"Home Gardening 101 teaches basics of sustainability on Kaua‘i"
Permaculture advocate Matt Field introduces himself to over 30 individuals at a Home Gardening 101 workshop held in Kekaha on Saturday.
By Coco Zickos - The Garden Island Sunday, February 8, 2009
KEKAHA — A sizable turnout of more than 30 people gathered in Kekaha Saturday for a do-it-yourself workshop covering the basics of growing your own food as well as several other skills such as composting, crop selection and irrigation.
North Shore nonprofit Malama Kaua‘i, which organized the workshop, entitled Home Gardening 101, espouses the importance of island sustainability, and says on its Web site that “our greatest vulnerability to energy and climate uncertainty is that we currently import around 90 percent of our food, as well as fertilizers, tools, seeds, and other necessary inputs.”
The group promotes a return to the self-sufficient Kaua‘i of nearly 100 years ago and helps locals work toward that goal by creating workshops for those who want to learn how to grow and maintain their own food supply and providing them with the chance to participate in community gardens.
Diane Rosenkranz and Andrew Shoemaker were excited to open up their home to students Saturday and felt it was a good opportunity for Westside residents. Most of the workshops offered, she said, are typically executed in other parts of the island, particularly near Malama Kaua‘i’s Kilauea headquarters. However, according to Rosenkranz, Andrea Brower of Malama Kaua‘i was more than happy to make arrangements for a workshop in Kekaha.
“We’re parched over here, both because of the weather and the workshops,” said Rosenkranz. “We decided to host one of Malama Kaua‘i’s workshops at our house and we hope there will be more on the Westside because there isn’t a lot offered over here.”
Ellie Snyder of Lawa‘i said she found out about the workshop through Kaua‘i Community College’s 10-session seminar called “Growing Food” — another opportunity for aspiring gardeners to learn the benefits of growing their own food.
“There’s always more to learn,” she said, an already avid gardener herself.
There was certainly no shortage of knowledgeable growers in attendance, including Tom Legacy, an organic gardener with 38 years of experience.
“Anything thing you do, it’s always important to go through the basics,” he said. “(Instructor) Matt (Field) is much further along the path of permaculture than I am and that’s one of the reasons I’m here,” he said.
Field has worked within the profession of agriculture and gardening for approximately 15 years and has recently taught workshops affiliated with Malama Kaua‘i for those who are interested in growing a garden and jumping into the sustainability bandwagon.
“All of my experience in life has to do with land, plants and food,” he said. “Land, water, plants and people are the most important things in my life.”
Field hopes to teach people to connect more closely to the land, working with nature instead of against it, bringing them back to a permanent agricultural system. “Permaculture” is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “an agricultural system or method that seeks to integrate human activity with natural surroundings so as to create highly efficient self-sustaining ecosystems.”
“The way agriculture is right now is just a huge addiction, especially with oil,” said Field. “Agriculture is crumbling.”
For more information about an upcoming workshop, visit www.malamakauai.org.