Practicing Environmental Sustainability at Kaimanu Botanical Garden

Nick OosterveenTucked away in the hot, arid hills above Kihei is a model organic oasis which Nick Oosterveen and his wife Diane have been cultivating since 1987 called Kaimanu Botanical Garden. With generations of agriculture knowledge passed down through his family and a passionate interest in permaculture, Oosterveen has perfected a self-contained ecosystem that epitomizes a “zero-waste” philosophy. Not only does his sustainable farm boast a fertile collection of many exotic vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowering plants and trees—creating what Oosterveen calls a “food forest”—but it also contains an aquaponics system, in which he raises tilapia and plants together in one integrated, soilless system that utilizes a fraction of the water it usually takes to grow the same crops. And being vegetarians, the Oosterveens eat as much as possible from their own land. “The only food I buy from the grocery store is dairy products,” he declared.

Nick Oosterveen is originally from Holland, but moved to Hawaii nearly 30 years ago after a long career in the music industry in Los Angeles. Since then, he has been whole-heartedly committed to the education, promotion, and development of sustainable living through the sharing of information and creating self-sufficient ecosystems. Oosterveen volunteers to teach Maui students and residents about growing their own food which will help decrease the island’s dependence on imports. “Sustainable food production is going to be one of the key issues this island will face in the future, and with this approach, you can raise a lot of food even in very little space,” adds Oosterveen.

Oosterveen welcomes visitors to learn through hands-on workshops every second Saturday of the month. Topics include: Sustainable Living, Permaculture, Food Forests, Aquaponics, Healing Foods, and more. He offers student tours and classes to any Maui School wanting to participate. For reservations or to schedule private educational tours, send an email to nikodesigns@hawaii.rr.com, or call (808) 250-5113.


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