Tribes & Clusters


2008 - 2010
oshogoun. Make your own badge here.


My status

Contact Me

Paypal Donate
Your Privacy

Synchronium Consulting - Claude-Michel Prévost

  Friendly Aquaponics: the bait for the interns.

Subject: Re: Internship in Hawai: I'm interested.
Date: August 6, 2010 12:32:46 AM PDT (CA)

Aloha Claude-Michel!

Thanks for your interest in our Intern Program.

Please read the following, and get back to me if you're interested. It is long, but hopefully interesting. Please read all the way to the end before you email me back.


Aloha from:

Susanne Friend
PO Box 1196
Honoka'a, HI 96727

PS As it seems exceedingly awkward to me to use "her/him" and "herself/himself", etc., I will instead simply alternate between pronouns. We are interested in both male and female applicants. Thanks!


What qualities are most important to us in the interns that we choose?
High regard for self, integrity,the willingness to engage in introspection, courage, open-mindedness, and flexibility.

To elaborate on these qualities: We want a young person that feels good about herself, and understands that this "feeling good" is not some new age, ephemeral, good feeling, but is a direct result of the good choices that she has made. All the best qualities of human beings are easily available to someone that esteems themselves highly. The higher a person's sense of self worth is, based upon the consistent good choices he has made, the harder it is for him to make a bad choice. For example, everyone probably answers this question including the word "honesty," since we are talking about welcoming a complete stranger into our homes, to work beside us in our life's mission, and to even participate in the raising of our children! A young lady who values herself highly is automatically full of integrity, because she knows anything else is to devalue herself completely. Same with all the other great qualities: loving kindness, optimism, good attitude, generosity, etc.

As for self-introspection, we believe that most people are too overwhelmed by their lives to really look at themselves, and as such, become victims of pitfalls in their own personalities/egos. We most desire a person who is willing to really engage in the inquiry into their "shadow" side, and not just pretend that everything is sunshine and roses....In our opinion, this is what honesty and courage really represent.

We want open-minded and flexible people because the world is changing rapidly, and we believe that the future is nowhere near as rosy as the politicians and media would have us believe. What has become generally accepted as "normal" (going to the supermarket and purchasing anything and everything you want, shipped from hundreds or thousands of miles away) is not normal at all, and that at some point in the not-too-distant future, the world will become much smaller, and growing food will become much more imperative. Peak Oil has moved from a theory to a reality, and we believe that grave repercussions are coming our way, and immediate preparations are in order.

What duties are expected of the interns?
Your primary job is to learn everything you can learn about operating a commercial Aquaponics farm. Your time here will include sitting in on at least one training ($1500 value), probably toward the end of your time here. There is daily work that we experience as play (if we're not having fun, we're not doing it right!) in the Aquaponics; easy, repetitious tasks (mostly sitting down in the shade!), and two or so days a week of intensive harvest (where we have a definte result to produce, and play the game of completing it as rapidly as possible). There is also cooking for a whole crew of people, and the huge house to clean; we all participate in these tasks. And then there is the most important job of all: Being Best Friend / Big Sister or Big Brother to our kids! Our lives are to a large degree organized around the children, and everyone is encouraged to stop and PLAY with them, any time they ask! So, a lot of this information will be organized around them, so you have a sense of who they are as well (since I am presuming you read all about us already on our website).

Victor and Jack are a lot of help with housekeeping. Victor does the dishes, cooks some, and cleans bathrooms like a champ! They both need supervision, and do much better when I do jobs with them rather than all alone. So, you would need to work with them a lot, making housework fun, as this is invaluable training for children, I believe. (I wring a lot of work from the kids, and in return, they get to play on the Xbox!).

Basically, it's a matter of jumping in to a huge family, doing whatever is most wanted/needed on the schedule for that day (we start the morning with a 7:30 planning meeting), and having a great time doing it! If this sounds like fun to you, then come on over!


What does our family like to do for fun?
Beach! Beach! Beach! We take one day a week off now, no negotiations. I sort of put my foot down last summer, because we'd been working all seven days for months on end...Mostly we take off Sundays, and go to a daytime rave called Ecstatic Dance down in the Puna District (about an hour and a half drive from home), where all the hippies live. It's totally counter-culture, and a really fun time. Afterwards, we go to some geothermally warmed ponds known locally as the Hot Ponds. It's a fun day, and a great "mini-vacation". Or, we head over to the west side of the island, to where the resort beaches are, on the Kohala Coast. We have a 15-passenger van, so anyone who wants to join in is welcome!

At home, we watch movies on DVD, and DVDs of some select TV series (but not network or cable TV) at night. We sometimes gather for some "personal growth work", and listen to a recorded seminar or watch something online that will make us better people.

The kids have a 16' trampoline, and game stations that they love (X-Box, Wii, and Playstation 3, believe it or not....the kids are all rabid gamers. We all do Guitar Hero together, and I totally suck. They have to earn their game time - through chores and a good attitude). We read aloud almost every night (We're in Narnia now, and will be for several more months.) We also included the children as much as possible in the construction of our house, since we built it all ourselves. My husband, Tim, a boat builder, thinks building houses is easy, because they're filled with holes, and they don't sink! So the boys each have their own tool belt and tools, and they help Dad build things.

The house is not really completely finished, but it was time to set our minds to generating some income that was not tied to the construction industry (as our two businesses have been for the past many years), so we started the Aquaponics farm in 2007. It was the best move we ever made, just in time to save ourselves from the Global Economic Meltdown in which our world currently seems to be emeshed.

Let me tell you about the kids.....
My children are amazing. I know probably everyone says that, but really! Other people tell me that very often (talk to our other interns!). I can take them to nice restaurants, if that tells you anything.

Victor, age 15 on July 2nd, will not really be under the intern's direction (although he will work along side you, much of the time). He needs a good friend, and a shining example (remember how horrible 15 was?).

Jack (9 on April 15th), is my Sunshine; he is the kind of person that the sun just plain flat shines more brightly on....he is stunningly beautiful, and I am working very hard to teach him early that it's what's under the skin that counts, and he really gets it. Jack is sweet, and he is a most unusual child, in that he (so far) appears to be a natural giver (teaching our children to become givers is the biggest - and most difficult - job of a parent. To take these self-absorbed little beings and to teach them that there are others in the world, with desires and needs, just like their own, is what usually takes the first 10 years or so!) However, he has a tendency to be a bit over-emotional, and gets his feelings hurt when around other kids (especially by his big brother, Victor).

Lucky, who will be 8 on 10/16, had a very close call at birth (severe meconium aspiration syndrome), and spent 22 days in neonatal intensive care after his birth, and is very lucky to be alive (hence the name). He is the most introverted of all my children, and has a tendency to "cave in" on himself when things go wrong. He sometimes still seems to processing a lot of grief from this event.

Rose turned 5 on March 18th, and she is truly a force of nature (along the lines of a hurricane, I think). She is a total tomboy who loves to put on make up, and fingernail polish, and insists that she get to put it on her older brothers and me as well. She is the strongest-willed person I have ever met, smart as can be, and unbelievably kind. She is amazing!


Let me give you a rough idea of the daily schedule:
I get up at ~6am, for a little quiet time to myself, and a cup of coffee! I hit the ground running, and get a lot done while the kids are asleep. Everyone else is usually up by 7am, and ready for breakfast. Unlike most farms, we do not start particularly early in the day, as we'd rather work late than start early. We have a daily meeting at 7:30, where we plan the day. Every day is different, and every day is wonderful. Sometimes, we just decide to work a half-day, and go surf in the afternoon.

Tim is usually up by 7am, to do whatever he does that day, usually working in the shop, building tanks for the aquaponics farm. I spend some time on the computer, then join Tim in the shop or go up to the aquaponics with the interns. Lunch for everyone around midday, then more of the same in the afternoon.

Tim and I usually wrap up in the shop/aquaponics around 6pm and we eat dinner. Sometimes a movie afterwards, then to bed fairly early. Saturdays usually involve the free Farm Tour we give every Saturday, which has been a critical factor in the honing and refinement of our vision. We have the opportunity to powerfully speak and create our vision every week, and this game never would have gotten so big if we had not done this every week. The interns are encouraged (but not required) to participate in the Farm Tour every week, and even to lead it.

Sundays we usually take a trip to the beach, often driving down into Waipio Valley (nine miles from our house), where we cook breakfast over a campfire, and the we all play in the river and in the sea. Or we go to the Warm Ponds in Puna, or to our favorite beach in the world, known as "Beach 69", over on the West Side.


What are your expectations of the intern's role in the family?
To be a member of our "farmily". You are absolutely welcome to integrate fully into our family. You are welcome to speak to all of the people that have come here so far about their experiences of being in our family (email addresses on request).

I have had extensive training in cognitive behavioral psychology, and have quite a few "tools in my toolbox" (as in, having a life that works, having excellent communication skills (well, I try anyway!), etc.). I love to have deep conversations about being human, and pass on some of the major life lessons I have learned....I would expect the intern to be a friend of ours as well, and for us to all learn and grow out of knowing each other. Right now, I am studying Non-Violent Communication, and this is a big part of how we interact with eachother here.

Please watch (about 20 minutes, total):

My husband is an absolutely amazing man; He built his first boat at age 17, a 25-foot’ trimaran. But he says that sailing her was like being on the road in a VW Bug with the top down - in a rainstorm., So, at 19, he built another trimaran, this time a 37’-footer, so he wouldn't get so wet. He sailed solo in the South Pacific for several years, to the Marquesas and then to Hawaii, finally settling on the Big Island. He also ran a boat shop, building 16 boats in excess of 25 feet’. He built a 56’ foot trimaran named Tropic Bird in 1978, at the age of 26. Tropic Bird was designed to be a commercial fishing boat, and Tim fished on her for six years. Tim is a person that knows how to do/build almost anything, and will teach you a lot, if you like. We are moving into the next era of our lives, and the next big game, which will be about creating a New Age of Sail (read Dimitri Orlov's blog by the same title,


What modes of discipline and parenting style do we use with the kids?
See the Wiki page here, and read all four styles...I am Authoritative (the first category, NOT to be confused with Authoritarian, the second category).

Further, in our house there is NO PHYSICAL VIOLENCE OF ANY KIND. And we are working toward no VERBAL violence of any kind as well, although we have a long way to go....

As far as punishment for the children goes, we use age appropriate time outs only, combined with loss of privileges (which is why I let them have an X-box to begin with - so I have something to take away! It's wonderful currency! ;-). I use the "three strikes and you're in time out" method (except for us it's "yellow light/red light", so I guess it's really "two strikes and you're out"), and always follow through, so my children are amazingly obedient.

We probably talk way too much to the kids (i.e. lecture). I realize that really only the first sentence or two of a lecture gets heard (wasn't that true for you, when your parents lectured you?), but I really attempt to reason with my children as much as possible. Mostly, we reinforce the things they do right, complement them, and never allow ourselves to yell at them, or even talk in a tone that is mean or cutting. I believe this kills their Essence, or, as Tony Morrison says: "kills the angels in their hearts."


What are our work hours?
See above. We really work a lot (see Daily Schedule), but there's a tremendous amount of flexibility in all that we do. And it's so much fun that we consider it play; we dance a lot, and have lettuce fights and freezer screams on harvest days. The kids are integrated into everything we do, and are central in our lives. It's wild that we grow lettuce and sell it at Costco...not bad for people who, up three years ago, never even had a houseplant that lived! We are committed to sustainable organic farming, and the Slow Food Movement. We grow food, and we teach people to do what we are doing, and we really never pay attention to the clock. Don't expect to start at a certain time, nor to stop a certain time.

With all that being said, you are of course free to take time off at any time during the day, as well as taking off one full day a week, with significant extra time off here and there. So, we need someone who can be flexible, play/work hard, and be mature enough to take care of herself as well! You must promise to manage your own well-being, as I refuse to fill the role of mother to anyone but my own kids!


Is traveling with the family part of the opportunity?
Not really, yet. But this is an area the we might expand in to, depending upon how our partnership progresses. For now, we go to Kona every couple of weeks to go to Costco to shop, and once a week or so we to go to Hilo to pick up supplies for the aquaponics. We pretty much never leave the Island, at this point, because there are so many of us. We are so happy here at this time, that we really don't even want to! (And with how crazy Security is at the airports - we'll just build our boat, then travel the world!).

However, this is starting to change somewhat. With the aquaponics business taking off so incredibly, we are beginning to see that we might be traveling out of the country some....but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. It's a bit "pie-in-the-sky" right now, but there are folks from as close as San Diego and as far away as Ghana, China, and India that say they want us to come train them there. But, as Jerry MacGuire said, "show me the money"! Until and unless that happens, we cannot afford airfare for us all!

We are planning to take our Aquaponics food production system to third-world countries, and will be setting up a non-profit to accomplish this. We are looking for partners in this venture; people who want to travel the world and help people feed themselves. So, there are a lot of future opportunities for the right person.



Are there any pets in the home? If yes, who is responsible for their care?
Our animals include 4 Shire draft horses (available to ride), 2 German Shepherd puppies, 2 Komondor puppies (Hungarian sheep dogs), some hand-raised pet pigs, one goose, 14 Siamese cats (plus kittens born in the past few days!), 1 sun conure, and a few goats that I hand-fed about a year ago (they live in the pasture with the horses now). All animals are friendly pets, but they don't come in the house (unless they're in "intensive care", as I act as my own vet most of the time), except for some of the cats, which pretty much have their run of the place. Mostly my responsibility, although Victor and Jack help me a lot. Basically, this is an area that the intern would be welcome to take on, but only if she/he wanted to.


Who does meal planning, cooking, and grocery shopping?
Up until relatively recently, these were all my jobs. But for the past year, we've interns who love to cook, which has been an incredible help. Now it is mostly Damon that does the Costco shopping, and we're spending far less money than when I shop! We'd love to have new ethnic food to learn about, and enjoy anything that is cooked for us. (There is a Chinese saying that goes along the lines of "you gain one week of life for every new food that you try." I really like that!) We are omnivores, and eat a lot of organic raw food...but I am still addicted to Red Bull....=(


Do you mind if I practice my religion or spiritual path if it is different than yours?
Not at all. In fact, I am most interested in exposing my children to the wide variety of belief systems in the world, in the hopes that they do not become too entrenched in any one belief system, but are left to make up their own minds, which I believe is the right thing to do (I was fully indoctrinated as a child, and given no choice whatsoever, so I am - of course - attempting to compensate for that!). We would welcome celebrating the traditions of the Holy Days of different religions if our interns would be willing to share them with us. (And especially the meals associated with Holy Days!)

However, someone who takes their beliefs too seriously might not be happy here, because we have a tendency to be pretty irreverent! I would characterize Tim as a spiritual animist (he talks to rocks and trees and they talk back to him), while I am a nontheist. I am more centered around ethics and integrity, and being the best person I can possibly be, in the interest of being happy and fully self-expressed. I think that my actions speak so loudly that people cannot hear what I say, let alone care about what god I believe just seems so unimportant to me what people believe, as I am only interested in their actions. This is what I teach my children.

Who else is in the home?
This changes as people come and go. For the past three months we had 8 adults in the house, plus 7 kids. This minute, we have the two of us (Tim and me), my 84-year old mother, our four kids, as well as an intern from China (XiaoCheng) here through an Agricultural Exchange Program, facilitated through Cultural Homestay International program (CHI), which gave him a J1 Visa), and two interns who ended up getting married: Nadja, from Germany, and Damon, from Ohio. They are both stars! They fell in love and got married last Valentine's Day (Februrary 14th). There is another girl coming from Croatia through the Cultural Homestay International program (CHI) in mid-August, and a girl from Canada around the same time. By the time you get here....who knows? We're pretty flexible around here, out of necessity! (Of course, I am happy to provide their emails so you can talk to them about what it is like here.)

Damon and Nadja have assumed the role of farm managers, and you'll be working directly with them most of the time. We trust them with our lives, and the lives of our children, and they are our partners. Nadja arrived from Germany last November, and Damon has been here since January 5th. We have a tendency to fast-track the right people, so buckle your seatbelt!

What housekeeping tasks would be expected?
Sweeping, mopping the downstairs floors (currently the only finished floors in the house, everything else is raw plywood or colored concrete). Doing, folding and putting away laundry, helping the kids keep their rooms clean are occasional tasks- (but NOT doing it for them!). General bathroom cleaning, some kitchen cleaning. And a lot of the cleaning has already been assigned to Victor and Jack, so the interns be support them in getting their jobs done.

This is an area that could be developed as the intern integrates into our family. But again, the most important thing to me is that you learn Aquaponics through being in action, and be a great Friend to my children...housework is a distant third! I really want everyone to be willing to drop their tool belt or their hand-tools, and go jump on the trampoline with the kids. So, be aware that this is NOT a pristine home; we keep it fairly clean, but we're pretty relaxed about it.

Please understand that you are joining a large family, and what works best in a large family is expecting to GIVE more than you TAKE. If you can do that here, we will love you forever.


What is the compensation that we are offering for this position, inclusive of any benefits?
We are offering a work trade in exchange for room/board (which is a $437/week value in Hawaii - NOT including food!), as long as you operate with integrity and are a hard worker. Combined with the training you get to attend, this is around a $12,000 value. There's wireless internet, full laundry, and pretty much anything you want to buy at Costco I will put on the list.

Salary at the end of six months could begin if intern is stellar and wishes a permanent position. At the very least, plan on staying an extra month (at a minimum of $100 per week) to help us train the next crop of interns.

Benefits include the intangibles of developing a fearless attitude and belief that you can do anything you set your mind to, (and are willing to work hard for (the entrepreneurial spirit that I spoke earlier), and the integration into our family, as well as sailing with us someday soon! And you will be able to take the technology of aquaponcis out into the world! (Your training includes our entire course materials that we charge $1500 for in our trainings.)

We get a LOT done around here (our family motto is "Work is more fun than fun than fun!"), and we have a TON of fun as well!

Let me describe the accommodations where you'll be staying and share briefly about the area we live:
There is a large (16' x 20') separate private living space with an unobstructed 135 degree ocean view that looks out on the beautiful sunrises. It does not have a private bathroom, however we will build on there soon. The bathroom for that room is in the main house, and is shared. It includes a large shower, but no bathtub. This room is used by male interns.

There is also a third floor loft (really the fourth floor, I guess), where our past female interns have stayed. The view is magnificent up there, and there is a large sitting room with a leather sofa. There is a shared (with Victor, Damon, and Nadja) bathroom downstairs for this room that also has a large shower, but again, no bathtub.

We also have two downstairs rooms (private), and a dome tent that will house two people, but it's not set up quite yet.

Our 7 acres is about 2 miles from the nearest town, Honoka'a. Our interns walk there on a regular basis, often as a group. There is also great hiking down to the ocean on dirt paths. This is a very rural area, but there is free bus service to the resort beaches on the west side of the Island. There are little shops in Honoka'a, and a first-run movie theatre, but no bars or night clubs. We are a NON-SMOKING, NO MARIJUANA OR DRUGS, very light alcohol household. It's all about setting a good example for the kids.

When will we need our intern to start?
As soon as possible. Is last week too soon? =) We are heading in the direction of a formal intern start date, in October and April each year in order to make it easier for us to train a group at a time, but for now we're still training people as they arrive, whenever that is. Target arrival dates at this time are BEFORE October 1st....pretty much any time between now and then would be great.


How soon will we be making your decision about who we will accept?
We're pretty overwhelmed by the response we have received already. I guess a lot of people would like to come to Hawaii to learn Aquaponics! Please understand that life is NOT one long beach vacation here...we work/play a lot, usually 6 days a week, but the work is fun and light, and we really do consider it play. If you've read this far, and you "get" everything I have said, and you've read everything on our webpage at, and then send me an email back to with "Got it!" in the subject line. This is critical for you to be considered further, as it will tell me a lot about you...that you follow directions well, that you complete things, and that you are committed. In this email, please address any discrepancies between what you need and what we're offering. We want to make this the most amazing time of your life thus far, and develop long-term relationships with the interns who come here.



Mahalo nui loa, (usually translated from Hawaiian as "Thank you very much", but really it's much more beautiful than that: "Mahalo" = Thank you, "nui" = great, "loa" = everlasting or forever. So the real translation is more like "Great thanks, everlasting".)

Aloha from:

Susanne Friend
PO Box 1196
Honoka'a, HI 96727


"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than
to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
-- Carl Sagan

Friendly Aquaponics
BLCD 2003
Omer & The Zobop
Coaching and Leadership Int'l
Ancestors Calling
May 2006
The Aroga Group
The Aroga Group
The Aroga Group
tar sands
tar sands
tar sands
tar sands
Garuda Organic Farm

Garuda Organic Farm
Garuda Organic Farm
Garuda Organic Farm
Garuda Organic Farm
Garuda Organic Farm

Related Downloads
Skype Me™!