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Grow Your Own Dinner

Local farmer offers workshop that can save money.

As everyone scrapes the bottom of the barrel to put food on the table, an old idea is picking up new steam for its cost-cutting, and environmentally-friendly philosophy.

Permaculture is a way of farming that simply let’s nature do its thing. And seasoned permaculturalist Joe Kennedy, who owns Molokai Island Farms, wants this farm-heavy island to know about it.

safe, clean food.”

Kennedy is hosting a practicum workshop for those interested in permaculture, which can easily be translated into a small family garden. He will be teaching water harvesting, creative mulching, small-scale aquaculture and planting a food forest.

A food forest is the opposite of a farm, where everything is in neat rows and farmers can manage how many products they have from year to year. But by planting spinach for example, underneath trees, the shade helps the spinach grow faster and the root systems work together for nutrients.

Permaculture methods plant perennial products, such as the ‘everlasting species’ – trees. Kennedy grows avocados and mangos among his many other products.

“Farmers are under pressure to grow huge amounts – from the media, the state and the public,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy’s workshop is guided by the Permaculture Research Institute, and is from Feb. 18 – 21. It costs $395 – 450 and includes camping and most meals. A discount will be given to Molokai residents.


4 Responses to “Grow Your Own Dinner”

  1. tournvice says:

    Joe Kennedy has a chaotic system he calls farming. He invites people to come work for him without informing them of the true nature of the position, such as housing, hours etc. His idea of good housing is a group of old hole-ridden, leaky tents that are filled with mold and mildew and occasionally scorpions and centipedes. The food that he provides is not in fact “organic” as he has covered his soil for decades with produce oriented corrugated cardboard boxes to prevent the weeds from growing. These hundreds of boxes contain chemicals such as sodium hydroxide (http://www.answers.com/topic/corrugated-cardboard-1), “A strongly alkaline compound, NaOH, used in the manufacture of chemicals and soaps and in petroleum refining. Also called caustic soda, lye. (http://www.answers.com/topic/sodium-hydroxide. They also go through ” the sulfate process because of the chemicals used to break down wood chips into fibrous pulp” (http://www.answers.com/topic/corrugated-cardboard-1). Moreover, they have non-biodegradable inks that further permeate the soil. Although Joe refers to his produce as “organic,” it would fail organic certification.

  2. RedBeard says:


    Your multiple identical near-slander posts here and on other websites smack of a personal vendetta against Joe Kennedy, not sure what your deal is and frankly don’t care, except that your science is poorly researched rubbish. Answers.com is not a reasonable reference, let alone the fact that what you’ve posted doesn’t support your assertion that his food is not organic.

    Cardboard and newspaper as used by Joe Kennedy have been accepted by organic certifying societies around the world for decades, the glues being cellulose based, and other compounds such as NaOH or inks used in their manufacture being either non-toxic or not present in the final product in measurable quantities. In fact, NaOH is specifically approved in the making of organic products in both the USA and UK by multiple certifying societies.

    To the extent that you are spreading your malicious, uninformed garbage around the internet in a seemingly purposeful attempt to negatively impact this small business, what you are doing amounts to libel, which is against the law.

  3. lanternfish says:

    I have spent time on the Kennedy farm and to me, the beauty of Joe Kennedy and his food forest lies not in exclusionary adherence to one established philosophy, but in his openness to practical solutions that embrace the reality that sustainability and permaculture are multi-faceted. For example: many permaculturests unconditionally reject the use of plastic, and while Joe understands this premise in an ideal world, he also understands the necessity of conservation of resources (especially important on an island!) and has found ways to re-purpose to good use what would otherwise be in the landfill (including, sometimes, plastic). To me, this sort of flexible, practical, big picture thinking is what makes Joe stand out in the sea of soap box permaculturests, and it is in large part why I believe he is a man that we can learn from.

  4. patientacceptance says:

    I agree totally with “RedBeards” post “What’s your real bone to pick?” I know Joe Kennedy personally and he is one of the most accepting, open-minded, patient and good-natured people I know. Joe Kennedy was trying to get the word out about organic faming and permaculture decades before the “Green Movement” became popular. People can learn a lot from this man about not just farming but how to be a compassionate and wise individual as well. “Redbeard” was right, what “tournvice” said is malicious and could be considered slander which is punishable by U.S. law. The lesson here is be careful what you say about other people because it could go full circle right back to you.

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