Farmer Spotlight: Jackie Prell Farms With Future Generations in Mind

Katie Opalinska

Hello, my name is Jackie Prell. I've been growing bananas, sugarcane, taro, coconuts, cassava, vegetables, and orchard crops at my Hawaii farm for 40 years.

Sustainable farming practices are important to me because I farm with future generations in mind, I want to regenerate soil, not mine it.  

My favorite thing about being a farmer is putting good food in to people's hands and on their plates.

My farmer idol of superhero is Master Cho, the originator of Korean Natural Farming, because his methods helped us regenerate the microbiology of our soil, cheaply, effectively and efficiently.

My favorite song to listen to on the farm is birdsong.

When I’m not farming, I like to read and write.

My favorite thing to grow is whatever grows easily.

My favorite thing to eat is sugarcane juice smoothies.

If I could change one thing about the food system it would be to make it all grown organically, like it was 100 years ago.

Something you don’t know about me is I own a farm-to-fork cafe, Sweet Cane Cafe and have 5 daughters.

If I could tell the world one thing about what being a farmer is like, it would be that it's rewarding and there's always something new to learn.

I am reducing post-harvest losses by making value-added products.

I conserve water on my farm by making my soil healthy, so that it retains water, but it rains 160" a year here.

Climate change is affecting my farm through bigger, random, storms.

Some things I’m doing to protect the environment on my farm are mulching, using a spader, not a tiller, using no chemicals.

I think we need more young people involved in farming because we will always need a new generation of farmers to feed the people on the planet.

One thing I’m doing to create healthy soil on my farm is culturing indigenous microorganisms - farm-friendly fungi.

One thing I’m doing to prevent erosion from my farm is protecting the topsoil with cover crops, mulch, and planting with the contour of the land.

The most difficult thing about sustainable farming is watching other farmers use pesticides.

I chose the agricultural life because Hawaii imports 90% of its food and things grow too well and easily for this to not change.

The following resources, programs, or organizations are most valuable to my farm: Hawaii Farmers Union United,, Kohala Center.