SOS stands for Sato’s Sustainable and Organic Farms and they are just that. Yuichi and Kelly Sato (Left) are wholeheartedly devoted to redefining what many people understand as “local” when it comes to food production.
Through their Eat Local Service (ELS) they have tapped into the locavore movement, evolving the Community Supported Agriculture model to create an online farm stand and local food delivery service, which is order and pay as you go. No more turnips if you don’t want them!
A large part of what sets SOS farms apart from other farms that may claim sustainable approaches is that they divert foods wastes from local food producers and convert it directly back into food through their use of a rotational chicken system on their farm. Old bread, GMO free soy by-product from tofu, and local fish scraps from restaurants give there laying hens a rich and diverse diet, while the chickens do the work of fertilizing, weeding, and tilling the soil for future generations of nutrient rich vegetable and fruit crops.
I consulted with the Sato’s as they developed their plans for converting an acre of old guava plantation into what has become their livelihood. In May we installed the fences and irrigation and this summer they have been working the land, tending the chickens (now over 100 strong), and launching the pilot ELS program for a limited number of clients in Kilauea and Princeville, as well as selling at local farmers markets.
The details of the collaboratively developed farm design and management plan include gravity fed irrigation with an innovative low-pressure Japanese tubing (Sumisansui®) that covers a 20 ft. width and any desired length with a fine laser-precision mist.
The design below shows how their chickens are rotated from one 8000 square foot plot to the next on a quarterly cycle around the chicken coop which is located in the center. Fed with food scraps and lots of love (above – Yuichi cutting up fish for chickens) the Sato’s use no other fertilizers, just calcitic lime from the Big Island, and have very little need to till. Opposite the chickens, vegetables and cover crops are rotated quarterly around the plots. Soon they will begin planting white clover after the chickens clear to create permanent nitrogen fixing pathways which will be mowed/harvested with a bagging mower. This can be added to compost and for use as a green manure mulch. In time this farm is designed to become self sufficient and low maintenance, much like a perennial system would be. Visit their website at www.sosfarms.com