About Work Trading at Kumu Aina

View from a coconut of garden

View from a coconut of kitchen garden

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our farm! Kumu Aina is an organic tropical fruit farm on the Big Island of Hawaii. We have over 600 fruit trees and 80 varieties of tropical fruit; cows, sheep, goats, chickens, quails and honey bees.

The day consists of fruit picking, milking and moving cows to pasture, gardening including weeding, various maintence projects and animal care.

Things you can learn here are homesteading, natural beekeeping, growing food, grafting trees, hand pollination, harvesting tropical fruit, farmers’ markets, preparing local food to eat, construction, and living off-grid.




Rosey, Kelsey, Devan and Judy help harvest honey

The farm operates Mon-Sun, mostly in the mornings. This leaves most afternoons free for adventure, relaxation and beach time. Monday and Thursday are harvest days. Everyday the animals are cared for; cows and goats are milked by hand, brushed and moved, chickens are fed, released and put for the night. Garden activities include watering, harvesting, planting, weeding and sowing. Other farm maintenance projects include: fencing, chain sawing, light construction, biochar, mulching and composting.

We prefer  people who are self-starters and are enthusiastic to learn about farming, plant propagation, tropical fruit, farm up-keep & maintenance and animal husbandry. If you are a nature enthusiast, are the outdoors type, love animals and growing your own food, you will like it here.

People coming to our farm learn many things about farming, living with people, and things they may never had known about themselves. You will meet people here and create bonds that will last a lifetime. Several couples have met at our farm and have married and created families together. You will live and work with people who share your same interests.



Sarah and Jocelyn

This is not a paid situation so you will need to have spending money for your personal needs.

Hawaii is an expensive place to live and our prices on food and things can be double or triple what you are used to on the mainland. We eat mostly from the land including: wild pig, roosters, beef, lamb, goat, milk, cheese, yogurt, keifer, honey, greens, fruit, and vegetables. We love to cook and make dinners etc., from the food the farm provides. We purchase very little from the stores.




Aditi, Laura and Rayna

If you come, the work is at least 24 hours a week. We work on a list system, and make schedules for milking. We have been working on our vegetable garden, fencing, green house, nursery and pastures.  We are now getting eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, cucumbers, lima beans, long beans, kale, taro, etc. …and lots and lots of tropical fruit!!! You will learn a lot about fruit here.

We have dirt on our land not solid rock/lava. Our farm is approximately 1-2 miles from the coast at an elevation of 130-160 ft. Usually, we host up to four to six interns on our land. Sometimes, though rare, it may just be one or two people here. Our farm is very much as we say it is and it is not explained to you as a vision we hold for the future. Our trees are mature and each month a new variety of fruit(s) are in season.



Sam and Becky

You will share a kitchen with other work traders, and interns on the land. We are off the grid but solar power is available for charging phones, computers, cameras, etc. You will stay in one of five rustic cabins some with their own solar power or running water.

Our immediate area contains several swimming areas including the Warm Ponds which is a naturally heated Olympic-sized hot pool, the Champagne ponds for ocean swimming which is a great place to swim with turtles, the Tide Pools is great for snorkeling, Also, Black Sands beach, and some local non-tourist swimming spots like the Mermaid Pond.


We are outside of town (Pahoa) about 20 minutes. Hitch hiking is a common mode of transportation.


Rayna milking Charlotte

You may stay at the farm for a period of up to 3 months. We find that this suits both the farm and the person staying. Typically, the first month is the learning period, the second month transitional and the last month everything falls into place and a lot of people find that they don’t want to leave. At this point, we can discuss options. There will be a first week evaluation and either party may opt out without a defined reason, if desired.







Kat, Kurt and Dan

If the situation here does not work out for either party we will ask you to seek another situation. Our policy is that everyone leaves happy and are treated in kind. We have been hosting interns on our farm for 10 years and we have much experience in living, working with interested people. The reason for the application ensures that a good fit will happen and 95% of the time it is.

The clearest cell phone signal on the farm is AT&T. People with other service providers will get a solid connection in Pahoa (the closest town) and Hilo. We have solar heated showers, catchment water, solar power (DC-AC inverter), and gas/fire cook stoves.

If you are interested in applying, look for our application contained in this web site.


Dan, Mike, Auntie Jackie, Kat and Rayna

Do not come if you are allergic to animals or bees. No alcohol in the common areas and drug abusers are not welcome.

If you have any questions regarding any of the above information or things that were not touched on, feel free to discuss them with us as we can be flexible to your needs as well.

Mahalozs for your interest in our farm.


Bob & Terri



Some journal entries made by people staying at Kumu Aina:

You can take the girl off the aina but you cant take the aina out of the girl!!!!!! Kumu aina has changed my life and nothing can replace the amazing memories and friends I met along the way. – Kathleen Gabaldon

Living at Kumu Aina gave me the inspiration to pursue my dreams…. Yet I still dream of returning there every day. I created a family there that I will never forget. – Mailani Souza

You two and the farm is instilled in me and the idea of being there give me a lot of calming thoughts. – Kurt Langlois

Words can not describe how much you mean to us. You two have given us a fresh source of knowledge, love and creativity. These past few months have given us a new meaning to the word YOLO – You Only Live Once. We were blessed to have gotten the chance to live at Kumu Aina. The Aina will always be our home away from home. – Judy and Rosie Hartshorn

You taught me so much about life and love and what it means to be a powerful woman. I have grown so much in the time I have spent here, absorbing all your little tidbits of wisdom. Every time I return to the farm and spend time with you and Bob, I am reminded of where I belong -with my bare feet firmly planted on the farm. – Rayna Hagie

 Thank you for making my experience here on the farm unforgettable. You and Terri are so very inspiring and I appreciate all of the knowledge and wisdom you’ve passed on. I have learned so much. – Alexis Anjomshoaa


11 thoughts on “About Work Trading at Kumu Aina

  1. Aloha… I lived and worked on your farm way back in 2003 when it was owned by a different couple. I loved the experience and all the neighbors at Coco’s and Pangia down the street. I really miss it. I had to come back to the mainland for family and now Im thinking about returning. I would love to communicate about what options you have available.

    • Well, Pangaea is now Kanekiki a raw vegan retreat and Coco’s actually was a private residence until recently and now the former owner has
      bought it back and it will be more a community again. We do have an application process and you can find it on the website. We are looking for people
      currently for the late summer until December slot. Aloha, Terri

  2. Aloha! i am soooo interested in the wonderful adventure at Kumu Aina Farm. Im training to be a yoga teacher and get certified in December and after was planning on taking a big step and moving from florida to hawaii in january. Do you have internships available in or around January? if so! do i need to apply now or wait until the date gets closer? namaste!

  3. I would love to experience your farm. But I have to save money for a couple of months. I’m planning on moving to Hawaii (from Ohio) in March, and I would love to work here. Would I be able to work there in March..? Should I apply now or wait? Thank you!

  4. My husband and I are 30 years old with some farming background. We are interested in work trade, but only for one month this October. Would you accept interns for one month?

    • I ask for 3 months because most everyone that comes and stays a month wishes they could stay longer and usually so do I. It takes about a month for us to train a new intern and by the second month they really can do things on their own. By the 3rd month they’ve got it down. The only way I would do it, is if I also charged money.

  5. Hi, we are up in Pepeekeo and ready to process our first batch of honey. I am looking for food grade buckets in Hilo, and your site keeps popping up. I have read and enjoyed a few of your pages, and have the question…where can I get food grade buckets? Thanks Karen
    Flower Hill Hawaii, on facebook 430-0811

    • I used to get them from Pahoa Feed and Seed but not sure if they carry them or not anymore. Also, check with KTA on route 11, they have used buckets from their bakery and food prep that they wash and resell. Good luck!

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