Increased food security is one of the guiding principles behind Eden Earthworks, run by Dr. Neena Roumell. Roumell is originally from Detroit and worked with low-income mothers there, who were given vouchers through the WIC program to buy fresh produce. “In Detroit,” Roumell noted, “there were over 300 community gardens, but there were none on this side of the Big Island when I arrived here. Hawaii is just starting to build its network of food production and farmstands, and I didn’t want lower income people to be left out. I looked at food models that concentrated on boosting income and nutritional intake and Eden Earthworks was formed.”
Eden Earthworks is a family owned farm and 501(c)(3) organization that provides agricultural outreach and education to low-income families and also offers them plots in a community garden. Currently, 35 families have plots and are raising food. Eden Earthworks also keeps flocks of laying hens and meat chickens that Roumell feels every farm needs to be sustainable. Eden Earthworks donates the eggs to food-based local charities but as Eden Earthworks expands, she plans to train the participating families in caring for the chickens and having them all share in the fresh eggs. “Becoming Animal Welfare Approved was an important thing to do,” she notes. “I wanted to be sure the chickens were getting the quality of care they deserved and having the AWA label reinforces that. In addition, the standards will help our beginning farmers to know how to care for the chickens on their own.” For more information, contact Neena at firstname.lastname@example.org and (808) 333-7444.