Chuck Estin

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since Sep 20, 2015
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Recent posts by Chuck Estin

We are open to new Permaculture Diploma  applicants beginning this Spring.  

See our webpage for more info.

I'm looking for a junior partner to co-teach and co-create the two-year live-in permaculture diploma program that I'm starting on Maui.

2 years ago

Kumu Aina Permaculture Diploma Program 
We are accepting apprentice applications for the Kumu Aina two-year Permaculture Diploma Program. We are located in rural Kipahulu Valley, on the SE coast of Maui. Kumu Aina is Hawaiian for “Land as Teacher”; Permaculture is a design method for healthy systems based on principles of nature. The Permaculture Diploma process was created originally by permaculture's founder, Bill Mollison, as a formalized means to document advanced learning competency. Our school utilizes farms in Kipahulu Valley to serve as “classroom laboratories”. Two to six students are housed at each Satellite Farm, rotating to a different farm every three months. Group learning activities occur at the Central Farm.
Entering students are asked to make a two-year commitment to the program. During that two years, each student creates a portfolio with ten designs, demonstrating competency in seven domains of permaculture: Stewardship, Health, Learning, Structures, Technology, Community, and Economics. One of the 10 designs becomes the student's future business design - created in our Business Incubator, ready to launch after graduation. Portfolios are evaluated by panels of peers, mentors and farmers. The farm work is negotiated between the host farmer, and the students living at that farm (with the support of the school staff) to meet the mutual needs of the farm and the learning needs of the students. The farms get their necessary work done, while students also design project-based work that benefits the farm and becomes integrated into their learning Portfolios. The participating farms commit to supporting student learning, to ensure a fair exchange of labor for learning.
A dozen students are selectively chosen from applicants for each year's Cohort – with a new Cohort of twelve students added each year after the previous Cohort graduates. A typical week includes sufficient work time for meeting the host farm's needs along with the student needs for project-based learning. A weekly Group Learning day occursat the Central Farm. A weekly Group Service Project occurs at one of the participating farms, along with a workshop/seminar provided by that farmer. The remainder of the week is for individual learning, portfolio and design work, with a day of rest. Daily personal well-being care is an aspect of the Health domain.
A Permaculture Design Certificate course is integrated into the curriculum for each Cohort, with students helping in the design and teaching, while participating as students.
Entrepreneurial ventures are integrated into the schedule, including edible landscape design/installation, value-added production, etc. Income is cooperatively distributed among the students as a form of stipend. Pilot ventures may end up becoming future student businesses for graduation.
Applicants are expected to be committed to the program for two years, to arrive with relevant skills and experiences in permaculture, farming, building, and living in community. Selection is competitive. Reply for more information.

We are looking for apprentices and/or potential permanent members with experience and passion for working and learning with the Aina and growing food. We are an established community and a mature permaculture farm.  Our farm began in 2000 with a few old buildings, and now has seven acres of mature permaculture landscaping, buildings and infrastructure.  It's located in a very isolated part of Maui – a 2 ½ hour drive from the main city, much of it on a winding one-lane road.  It's off-grid, with a large photovoltaic system, solar hot water, a wood-fired sauna, a laundry facility, and two community kitchens. There are two large structures and fifteen smaller hales, providing living space for the fifteen residents and paying guests, in addition to a teepee and open air dome structure for community gatherings.  We offer a weekly public Cafe and open mike, with food prepared primarily from our half-acre garden and on-site food forest.  We have our own beautiful smooth black stone beach down steep cliff steps, with its continual sound of the waves.  

There are several weekly community meetings and circles which everyone is expected to attend. We live according to the "four agreements", if you're familiar with that book. We share a common spirituality that recognizes our unity with one another and with our Mother Earth. Some meetings are for logistics and some are for personal, community and spiritual growth.  The learning available for apprentices includes diverse aspects of permaculture, gardening, Natural Korean Farming, poultry management (chickens and ducks) integrated into our ponds and gardens similar to the Vietnamese VAC ponds/gardens/livestock classic permaculture system, living in community, food preparation, sharing music, being mentored and engaging in personal spiritual growth.  There is a core group of elders who live here permanently, with the rest of the community made up of younger temporary residents who may stay three months or longer. Everyone has work expectations – minimally four hours a day on average. Some days are free, when someone else is cooking and there aren't any community work projects or events.  On Cafe day we all chip in and do what's necessary to provide a delicious meal for as many as 50-75 outsiders who come to eat, listen, and participate in the open mike event. Work here includes gardening, fruit tree planting, harvest and maintenance, harvesting and cooking vegetables for community meals, cleaning the guest cabins and the main house, coconut harvest and coconut products preparation, building projects, preparing for the Cafe and more.

Thanks for your interest -


2 years ago
We're a six acre farm on Northshore, 2 miles from a great beach and 2 miles from Kilauea. Diverse food crops - bananas, papayas , other fruit trees beginning production, taro, etc. live on our own produce to a large degree. Pond and another soon to be dug. Small community- part of a larger village of communities. Developing as a permaculture college over time as we expand.
My farm, One Song Farm, a Six acre developing permaculture and market garden farm is accepting full time apprentices. We are on Kauai, Northshore, near Kilauea and 2 miles from the ocean.
5 years ago