Apprenticing at Kealaola Farm

Our farm is a bustling place. As well as eleven permanent residents, the farm hosts 5 or 6 apprentices or farm workers at any given time. The two families each have their own house. The apprentice each have their own sleeping area and share a common area for kitchen, bath, and library/living room space. Apprenticing at Kealaola Farm is an experience in communal living. Plan to learn as much about living with others as you will about organic farming. It is a tough job to do alone.

Work Trade:

We offer a work trade of 30 hours of help per week in exchange for room and board on our farm. The majority of the work on our farm is in the lettuce business. This is the bread and butter of the farm, paying the mortgage and all other associated bills and costs. Apprentices have available to them the opportunity to learn all aspects of this business, from seeding and bed preparation to marketing and delivery. The other significant part of the work trade is growing food for the farm in the gardens. Our coffee also requires periodic care. Of course, as on any property, there is always maintenance of the farm as a whole.

The farm operates Mon-Sat. Most farmers work five out of six of those days, mostly in the mornings. This leaves most afternoons free for adventure, relaxation and beach time. Monday and Thursday are harvest days. Tuesday and Friday are prepping and planting days. Friday is usually spent seeding all the lettuce starts, as well. Wednesday we spend caring for the coffee and doing other farm maintenance projects.

As well as use of the facilities we try to meet apprentices' food needs. We provide a food stipend of $50/week as well as everything grown on the farm. We also do some trading with other farms in the area for interesting local produce. Our own coffee is available for those who are interested. We try to accommodate weekly trips to the market. There is also a market within walking distance. This market is in the small town of Kealakekua, which also hosts a post office, cafe, bank, and other conveniences. So far our apprentices have found this arrangement healthy and enjoyable.

Laundry facilities are available on the farm.

We recommend at least a two month stay at the farm. This gives apprentices time enough to get a good idea of what it takes to make the lettuce business happen and learn something about growing their own food. Of course, the longer you stay the more you will learn. Barry and Ken are both still learning lots every day even after years of farming. We like people to stay longer than two months. Shorter stays have been arranged.

What to Bring:

If you are coming to stay on the farm, be prepared for warm weather and dirty farm work. Some long sleeve clothing, both shirt and pants, is good to have for sun protection and for kneeling in the soil on planting days. A pair of work gloves is a great asset, as is a pocket knife of some kind. A good flashlight or headlamp is a great thing to have for getting around the farm at night. We have some sheets and blankets, but most apprentices travel with a sleeping bag or bedding of some sort. There is great snorkeling and swimming nearby, so whatever equipment you have for those activities is very useful. Other than that, just bring your personal belongings and a good helpful attitude.

If you are interested:

If you are interested in coming to the farm, please fill out an Apprentice Application and e-mail it to info@kealaolafarm.com. When we receive the application, we can talk further about what opportunities are available.

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