These pages follow what I learn from choosing one day a week to just eat
 food from our land.  I am starting this in October 2011, having moved
here in October 2010 with the intention of becoming food and energy
self-sufficient... eventually.
I am finding that by forcing myself to just eat what we grow, find,
forage, or are given by neighbors, it brings into clear focus what
the needs are to sustain ourselves.
We are fortunate to live in a beautiful piece of land down the
flanks of Mauna Kea on the Hamakua coast, Big Island, elevation
just under 1200 feet.  Used to be sugar cane land and a gravel mine,
and needs lots of coaxing to restore to fertility. Plus the strong
rains (can be over 200 inches/year) pull nutrients out of the soil.
Temperature stays between an occasional dip into the upper 50's
(brrr, cold winter night) and 85 degrees F.  Mostly it is 70-80.
We are off-grid and have rainwater catchment and solar power,
and are building a small house, meanwhile myself, partner and
community of friends and family live in temporary shelters.

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30 Responses to “About”

  1. Glen Says:

    Nice blog. Very educational.

  2. Teri Says:

    Where are you in Hamakua? We’re in Kalopa Mauka and may be neighbors. If so, would love to do possible bartering from the land.
    🙂 Teri

    1. ilikelilikoi Says:

      We are down near Hakalau – sounds good to me! Can I send you an email?

  3. Glen Says:

    Do you have any good ideas to share re: getting fertility back into former sugar cane land? Here in Laupahoehoe I face the same problem.

  4. ilikelilikoi Says:

    Glen, to try to trap and foster nutrients in the soil we have been using biochar with either fish or chicken manure, as well as Natural Farming supplements – have you heard of cultivating IMOs, indigenous microorganisms? We also mulch extensively, and are switching now from mulching with cut grass to using the chop-and-drop method of planting fast-growing nitrogen-fixers such as gliricidia and perennial peanut in or near gardens and cutting them for mulch. We also use banana leaves and bamboo leaves for mulch. Mulch does so many good things, including protecting and adding to the microbes from the biochar and IMO.

  5. Jeri Says:

    I am so glad I discovered your blog. We live a mile or so up the hill from Papaikou on a Macnut farm and are also trying to learn to eat mostly what we grow. Would love to compare notes.

    1. ilikelilikoi Says:

      Jeri, I’m so excited to be meeting new folks working on the same goals. There’s so much to do and so many ways we can help each other. I’m hoping we can meet at a local event – are you on the BISS list? That’s

  6. Ryan Says:

    I just read your article in the Hawaiian Homegrown newsletter. It was fantastic and very inspirational for me and my family. We are attempting to grow lots of food and yet have never really attempted to eat a meal off the land. We were inspired to start with one meal a week and increase to a day a week. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  7. ilikelilikoi Says:

    Thank you so much, Ryan, I am so glad to be able to inspire! Good luck and I would love to hear of your experiences, too.

  8. Sunny Savage Says:

    very excited to find your blog…yeehaw! We are working to achieve food self-sufficiency on Maui. one step at a time. Love to forage for wild foods as well. Have you done any more fermentation experiments? Thanks for sharing your life, and I’m happy you’re on Facebook! 😉 I found you on the Local Food Challenge….am traveling on the mainland (acorn/barrel cactus seed tortillas with sauteed wild wolfberries for dinner here in the Sonoran desert), so can’t participate, but it’s my whole modus operandi. Spent a year eating foods grown within 250 miles in northern MN in 2006. Working on a wild foods book for the islands now.

    cheers, ~sunny

    1. ilikelilikoi Says:

      Hi Sunny, thanks for your enthusiasm! You sound even more hardcore, that dinner sounds amazing! Let’s see, fermentation stuff… I have done a lot of yogurt using raw cow or goat milk, and am about to start doing kefir. I am constantly fermenting a version of “kraut chi” in a big crock in the kitchen. I have been using mostly local ingredients but have decided to go totally local so it will reflect the season; thus my next batch won’t have carrots but will have turnips. I also want to try vinegars and wine. Oh and I just got a new type of kombucha mother called a “Jun” that, instead of feeding on black tea and sugar, likes green tea and honey! So I am going to be making that soon… and I have made kombucha mother-ginger candy that is delicious. My gluten-free sourdough experiments have not worked out. If any of this sounds intriguing let me know and I can expound further in a post!

  9. Jens Moysich Says:

    You have a new message from WWOOFers, jens Moysich.
    Hello, my name is Jens, I’m from Germany and I travel in mid-January for 2 months in Hawaii. I am 43 years old and am a carpenter and have already built their own houses. I am self-employed for 20 years and produce wooden toys. I love the outdoors and also tried in my own garden with Permakutur.Ich had 6 years of English in school and is not the best, but I want to refresh my language skills again. I am technically very gifted and creative solutions. I can send you pictures of me and other information senden.Ich would be very happy if you present yourself. I have informed me about your project and have a good feeling that we can understand us. That would be important to me.

    Greetings from Germany

    1. ilikelilikoi Says:

      Hi Jens, Thanks for your interest in wwoofing with us. You sound like a very interesting person, with some great skills, but for the spring we are looking for one couple or 2 good friends that could share a small space. Also we want to wait early March because it is so rainy here during the winter months, and it sounds like you will be here just until mid-March. I’m sorry we can’t help you right now!

      (For future reference, it is best to send your emails about wwoofing directly to hosts’ email addresses or back through the wwoofer website; you made a comment on my blog.)

      Thanks again,

      Best of luck and aloha, Rachel

  10. Holly Says:

    Hello, my name is Holly Evans and my fiance Randy and I are interested in WWOOFing on your farm in March. We are unable to contact you through the WWOOF website; could we have your email so we tell you a bit more about ourselves and our travel plans? My email address is Thanks!
    Holly and Randy

  11. dave sansone Says:

    Great blog! I appreciate your commitment to eating food from where you live and sharing the process with others. Would love to learn more about local rabbit food if you can share your experience there.


    To all: Please check out where I share some of the lessons the nature has taught me about sustainable permaculture systems.

  12. ilikelilikoi Says:

    Hi Dave, thanks for your comment! I sure would like to write about how we feed the bunnies from our weeds and perennial veggies, and maybe I will do just that. Btw your link works but only without the “info” at the end. Garden on!

  13. Ken Robinson Says:

    G’day from tropical AUSTRALIA, really like your site and would like to make contact, I am trialling tropical greens, on a small scale, our climate is similar to yours and interested in trying new plants.
    Anyone interested please contact
    Ken Robinson

  14. ilikelilikoi Says:

    Hi Ken, sounds like you are interested in perennial greens? We have several solid favorites that are doing great at our climate and altitude of 1000′ with rainfall ~200 inches/year. I can look up their Latin names, but just for starters, for basic vegetable leafy greens, my favorites are Chaya, Edible Hibiscus (Tongan spinach), Okinawan spinach, and Sissou spinach. Happy to go into more detail about each… oh and of course taro, which is great for its greens, too. Also loving mamaki, which i just wrote an article about (perhaps you saw and that’s how you found this blog?), for making tea and also just because it is an endemic that supports the Kamehameha butterfly 🙂

    1. Ken Says:

      Wow delighted to hear from you!
      We are on the same net, I am working on two small trees 2m high called Sweet Leaf and Drumstick Tree, both are nutritious an can be used in salads or cooked, also a native called Queensland greens others are, Mushroom plant, Sambu lettuce, Lebanese cress Chinese water spinach and Kang kong.
      I will give more details if you are interested, we are at 900 ft. and get 2 meters between November and April, the only handicap is that I am 80 and have slowed down a bit

    2. Ken Robinson Says:

      I have just planted some Taro and would appreciate some tips on cooking it, its new around here

      1. Hi again, Ken!
        Wow, so much to say about taro…. where to begin?! If you just planted it, you have plenty of time to gather information. Do you know the variety you planted? There are many, and some are specifically for leaf, while most are grown for the corm. The corms are ready for harvesting in 9-12 months, I would say, depending on how fast things grow where you are. One way to tell the corm has reached its optimum for harvesting is when the leaves start to die down, and you have two leaves rather than three or four, and they are bowing down, not as upright as when younger and vigorously growing. There will also be a “collar” around the corm. (This should be a blog post, with pictures, hmm?) You pull it out of the ground, cut it off from the stem so as to leaves a row or two of “eyes,” the buds, for replanting. Then let both parts sit for a few days, both the stem-end for replanting so it gets a scab on it that keeps it from rotting, and the corm for cooking. (I really will do this with pictures, but since I have come this far I will continue, in a nutshell…) This reduces the amount of oxalic acid crystals in the corm and makes it easier to handle and quicker to cook. Now cut off all the dirt and roots on around the corm, and cube it into nice chunks, and steam it for around two hours. (Or wash well, steam, and then peel.) It is very important to cook it until all the oxalic acid has been neutralized so you don’t get a stinging throat! So that will give you chunks of taro, but ways to use it, and especially making poi, is a whole ‘nother topic, and cooking the leaf or making lau lau (mmm) is, as well.

  15. Marilyn Says:

    Wow you have all been dealing with so much rain!.. Here in the Dominican Republic, on the north coast we have been dealing with a long term drought. We have a one and a quarter acre homestead and have been raising a lot of our own food for many years. Tree crops never let you down. Our perennial garden also supplies us with year round root crops and herbs. My biggest problem is leafy greens. I never have enough. I think we will always have to buy cold weather veg. My temps rarely drop to 60 in the dead of winter at night. Days are in the 80’s and 90’s year round. Not humid either. We are now starting to raise as much food for our turkeys, chickens, and sheep as is possible. The grass has all died in the drought. Trees provide leaves and bark for the sheep, but not enough. I am experimenting with mangle beets this year as well as grain sorghum and Amaranth to add to their nutrition. Bsf bin will help the bird’s and fish. A duckweed pond is now started for extra greens. Always thinking about new ways to add to the food supply of us all. This is our 40th year of homesteading. Providing food year round is like old age, it isn’t for sissies.

  16. Aloha Marilyn,
    Forty years of homesteading, nope, you’re no sissy! We do have a different set of precipitation challenges, don’t we? We had around 250 inches this year, and it’s not yet December. Our leafy greens are great though, especially the perennials that just love the rain. One that I don’t think I’ve mentioned here is katuk. I have read that it is fairly drought tolerant. If you haven’t tried that one and can get hold of it, I would encourage you to; it’s really delicious, can be eaten raw or cooked, and is very pest-resilient and nutritious. Some places call it “tropical asparagus” because if grown with extra compost, the fast-growing new shoots are supposed to taste like asparagus. (Haven’t tried that yet.) As for chickens – ours’ aren’t interested in amaranth seeds, they seem to be too small for them. Maybe if they were given a whole branch. Actually, I will try this tomorrow and tell you what I find out! Amaranth is also a good leafy green, and likes it dry – do you eat the leaves?

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I hope to hear more of them!


  17. Bobbi Cuttance Says:

    Do you use Mamaki in the same way as the stinging nettle is used to make a fertilizer of for the garden?

    1. Marilyn Says:

      We live in the Dominican Republic and have for the last 19 years. Dry at some time and short rainy season. We grow a lot of tree crops and root crops such as yucca and sweet potatoes. Lettuce and cold weather green are seasonal. Same as nightshade family carrots and beets. We eat what we grow but need to buy some veg and fruit. We have a few hair sheep, turkeys, and chickens for eggs. So our meat and eggs are home grown. We still need to supplement these at times. Our house is pslm wood, 3 rooms. Solar project is almost complete. Rain water is our only source of water for the last 9 months. I am 74 and my husband is 79. We do most of our own work still. Providingfod for animals​ is a challenge in the rainy season and also in the very dry season. We still supplement with some grains and of course black fly larvae. We have been homesteading here and 23 years in the foothills of NC previously. A total of 42 years. We have never been totally self-sufficient. It is a goal. We still buy paper products, soap, and other stuff. Go shopping once a month. This is a wonderful way to live, but takes experience and planning according to your climate. Here tree crops are our best and easiest source of food for us and animals. Perrienial crops come next. I wish you well.

      1. ilikelilikoi Says:

        Wow, thanks for sharing your story Marilyn, that is very impressive – I know it’s not easy and we learn so much about what doesn’t work that sometimes it can get discouraging! But then we get great satisfaction from eating wonderful meals from the land and knowing exactly where everything came from, and that the animals have good lives. We can take long hot showers and not feel a bit of guilt. I agree with the benefits of tree crops and perennial crops, and root crops, being our top three dependable sources – plus beans. Our climates are quite different but those things sound the same. Impressive you do most of the work yourselves. Best of luck to you!

    2. ilikelilikoi Says:

      Hi Bobbi. We have not heard of mamaki being used that way, primarily it is valued as a soothing medicinal tea. The leaves are also edible as a vegetable (and the fruit, in small amounts). I don’t believe mamaki has the potent immune-enhancing value of stinging nettles, but maybe if we had an excess of it I would experiment with adding it to compost tea.

  18. Marilyn Says:

    Would like to grow katuk, but have been unable to get any. Our chickens are in a house to keep then out of the gardens. They are fed black fly larvae, garden weeds, garden leftovers and lots of fruit, and grass clippings. The turkeys are fed the same thing. Sheep eat lots of tree leaves and bark, crass clippings and lots of weeds. All receive a small grain supplement. It is hard to find leafy perennial greens to grow year round. Asparagus is growing well.

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