By Dagny Brand
Balancing regenerative, organic farming and connecting with the community, Yogarden Hawaii is cultivating their new four acre land in Waimanalo, Oahu with hundreds of beautiful fruit trees and more. “Our mission is to bring the community together to support a healthy, sustainable lifestyle,” said co-owner Kelly Stern, who works with her partner, Paul Izak, to accomplish this goal. Yogarden Hawaii, which started with a goal of “incorporating yoga, music, and farming in everything offered,” is branching out during the pandemic to find new ways to explore farming passions and bring the community closer to the land.
Yogarden Hawaii offers a “beyond organic,” regenerative farming approach. “Farming takes a foundation and an understanding of knowing that we are going to be in one place for a long time,” said Stern, reflecting on Yogarden Hawaii’s new and permanent land in Waimanalo. After 4 years of building the soil, Stern plans to plant 300 new fruit trees and will soon have vanilla production as well. The farm is currently home to many tropical and exotic fruit trees, including delicious citrus and breadfruit, in addition to crops such as kalo, turmeric, ginger, and many vegetables. While the produce is sold fresh, the turmeric is also powered and added into Yogarden Hawaii’s Holiday Boxes, carefully crafted and worked on all year. The value added products in the boxes include two types of tea, dried bananas, and more. This past holiday, Stern collaborated with a nearby beekeeper to include honey as well. Yogarden Hawaii’s focus on organic and regenerative practices makes everything offered at the farm healthy, sustainable, and delicious.
Focused on helping the Hawaiian environment, Yogarden Hawaii spent the majority of 2020 doing a stream restoration project with Hawaii Resource and Conservation Council. Stern explained that Yogarden Hawaii partnered with native plant farmers and tree trimmers in the community to take down invasive plants in the stream. Now, with the beautiful stream restored, Yogarden Hawaii continues to invite the community to work with the land through volunteer days on Thursdays. “It gives us time to connect with our community and have other people connect with the land and with us.” People who want to participate can reach out directly to Yogarden Hawaii or to Stern, so everyone can stay safe during these exciting days. “People can reach out to come volunteer and put their hands in the land,” said Stern, encouraging locals to join her in connecting with the land through farming.
Yogarden Hawaii sells their value added products on their online store, and their delicious produce can be found through contacting the farm directly. Stern explained that customers often ask her what’s available and she is more than happy to send a list of what’s in season at the farm. Yogarden Hawaii will be returning to the Kailua Farmers’ Markets in mid-2021. “We’re excited to come back with an organic certification and provide an organic farm booth at the markets.” To learn more about Yogarden Hawaii, follow them on Instagram (@yogardenhawaii) or click here.