RealInternships: Sam Gervase

We are roughly halfway through the summer and things could not be better. With the guidance of our hosts and the general knowledge of community members in Hana, we have continued to further our understanding of a more sustainable lifestyle. In terms of working the land, we continue to learn more about all the different tasks and hard work that goes into the upkeep of a small farm; we have learned that basil is planted by tomatoes to keep the bugs away, marigolds help attract bees to pollinate the seedlings, and how the bulb of a Cuban banana stalk must remain intact in order to be successfully transplanted to a different location. Every day if full of new experiences of the big and small duties necessary to clear, maintain, and harvest from land that is constantly trying to revert back to its natural state of wild jungle.  sam1While the farm does grow a lot of its own food, our understanding of self-sufficiency has changed. Prior to coming to Hana, we have always understood the term to be associated exclusively with food production. However, the meaning of self-sufficiency encompasses much more. Many people grow bamboo for building materials, catch rainwater to fulfill one hundred percent of their needs, and even choose to live off-grid having only a generator to provide minimal electricity. Perhaps more importantly, functional self-sufficiency is about relying on the local community for what you cannot provide for yourself. The concept of bartering is a vital part of life in Hana; people exchange avocados for papaya, Kula pig for Mahi fish, or Huli Huli chicken for goat’s milk. Rather than relying on one’s local Walmart or big-box store to provide every item imaginable, the community of Hana support the needs of its people.sam2An example was when we tried to spend an afternoon working on the community farm; in exchange for a few hours of work on a Sunday afternoon, a person will be given a share of the day’s harvest. We showed up excited to work and walk away with an assortment of food. However, after a half hour of pulling weeds, we were actually asked to leave! In a very gentle way, the farm manager explained that the farm was meant for the citizens of Hana, and as WWOOFers (local farm volunteers), the resources of the farm were not meant for us; the purpose of the farm is to support and educate the local community. Not only did we understand, but we respected the fact that the facility was trying its best to serve the interests of the local native Hawaiians, not those passing through for a short period of time.sam3In addition to our daily life on the farm, we have made significant progress interviewing and filming for our short film about self-sufficiency, nutritional awareness, and the overall culture of Hana. While there is a lot of editing and revising to be done, we believe we have the content and raw footage to paint an accurate portrayal of the life lessons we have learned during our time in this unique and life-giving place.sam4Lastly, we are extremely excited to start our work in Seattle. On Thursday, we will be leaving for Seattle to work for Stockbox Grocers, an organization that is working to provide low-income areas with affordable, nutritious, and fresh food. With their second store opening next month, our arrival could not be better timed! We have already started working on our task of creating a community space within their store, forming a strategy for greater food awareness, and we will be helping to facilitate a number of different community outreach initiatives. More to come!

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