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Crop Share: Sharing our backyard abundance with our community

Written by Nicole Milne on 27 January 2011.

A regular Crop Share participant harvests a leek from Mala‘ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School.
A regular Crop Share participant harvests a leek from Mala‘ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School.

Depending on the season, the fruit trees and gardens in our backyards are overflowing with more food than we can consume.

Crop Share is an innovative project designed to gather these surplus fruits and vegetables from our communities and share them with individuals and families in need. Newly created non-monetary exchange markets, where no money changes hands, can serve as distribution channels for surplus backyard produce, and provide a welcoming environment where residents can share and trade community resources. 

 

The Crop Share program is designed to take advantage of Hawai’i’s year round growing season and aloha spirit; it is a unique program that we hope will catch on across the state.

How Crop Share works

Everyone is welcome to join in the weekly Crop Share at Mala‘ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School every Saturday through the end of August, from 12:30 to 3:00 pm. Food donations can be dropped off any day of the week and placed in the cooler or on the shelves located between the tool sheds at Mala`ai Garden (to enter Mala`ai please use the new gravel road entry across from the Kahilu Theater).

Waimea Middle School 6th graders enjoying coconut water and guacamole wrapped in lettuce leaves. Avocados, limes, and coconuts were provided by Crop Share participants. Thank you for your donations!
Waimea Middle School 6th graders enjoying coconut water and guacamole wrapped in lettuce leaves. Avocados, limes, and coconuts were provided by Crop Share participants. Thank you for your donations!
All food donated to the Crop Share is recorded and weighed upon arrival; participants can then select a bag of fresh fruits and vegetables from the shared items. Food leftover after the Saturday Crop Share is weighed and donated to a local food bank early the following week. Many food banks offer primarily canned and boxed goods due to food storage constraints, and therefore donations of fresh fruits and vegetables provide healthy options for food bank customers. Participants do not have to bring food in order to participate in the Crop Share. Everyone is encouraged to stop by, visit Mala`ai Garden, and take home some fresh produce!

In fall 2010 Crop Share accepted over 1000 pounds of produce and donated approximately 550 pounds of food to the Annunciation Church in Waimea; Crop Share participants swapped over 400 pounds of food. Crop Share donations have included grapefruit, oranges, limes, lemons, lilikoi, persimmons, bananas, yacon, coconuts, starfruit, jackfruit, avocadoes, taro and taro huli, kabocha, sweet potato, eggplant, lettuce, kale, herbs, plant starts, and many others.

A guaranteed supply of fresh fruit and vegetables from Crop Share participants has enabled us to consistently supply the food banks and Mala‘ai Garden students with fresh produce.

Crop Share Workshops

Crop Share also offers workshops that are free and open to the public. In December  Crop Share hosted a workshop where participants gathered to make swags, evergreen decorations to display during the holidays. Upcoming workshops include bee keeping, raising chickens, and vermicomposting. Stay tuned for additional workshops.

  • January 29th, 9 - 11am: Sustainable Pollination with Natural Bee Keeping Practices, with Jenny  Bach
  • February 12th, 10am - Noon: The Scoop on the Coop: Raising Chickens in Your Backyard, with Ben and Deb Discoe
  • April 2nd, 10am - Noon: Vermicomposting, with Dr. Norman Arancon

Questions?

If you need help harvesting or gathering fresh fruits and vegetables to donate to Crop Share, or if you need assistance delivering food to Mala`ai, please contact Nicole Milne, the Crop Share coordinator (987-9210), and we will arrange for Crop Share volunteers and staff to assist you! If you would like assistance establishing a Crop Share program in your community please contact Nicole via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or (808) 987-9210. For the latest information on Crop Share visit the program’s website.

Nicole Milne is the Project Coordinator for Crop Share, a new project of The Kohala Center and Mala`ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School. They extend a warm mahalo to the individuals and families who have been gathering food from their communities and participating every week.