The owner of Zen Island Farm, Ayako was born and raised in Japan, and in her adulthood, Ayako lived in different parts of the world including Beijing, Taiwan, Bay Area California and moved to Maui in 2015.
Ayako established her career in the food industry when she was living in the Bay Area, where she worked as a restaurant manager, chef and food product specialist. The Bay Area was the place where the “farm to table” concept was born, and where Ayako first came to discover it. She often went to the local farmers market in order to get the freshest ingredients, for her work as well as for personal use, and soon got to know many different farmers who had put so much effort and care into growing their fruits and vegetables. She felt a deep sense of gratitude and fascination in having the opportunity to work with and make food using such precious ingredients. It slowly became a dream of hers to serve farm to table meals and become involved in furthering the local and sustainable farm to table movement.
Ayako decided to move to Maui in 2014 to start a new life and pursue her dream. When she came to Maui, she started to volunteer at various organic farms to learn about farming and to meet people who care about the land, environment, food supply, and community. That was when she learned the meaning of the Hawaiian word ‘Āina and the importance of land for the Hawaiians. During her time volunteering on organic farms, she had the chance to learn about the permaculture concept of agriculture as well. Permaculture means permanent culture or permanent agriculture. Permaculture emphasizes the lifestyle of human beings living in harmony and balance with nature and growing food with minimum human impact on the land.
Zen Island Farm is a veganic farm, which combines the terms vegan and organic. We primarily use straw, vegetable waste, and vermicompost (also known as worm composting) as a means to maintain and improve soil fertility, instead of animal manure, which is commonly used on other organic farms.
Our farm also follows a Shizen-Saibai form of agriculture, also known as Japanese Natural Farming, based on Masanobu Fukuoka's famous book, "One Straw Revolution."
When Ayako found the piece of land in 2017, it was originally a horse pasture. She wanted to grow food on the land, in an effort to do something good for the ‘Āina and the Maui community.
She started to develop the farm in 2018, and shortly after decided to enroll in the Farm Apprentice Program organized by the HFUU, Hawaii Farmers Union United and had the opportunity to learn so many things about farming from many knowledgeable mentors, all successful farmers on the island. Upon completing the program, she felt strongly that sustainable and regenerative farming was going to be a crucial part of not only our lives, but our children’s lives as well.
Our owner chef Ayako is passionate about innovative cooking, and her food creations are not limited to her native country of Japan, but encompass a wide range of international cuisines. At Zen Island Farm Bed & Breakfast, it is our mission to provide healthy meals that can delight your taste buds and nourish not only your body, but also your mind and spirit. By serving meals using sustainably grown ingredients, we hope to do our part in spreading awareness about the importance of preserving and regenerating the environment for our future generations.
We would like to offer opportunities for people to experience a lifestyle living in harmony with nature, as well as having a chance to taste meals cooked with love, using locally produced ingredients from the ‘Āina. It is our hope that whoever comes to Zen Island Farm will leave with a renewed sense of energy and joy, and it would be our great honor to serve as host.