ayurvedic nutrition, yoga, meditation, and natural healing into one relaxing, revitalizing, and empowering week of goddess fun! Awake Goddess, is about community, about uniting women to support each other on their journey to self-love.