Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, May 18, 2014

After Dark in the Park presents Sam Low's film The Navigators: Pathfinders of the Pacific Tuesday evening. Photo from NPS
FARMERS NEED TO JOIN TOGETHER to promote locally grown food, protect agricultural land from development, restore water sources to ensure equitable distribution for irrigation and ranch use, and educate future farmers. These were some of the ideas bought forth at the second organizing meeting of Ka`u Farmers Union United yesterday. It was held in Na`alehu at Ka`u Coffee House & Hawai`i Island Inn.
Marla Hunter, member of the new Ka`u Farmers Union United, owns Eke Nui
mango farm with her husband Peter on the Pahala side of Na`alehu.
      Founding members talked about their diversified involvement in agriculture. Ka`u Coffee House proprietor Shane Johnson said his establishment wants to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables to prepare food for sale and to also sell fresh produce. “We would like to see a more local-based economy.” He told farmers, a number of them over 55 years of age, “The new generation needs all of you.”
      Pahala resident and backyard gardener Lynn Hamilton said, “It is of massive importance for small farmers to have a voice.” She noted the community challenge over the last few years when outside investors proposed a refinery and biofuel plantation that could have displaced ranchers and limited expansion of coffee and diversified farming.
      Ann Fontes, who owns a coffee and diversified small farm on the edge of Pahala, said she is concerned that “nice” ag land could be subdivided for fancy homes.
      Mike Klungness, who worked for University of Hawai`i and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, talked about farming organizations elsewhere helping to sustain agriculture for generations. He pointed to almond growers and beekeepers as examples of farmers with strong cooperatives. He also talked about the need for agricultural education at Ka`u High, which used to have a thriving Future Farmers of America organization with students selling macadamia nuts to wholesalers and vegetables on the side of the road. The students also grew ornamentals, native plants, pigs and other farm animals on campus.
Manuel Marques is one of the Ka`u Coffee farmers who joined Hawai`i
Farmers Union United. Photo by Julia Neal
      Wally Young, a coffee farmer, said he was born and raised in Ka`u. His parents were coffee farmers in Ka`u. His family grew tomatoes and cucumbers.
      Kawehi Ryder, who recently moved from Lana`i to Pahala, said he plans to grow dryland taro in Wood Valley and is interested in farm education for youth.
      S Reha, from a Wood Valley farm that has grown organic vegetables and fruit and nut trees, as well as koa, said she is retiring but hopes to sell her farm to someone who will invigorate ag on the land.
      Manuel Marques said that coffee prices are good and he plans to stay in the industry. He said he has also tried taro, but not having a poi mill made it hard to sell, even with a shortage of poi statewide.
      Marla Hunter, who owns a farm with 27 mango varieties just east of Na`alehu, talked about need for value added products. She said she has sometimes faced difficulty selling mangoes from her 70 trees at the local farmers market, which she helped to organize years ago. The group discussed the need for a commercial kitchen in Ka`u, open for farmers to make products from their produce.
       Another founder of farmers markets in Na`alehu, Marilyn Creagan, suggested that farmers label their foods better, saying that “people want to know where food is coming from.” She said the goal at her family farm is “to feed ourselves” and to sell or trade the excess with other Ka`u farmers.
      John Ah San, a coffee farmer, said he has been in ag for 50 years. He said he wants “commercial” and organic farmers to work together so that the Ka`u ag community won’t become polarized.
The Kawehi Ryder family bought a house in Pahala recently and plans to
plant dryland taro and work with local youth in farming.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Richard Creagan, who represents Ka`u and South Kona in the state House of Representatives, said that different farm groups can work together. He noted that in Kona a number of farmers belong to both Farmers Union United and Hawai`i Farm Bureau. Both support funding to support the fight against the coffee berry borer that has damaged Kona and Ka`u farms.
      Malian Lahey, who owns a farm in Wood Valley, has led the organization of Ka`u Farmers Union United. She said the statewide leadership of the organization supports GMO labeling and regenerative agriculture that improves soils. She said not all Farmers Union United members, however, are organic farmers. The organization is neutral on this issue, she said. It was also noted that all of the Ka`u Farmers Union United meetings are open to the public.
      Richard Creagan talked about another major threat to ag in Ka`u – the insect that is killing macadamia trees and threatening the viability of one of Ka`u’s major employers, the mac nut industry. He said funding is coming from the Legislature. If farmers don’t treat mac nut trees, their orchards will be the source of the insect spreading across the district, he said.
      He also talked about water in Ka`u, saying that restoration of old sugar plantation sources could provide six million gallons of water a day. Additionally, wells and water recycling programs could provide up to 300 million gallons a day. He said some of this water could be used to make pumped hydroelectricity.
      Both Richard Creagan and Lahey talked about the possibility of Ka`u developing its own electricity and water systems.
      Another new Farmers Union United member said she plans to integrate food production and a forest on 17 acres off South Point Road. She said her plan includes “building a food forest” with some farmer housing and value added food product production. She mentioned the “seven layers of food production” in a permaculture program.
      The group ended the meeting with some stated objectives: integrated ag and environmental education in Ka`u for grades K- 12; promoting the idea that people need to eat food grown in Ka`u; and encouraging the state Department of Land & Natural Resources to move foward on granting leases for ag water from the old plantation system.

Khloe Kamalani Moses won first place in her
Kendama tournament.  
KHLOE KAMALANI MOSES, OF PAHALA, took first place in the five and under division at the Kendama tournament this weekend at Waiakea High School. Her older brother Kameron took fourth in his age division. 
      Kendama has taken the youth community by storm. Kendama is a traditional Japanese game with three wooden cups of different sizes on the center of a wooden spike and another cup on the base of the spike. A ball is attached by a string, and the aim is to catch the ball in a cup. The game may have originated in France and arrived via the silk road into Asia and on to Japan around 1777. Such games may have originated independently in the Arctic and other locations as hand-eye training for children in communities dependent on hunting. In Japan, there are national tournaments.

HAWAIIAN ISLANDS HUMPBACK WHALE NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY is seeking to fill two primary and four alternate seats on its advisory council. The council ensures public input into sanctuary matters and provides advice to sanctuary management.
      “The members of our advisory council represent an extremely important element of our community,” said Malia Chow, sanctuary superintendent. “Their input, experience and expertise assist sanctuary managers in making informed and timely decisions on how best to protect and conserve our important cultural and natural resources.”
      Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council provides advice and recommendations on managing and protecting the sanctuary. The council is composed of government and non-governmental seats for a total of 53 representatives who serve on a volunteer basis, represent a variety of local user groups, the general public, and state and federal governmental jurisdictions.
      Applications are due June 30. To receive an application kit or for further information, contact council coordinator Daniela Kittinger at Daniela.Kittinger@noaa.gov, 808-725-5905 or hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.

Participants learn about proper pesticide use and safety at a workshop tomorrow.
Photo from UH-CTAHR
PROPER PESTICIDE USE AND SAFETY is the topic tomorrow from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Participants learn how to be compliant and how to implement federal worker protection standard requirements, thereby minimizing their risk of pesticide inspections and citations.

KILAUEA DRAMA & ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK holds auditions for its summer musical tomorrow and Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Parts in the July production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s musical Ruddigore include lead roles for five men and four women, mortals, ghosts, officers, ancestors, villagers and professional bridesmaids. 
      For more information, call 982-7344 or email kden73@aol.com.

AFTER DARK IN THE PARK GOES TO THE MOVIES Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park when Sam Low presents his film, The Navigators: Pathfinders of the Pacific. The film features Satawalese navigator Mau Piailug, the sailing vessel Hokule`a and her crew. Low answers questions and signs his book, Hawaiki Rising – Hokule`a, Nainoa Thompson and the Hawaiian Renaissance, which, along with the DVD, will be on sale at the bookstore. Free; park entrance fees apply. $2 donations support After Dark programs.


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