Work Trade on Farms and Grow Weed in Hawaii

Live and grow weed in Hawaii on a budget. It’s easier than you think. Work trade on farms to save money.

Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis Program allows registered cardholders to grow cannabis at home or a caregiver’s location.


Cannabis Farm in Hawaii


Moving to a new place and starting over from scratch can be intimidating and costly, but if you do it right, you don’t need to spend that much at all.

If you’re looking at purchasing property in Hawaii, but don’t want to commit before you’ve lived there long enough to get a taste for it, then consider other affordable accommodations—like renting somebody’s cabin or doing work trade for rent.




WWOOF Hawaii

WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms. This program is basically as a classified ads directory for farmers who are looking for work in exchange for housing and/or food supplies. Farmers simply post what they need (the hours of work and type of work) in exchange for what they offer (a place to stay and food arrangements, if any).


In most cases the rent is paid by your work on the farm.


It’s up to each farm host to decide what they’ll offer for the work they want to be done. Some farms expect very long hours of work while others only ask for a few hours per week.

Taro growing in Waipio Valley, Big Island, Hawaii
Taro growing in Waipio Valley


There’s a big community of cannabis growers and enthusiasts in Hawaii, many with their roots in guerrilla growing. Thanks to Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis program, growing up to ten plants on your own property can now be done legally.


The Poor Man’s grow


If you can’t get your hands on some land of your own, perhaps you can strike a deal with another property owner in order to grow cannabis crops there. A lot of people are doing caretaking gigs because the owners want someone guarding their property. Win-win.

If you don’t have the cash to start growing, you gotta make do with what you got.

The cheapest option is to do an outdoor grow with no lights. Simply seeds and soil. If you can afford a cheap LED grow light, you may manipulate the plants’ flowering cycle with only a few hours of artificial light after the sun goes down.

Hawaiian strains are here and many are adapted to the outdoor climate. If you make some 420 friendly connections throughout the Islands, you could possibly score some for free. Buying seeds from a marijuana seed bank is always a good option.


Some people have lava rock for their backyard but if you’re lucky enough to have rich Hawaiian soil, just know that it’s slightly acidic and very young (Big Island is the youngest island being only 800,000 years old). Calcium helps—lime and oyster shell flour are great sources.


happy frog by foxfarm fertilizers


Foxfarm’s Happy Frog is an affordable organic dry fertilizer. It’s filled with a myriad of the best known natural fertilizers and supplements—all in one bag. Happy Frog also comes packed with mycorrhizal fungi inoculant, which is key to taking advantage of the nutrients in your soil and bolstering micro-life. Happy Frog contains many ingredients that slowly release nutrients, keeping them constantly available for your plants with correct use and application.





Use lime for Hawaii's soils

Dolomite lime is an essential additive for Hawaii’s acidic soils. Lime raises the pH of the soil it is added to, and a better-balanced pH will make more nutrients available for your plant to use. Lime is also a great source of calcium, which local soils are usually lacking. There are only two amendments you “really need” for growing in Hawaii’s soil, and this is one of them (the other is nitrogen). This mix is a super-fine powder for a quicker pH buffering effect.





Pointers for Growing Weed in Hawaii


  • A grow spot should ideally have at least five hours of full sun per day. This will be crucial as the plants are nearing harvest. If they are in the shade all day, mold and bud rot will become a problem.
  • The sun moves south as fall approaches and north again, coming into spring. Ensuring your plants have good sun exposure during their flowering cycle is a key to growing plump buds.
  • Amend your soil and plant your seeds—don’t use all the fertilizer at once, it will be too much for your tender seedlings, and they’ll burn right up.
  • You can add more nutrients later as your plants mature. Just sprinkle fertilizer onto the topsoil and lightly work it in. Also, making spikes (small, finger size holes in the soil around your plant that you fill up with dry fertilizer) works well as nutrient supplements.
  • Fan leaves—to pluck or not to pluck? In general, outdoor growers defoliate less than indoor growers. Defoliation is highly debated and the choice is yours.
  • Watch out for moldy buds. Mold can be surprising! Gray mold (Botrytis cinerea) will often come in unexpectedly from inside of the bud, developing into a devastating problem if left unnoticed. Be sure to remove any mold infected buds immediately and clean the surrounding plant matter with rubbing alcohol.


inspect your buds religiously
Inspect your buds religiously.


Drying weed in Hawaii


Hawaii is a dank, humid place filled with mold spores (in most areas). Humidity control is needed to dry your buds properly. A dehumidifier is recommended if you have the electricity. If you’re living off-grid and want to get creative, continue reading below.

using wood stoves to dry cannabis

How to dry buds in the rain?

You can make a stove out of a propane tank by cutting out the front and top using a Sawzall. Just buy some cheap chimney pipes and jimmy together a chimney cap with a piece of scrap tin. Then fill in the gaps with aluminum foil. Read more here—DIY propane wood stove.


Install this wood stove to keep your room at a lower humidity. With a small fire it heats up the room a bit to speed up the drying process.

  • Keep your buds away from the stove.
  • Don’t go over 82°F. High heat can damage precious trichomes.
  • Drying marijuana too quickly will make it taste harsh!



line bear sticker

Time to roll up some monster fatties in celebration of freshly harvested home-grown pakalōlō!

If you don’t know what long season and short season are in Hawaii, read this: Growing Medical Marijuana in Hawaii.


Learn more on the Weed Blog

Jared Cox profile image

Jared Cox is the author behind Mold Resistant Strains. He is a cannabis grower, breeder, and archivist of seeds. His work across several disciplines extensively covers cannabis genetics, cultivation, processing, and sales.

13 thoughts on “Work Trade on Farms and Grow Weed in Hawaii”

  1. I love your article, it was fascinating, do you have any suggestions for a female wanting to follow in your footsteps. Are there any farms that you would recommend or not recommend?? I have done research about Wwoof in Hawaii and other places but Hawaii is my choice, I loved it so much when I was there. Are there any certain Islands that are better than others. How long were you there before you got your own place. Where are you from originally?? Is there any advice you wish someone would have told you before you started?? Do you still work for Wwoof?? Did you work for a marijuana grower when you worked at Wwoof? How long have you been in Hawaii?? What Island do you live on??? I appreciate you sharing your adventure and I am thrilled to talk to someone who worked with Wwoof. Have a great day and I am looking forward to hearing from you. You can email me anytime. Would love to see more pics of Hawaii!! 🙂

    • Aloha Para

      Thanks for the positive feedback. Deciding what Island is right for you is up to what atmosphere you really want. I can only tell you about the Big Island, as I have not lived on the other Islands.

      Big Island is great, although it is very rural in some areas. I live on the Hamakua coast, most of the land is old sugarcane fields that have been turned into pastures. Small, rural population – but people do party, just usually with friends by a campfire or bbq.

      If you love the outdoors, here is a great place to be. WWOOF is basically like Craiglist for farmers, you don’t actually ‘work’ for WWOOF, you just meet people through it.

      I worked at a farm, proved myself to be a solid worker through hard labor and trust, and was able to set up a indoor/outdoor operation on the farm, all legally and without working a 9-5 job.

      I’ll talk to you more through e-mail, shoots.

    • I somehow came across this on Google searching similar life style options. I wonder if u found any suggestions besides on here. If read this TY for the time

  2. Aloha, my dear Hawaiianbraddah, I appreciate your quick response and your time. You are welcome my friend, you are living the dream indeed bro. I worked for 3 weeks on Maui around Kaanapali area and feel in love, I was so sad when I had to come home. Small rural populations are me to a tee, the small town I lived for 15 years had no stoplights and the one I live in now has 2, hehehe, so the community where you live does not sound much different, EXCEPT, you are in the most beautiful place out in the middle of the Ocean, that is my opinion. I am into self sufficiency and you can cook some delicious meals over an open flame, I am planning on starting an organic farm, raising veggies, have grown my own food going on 8 years now and could not imagine life any different, saving seeds is how all the food grown is now free and has been all these years. I love the outdoors and used to tending to my gardens, that is why I have been looking into WWOOF, so I can learn what I don’t know before buying land and starting the farm. I saw where it said I would have to contact the participating farms to find work but thinking of it like Craiglist is a great way to look at it. I understand how it works even better now. I am not familiar with the Big Island but am researching it now, gazing on the coastal region you are from and dear lord, it is so beautiful and lush. I was wondering how many people do they hire at the average farm and how much of a notice do you give the farm if you want to work there?? Also curious as too how many days a week do you work on the WWOOF farm and around how many hours a day on average. What are the regret.s if any at all. of taking that step and joining the WWOOF program and moving so far from home?? Keep up the great work Bro and I will check my email for your message. ~Para~

    • Thanks for the kind words Para. WWOOF is surely a great way to meet friendly people who are cool with cannabis. Medical marijuana is legal in Hawaii, provided you have a medical permit from a doctor. These can be prescribed for various pain ailments, as well as many other conditions. Take a quick search on google and you will find doctors on the different Islands of Hawaii that can help with getting a legal medical marijuana permit for Hawaii. Get the permit and start growing – enjoy the good life, legally!

  3. WWOOF program has farms all across the world you can work on. I was cleaning palm fronds at a beach house at Keyholo bay, BI – great memories 🙂

    • Aloha Dino. Yeah, Keyholo Bay is a stunning place. There is a queens bath towards the south side of the beach, and towards the north side of Keyholo there is a lagoon where fresh water (from the underground lava tubes of Hawaii) meets salt water. The fresh water floats on top, so you can dive down and it will be brisk at first, but go down a few feet and it gets warmer. Quite the unusual and exciting experience!

  4. Greetings,

    I would like to speak with you regarding this opportunity for 0 dollar trip to grow cannabia in Hawaii.

    Thank you

    • I would be willing..i came across the WOOF idea last yr.i am good at growing and honest passionate person. I wondering if u have work $0 tk travel and live

  5. I used to live on the Big Island about 5 years back in waipio valley..I moved back to colorado and have been thinking about Waipio since then….im trying to find someone that has property to caretake on or some sort of woofing situation .. I would buy a jeep of some sort as soon as i got there and preferably someone that is okay with me growing cannabis… I have no intention of leaving this time seeing as im experiencing all that the mainland has to offer 9-5 work life…i want to get back to nature and grow my own vegetables and marijuana:) i know some of the locals Kia Batolona and others in the area and would love to be back on that black sand beach

  6. Well what a dream come true, I am able and willing to work on any
    farm,hard work in the soil is good for the soul ,what can I do to learn more on the how, when ,what, I can start as soon as I hear a response, my mom used to grow her cannabis in an old bus ,up Kalpana, on her farm called the Out Post, then she moved to KAUAI, so now I need to find an organic cannabis grower that will let me work for trade and I would be so grateful to hear from a grower who is on the same page, my home land line is 808-315-7940,my cell phone number 808-345-1129 ! And if you need any more information please let me know, Mahalo nui loa and God bless you ALWAYS, Tamara Tricker ❤


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