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Kauai

Small Hawaii Farmers Banding Together

A commercial dairy on Kauai to produce manure and County-subsidized farm-grade compost – these were a couple of the ideas thrown about in Kilauea at the first meeting of the Kauai chapter of the Hawaii Farmers Union.

The Hawaii Island chapter has been active for several years, and there are now chapters on Oahu, Maui & Molokai as well. The National Farmers Union is the oldest grassroots farmers organization in the country, founded in 1902. It serves primarily small farmers, as opposed to the American Farm Bureau, which is more aligned with corporate interests. The stated mission of the HFU is to “…advance the rights of farmers to create vibrant and prosperous agricultural communities for the benefit of all through cooperation, legislation & education.” Among their most recent accomplishments is to affect a ban on GMO taro & coffee on Hawaii Island. The meeting was attended by over a dozen small farmers from Kauai’s north shore – additional meetings are planned for Lihue & Kalaheo. It is hoped that the Kauai chapter will be a vibrant and active group, advocating for the needs of the many small farmers on the island and in the state. This is just one more step in bringing Kauai to food self-sufficiency.

All farmers and friends of farmer are invited to join and add their voices to the group’s. And if anyone out there has interest in starting a dairy on Kauai, let me know!

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Erik Hinshaw RS

December 16, 2009

Great to hear Sagar. We could use a dairy here on the Big Island as well. Having attended group meetings like this here on the Big Island I am always amzazed at how welcoming and encouraging farmers are. I have a weedy acre in the Kona Coffee belt and my neighbors are all eager to help me get it back into production.. Many are new to farming themselves. They have given up corporate jobs on the mainland to live a more sustainable life. Most would rather be weeding a pineapple patch than pushing papers. Can’t say I disagree.

Erik Hinshaw RS

December 16, 2009

Great to hear Sagar. We could use a dairy here on the Big Island as well. Having attended group meetings like this here on the Big Island I am always amzazed at how welcoming and encouraging farmers are. I have a weedy acre in the Kona Coffee belt and my neighbors are all eager to help me get it back into production.. Many are new to farming themselves. They have given up corporate jobs on the mainland to live a more sustainable life. Most would rather be weeding a pineapple patch than pushing papers. Can’t say I disagree.

Sagar Hallal, RA

December 16, 2009

That’s awesome, Erik – I hope you are able to get that acre back to producing. For whatever reason, Hawaii Island seems to be further along the path to food self-sufficiency than Kauai – I tend to think it’s because land there is less pricey.

You and your friends may be interested in attending the statewide Seed Symposium that is being held April 17-18, in Kailua-Kona at the Keauhou Beach Resort. The next step for Hawaii is to start taking control of its seeds – farmers are feeling rightfully nervous about being beholden to Monsanto at this point.

Sagar Hallal, RA

December 16, 2009

That’s awesome, Erik – I hope you are able to get that acre back to producing. For whatever reason, Hawaii Island seems to be further along the path to food self-sufficiency than Kauai – I tend to think it’s because land there is less pricey.

You and your friends may be interested in attending the statewide Seed Symposium that is being held April 17-18, in Kailua-Kona at the Keauhou Beach Resort. The next step for Hawaii is to start taking control of its seeds – farmers are feeling rightfully nervous about being beholden to Monsanto at this point.

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