Farm tours at Common Ground
An immersion for mind and body, the Common Ground Farm Tour is an experience of interconnectedness.
Common Ground’s Farm Tour cannot simply be described as a walk around the farm. It is not just a visual experience, nor a lecture. It is an experience of smell, touch, introspection. It is the sound of rushing water at the Stone Dam, built in 1880. It is a scavenger hunt on Kauaʻi agricultural land for canoe crops first propagated here hundreds of years ago by Polynesian explorers. It is the observation of harmony between plant, animal and fungal elements. It is the taste of an exquisitely crafted farm-to-table meal. An immersion for mind and body, the Common Ground Farm Tour is an experience of interconnectedness.
Led by Farm Manager John Parziale, the first portion of the tour begins with a discussion of the urgent need to transform the destructive practices of industrial agriculture into regenerative solutions. John then leads a walk through his multi-story agroforestry design which incorporates multi-species grazing. An exploration of this food forest will reveal a symphony of relationships between Hawaiian favorites such as ʻulu, kava, and taro, Amazon rainforest specimens, annual vegetables, mushrooms, egg-laying chickens, and dairy cows. All of these diverse elements are woven together into a resilient agricultural ecosystem, a snapshot of what the farm of the future could look like.
While taking the short walk to the historic Stone Dam, just beyond the gates of the CG campus, learn about the Plantation-era of Kauaʻi and the sugar industry which drove development and infrastructure and forever changed the island. Upon reaching the dam, take a pause and a collective breath and honor the practice of entering a space with reverence. Hawaiian canoe crops are thriving in this area; participate in a scavenger hunt to find them. Native and endemic plants are vital for a healthy ecosystem in Hawaiʻi. Because of the extreme isolation of the islands, 90% of Hawaiian plants are found nowhere else in the world. Join in a conversation about why Hawaiʻi is referred to as the “Endangered Species Capital of the World.”
The walk back from the Stone Dam proceeds with a discussion about the importance of supporting the local food system while on Kauaʻi and specifically how tourists of the islands can bolster this work. After so much talk about farming and food, the farm-to-table lunch which caps off the tour is eagerly welcomed. Lunch varies seasonally and even week to week with the harvest. Enjoy offers such as a chicken salad sandwich made on house-made focaccia bread and chicken raised on site, or a roasted vegetable and hummus sandwich with house hummus, local goat cheese and roasted vegetables based on what is currently available and fresh.