Assistant to Founder/Executive Director

  • Hōnaunau, HI, US

Letter of introduction with CV and or resume.

This is a long-term opportunity for an adventuress spirit with requisite experience who knows the only point, if there is one, is to be of service: so maybe this is an opportunity for you to go for it (again?).

The purpose of this position is to support the Executive Director in multiple tasks, including, but not limited to:

  • Maintaining the calendars
  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Assist research for grant applications
  • Assist managing grant-funded programs (see for past programs)
  • Help 'manage the ED's studio'
  • Help 'hold' the ED's daily tasks; many visionaries aren't so linear
  • Represent the non-profit at public events
  • Assist imagining, testing and implementing the best options for our limited financial resources to compassionately disturb the human systems we aim to serve
  • Assist managing volunteers-in-residence
  • Assist in managing Laughing Gecko Farm

Depending on funded projects, this at-times-more-than-full-time position may sometimes pay $, but there is no reliability for that: those of us who form the core here live simply and have small personal resources that carry us between projects (sometimes we work 60 hour weeks because that's what it takes). We do offer rustic living accommodations (we all live this way) and food growing on the farm (

If we select each other, and you aren't already living on the Big Island, you will need to be available for a 2-week visit.

This is a current description that short term volunteers read about Laughing Gecko Farm and One Island Sustainable.

Mango season is upon us and we can use extra help. Fruit leather. Puree. Pickles. Chutney. Mmm!

This farm is located on the West Coast of the Big Island. We are looking for volunteers to help us farm for 25 hours a week.

Our 11-acre organic farm includes emerging market gardens, orchards and agro-forestry development, including 6,000 square feet of greenhouses for food and medicinal plant production. Our Stewards are currently planting more cacao, orange, lemon, lime, and avocado trees. Mango season is upon us, which means daily harvesting and processing is a priority. The next task is to reclaim 40 mature macadamia nut trees from the jungle.

This summer we are testing recipes and need help with that, too.

As you can imagine, there are endless lists of things to do here (like any farm in that regard), from maintaining demo gardens and the common spaces to planting ginger, tumeric and awa (kava).

We host learners from around the world who want to immerse themselves in a grass-roots intersection of hands-on agriculture and food justice. Most of our applicants have completed undergraduate university, or are coming to us as part of their study. Learning opportunities include visiting other farms in the neighborhood, learning from the teachers who live there, and sometimes joining their crews for a day.

Our location is on the edge of third-world Hawaii: we live near those we serve through the grant funded projects, very simply in rustic housing, learning together how to build soil, grow food and practice being sustainable choice by choice.

Our location is also minutes from a most sought after snorkeling-with-the-dolphins spot, sacred Hawaiian Temple Restorations, and Kelakekua Bay.

We've hosted Farm Stewards from Mexico, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Netherlands, and Russia.

The farm is also the home to non-profit projects, doing rural economic development and education. For example, with USDA assistance, we will soon bring electricity from the sun to homes in a remote fishing village, for household food storage and water distillation.

However, the primary focus of that work is now food security and food justice: 80% of Hawaii's food is imported from thousands of miles away, and there is an estimated 5-day supply in the state at any given moment. In our neighborhood, poverty is masked from tourists by extraordinary natural beauty, 92% of the elementary school students receive free-or-reduced-price-school-lunch, subsidized by the federal and state government; 32% speak Spanish at home.

An American Work Away guest recently supported us with over 300 hours, by farming and compiling and analyzing data, from participants in a year-long pilot, funded by the United State Department of Agriculture, to test ways for engaging poverty communities to prefer, by asking for and buying, island grown produce and by growing more food at home. We are finalizing the data crunching and preparing to write that final report by June. We will expand on that work to serve additional pockets of poverty around the Big Island.

If you are studying grass roots community organizing, education and/or economic development, and want to experience it in action, we might, at times, be a fit. We sometimes need assistance with outreach, teaching, business consulting, administration, research, editing and data input and analysis.

Having said all of that, the primary need now is for farm workers. Come help us practice walking our talk.

Help The day of helping is from 7 am to noon, 5 days a week. We are a diversified organic farm; our sister non profit is about food justice in Hawaii. All volunteers work on the farm, with opportunities for food justice service learning.

Some compensating factors for guests choosing to be here are: learning in action with our farm manager; learning in action through participation with our non profit's community education and economic development projects; connections with other cultural and education organizations we support and participate with Island wide; and, the opportunity to more consciously practice daily sustainable living choices collectively.

We are only interested in people seeking this intersection.

For example, a current work away guest is at the local church this morning facilitating the receipt and distribution of the island-wide food bank's CSA delivery in our neighborhood. (Without us establishing this connection there would be no delivery in our region of the island). While there she asks questions of the gardener growing food for the congregation there, and at 4 other local churches, being trained by me to listen for other gaps we might facilitate filling. After she returns to the farm she'll work in a greenhouse.

On Saturday she sat in on a meeting to form a new co-op for Ulu farmers. After that she attended a native Hawaiian cultural festival (lasting into the evening).

That night We paid for her over night accommodations (this was on the north end of the island, 2 1/2 hours from the farm) so she should help us staff the non profit's booth, demonstrating 3 distinct solar ovens and cookers, at a Harvest Festival all day Sunday.

Tonight she'll attend the Farmers Union potluck and meeting.

She chose us for this intersection of food, grass roots community involvement and social justice.

Accommodation Rustic ag-chic.

If you are not experienced 'living outdoors' in relatively remote settings, this is your chance. However, if you need first-world accommodations, we are not the host for you.

A large tent-on-platform (10x20), privately situated in a shady grove to take advantage of the breeze, with 2 beds and sparse furnishings. Composting poop bucket. Solar-hot-water shower. Community kitchen with solar refrigeration and electric. Potable County Water.

Very reliable Wifi.

Fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts.

We are 15 miles from Kailua Kona and 5 miles from the Sunday Farmers Market, Super Market and Hardware store. We offer rides when we do errands. Public transportation is limited and 2 miles away. Hitchhiking is common. While there is a bicycle here, the roads are narrow, but using it to get down to 2-Step to snorkel is relatively safe. Our guests sometimes rent a car together when planning an adventure; others have individually rented a car for their entire stay. Depending on your expectations, you can manage just fine without a car.

Cultural exchange and learning opportunites You are invited to join a Green Faith Fellowship. Come immerse yourself in the arms of our Great Mother. Allow her to teach and heal in ways to be revealed in your dreams and expressed in your responses to the opportunities that arise. What will you learn from the juxtaposition of great green beauty floating above the western sea against the very hard reality of human suffering all around us? Our individual practice is: show up; pay attention; tell the truth; and, be open to outcomes. Our collective practice is to discern gaps or needs in "the community" and look for opportunities to compassionately disturb the system. Our deepest curiosity revolves around food: Growing it; Distributing it to those most in need in collaboration with many hands and organizations; Increasing demand for locally grown; and, Helping farmers connect with contract buyers. Our current education emphasis is Food as Medicine.

And, of course, the larger contexts holding us are the distinct cultures, races and histories that are Hawaii. Within each of those streams are challenges and opportunities. You will find ways to connect with your particular interests, and we may be helpful in that. My most common suggestion is to volunteer where ever you can for organizations practicing what you value as a way to meet new people.

We are particularly interested in helping small (in some cases quite geographically isolated) communities improve safety and quality of life. One quick example from someone we helped shift from living out of an ice chest to a solar refer and a freezer: quote, "Half the food in my new fridge and freezer was paid for by gas money I saved not having to drive 24 miles round trip every other day to buy ice for my chest (which I was paying for with my food stamps)."

If you engage with us on the education and economic development side of our work you will naturally intersect some of the larger cultures that way, too.

One Island Sustainable One Island Sustainable logo

  • PO Box 865
    Hōnaunau, HI, US 96726
    See Map
  • Duration:

    3 months or longer
  • Time commitment:

    Full time (30-40 hours/week)
  • Schedule:

    Flexible schedule
  • Extra details:

    Training provided
  • International volunteer options:

    Housing available

One Island Sustainable One Island Sustainable logo

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