Editor’s note » Honolulu Weekly

On Thursday, the Land Use Commission will hold another public hearing on Castle & Cooke’s plans to build a new “community” on 768 acres between Waipio and Mililani. The Koa Ridge project, which includes two schools, a medical complex, a 150-room hotel and nearly half a million square feet of commercial space, relies on the LUC’s approval, and on its willingness to take the land out of agricultural zoning.

The Sierra Club and other environmental and agricultural advocates say that Koa Ridge would deprive Oahu of some of its very best agricultural land and that the project contributes to urban sprawl.

We didn’t have a reporter at the first hearing last month. The Advertiser reported that public testimony showed strong support for the project, with only one person speaking out in opposition. According to that report, most area residents who testified expressed hope that Koa Ridge might keep housing costs down for middle class families.

That’s an important goal, but doesn’t it seem like there are other ways to achieve it? At a time when so much energy is going into rethinking agricultural production and making farming viable on this island again, taking prime ag land out of production–forever–seems like a step in the wrong direction.

State Land Use Commission Meeting, 235 S. Beretania St, Thu 2/18, 9am, 587-3822

Editor’s note » Honolulu Weekly

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR – Mauinews.com – The Maui News



It’s the last one standing, clinging to an antiquated "plantation" era, which is long gone. Current news has focused on many issues, but the most important one may be the ability of this company and its workers to diversify.

Visionary co-partners could provide capital and technology, while HC&S provides land, leases and the work force. Ideas for diversity could be some of the following:

  • Eliminate the middlemen and process locally the many varieties of confectionery and food sugars utilized throughout the world.
  • Eco-agricultural tourism; this is a huge, virtually untapped market for Maui visitors. Co-develop a plantation-era camp with the new Hali’imaile Pineapple owners, complete with country stores, bakery and museum. An immersion package would spotlight sugar and pineapple history, production, fields, museum and products.
  • Grow bamboo to manufacture construction products, high-end flooring, furniture and cabinetry, all produced in a local factory with Maui workers.
  • Develop least-productive lands into revenue-producing energy farms. Solar, wind and solar thermal energy would be harvested and space for future algae biofuels secured. Additional lands could provide light industrial tracts for local businesses to lease.
  • Become a Pacific region leader in agricultural food production. Vertical farming could be accomplished in glass, multistory hydroponic greenhouses with rotating produce beds. Units would be tied into the energy farms and water produced by atmospheric water generators.

HC&S is teetering on a fiscal precipice. The question is, are they willing and able to do something about it?

Mike Cummings


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR – Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor’s Information – The Maui News

Lanaians looking for a means of survival – The Maui News


LANAI CITY — With a high cost of living and a tiny economy of limited job prospects, survival on Lanai has never been easy.

But now that all major new construction has stopped and the island’s largest employer has laid off or furloughed 20 percent of its work force and cut hours for the employees that remain, more families have been pushed to the edge.

ML&P stock investor taking over Kapalua Farms


By HARRY EAGAR, Staff Writer

Pierre Omidyar, who invested in Maui Land & Pineapple Co. stock when the company was being pushed in a greener direction, is now supporting a for-profit/charitable combination that is taking over ML&P’s Kapalua Farms, one of the largest organic farms in the state.

Since ML&P also closed its Maui Pineapple Co. subsidiary, then leased much of its land and equipment to the upstart Haliimaile Pineapple Co. this month, the handover takes ML&P completely out of agriculture.

On Friday, Ulupono Sustainable Agriculture Development LLC, a subsidiary of the Ulupono Initiative, announced it would be assuming operations of Kapalua Farms, which not only supplies vegetables and eggs to ML&P’s Kapalua Resort but also conducts research into new methods of producing food on Maui. Ulupono Initiative is a Hawaii-focused social investment organization founded in June with backing from Omidyar and his wife, Pam. He was a founder of eBay, and they now live in Hawaii.

Warren Haruki, chairman and interim chief executive officer of ML&P, said, "We are pleased to partner with Ulupono Sustainable Agriculture Development as they assume operations of Kapalua Farms. Our desire was to find an operational partner that would be able to continue organic farming operations and to maintain Kapalua Farms as a community resource, employer and provider."

The demand is there for locally grown food – Starbulletin



By Cynthia Oi

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 03, 2010

Growing food is better then picking up cigarette buts at the resort.
CLICK for a larger image

Now comes a study suggesting that early Hawaiian agriculture was vast and substantially more complex than previously known, implying that what was grown fed a population of perhaps a million people, which is about the present occupancy of Hawaii.

Samuel M. Gon III was clearly excited by the findings of a team of researchers and scientists from noted institutions.

"If a million mouths could be fed back then, this points to a future where we can wean our reliance on food from the outside world," said Gon, who as senior scientist with The Nature Conservancy in Hawaii participated in the study.

Reuters AlertNet – Micronesia atoll grows taro in concrete to hold off sea surges

logo_reuters_media_us By Justin Nobel

YAP, Federated States of Micronesia (Alertnet) – Giant tides inundated the remote atolls of Micronesia last December, scouring beaches, damaging homes and inundating banana and taro crops. The President of the Federated States of Micronesia, Emanuel Mori, declared a nationwide state of emergency and relief rice was shipped in.

But on several atolls in Yap, one of Micronesia’s four states, taro planted in elevated concrete pits survived.

"This is a way to save the people here," said Stephen Mara, an agriculture teacher at a high school in Yap.

Devastating tides, called "king tides," are one way sea level rise will manifest itself across the western Pacific in the coming decades, said Charles Fletcher, a University of Hawaii coastal geologist and co-author of a recent report on food security and climate risks in Micronesia.

Long before Pacific islands drown, as politicians and the media often predict, the islands may become uninhabitable from a lack of food. Fletcher, in particular, doesn’t think life on the atolls can last without constant humanitarian aid. But concrete may provide a respite, at least temporarily.

VIDEO: Hawaii Mayor talks about upcoming "painful" budget – Big Island Video News

Click Here to View Video
Click Here to View Video

September 15, 2009 – Hilo, Hawaii Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi took a moment last Friday to talk about the challenges facing the Big Island economy, and how it will impact next year’s county budget.

According to a news release, Kenoi told his county staff on Monday at a meeting to kick off budget preparations that "deep and painful budget cuts will be necessary to carry the county through the next fiscal year". The county says its facing a $44.8 million hole in next fiscal year’s budget, which combines $33.8 million less in projected revenues and $11 million more in projected expenses.

“We’ve never faced what we face today,” said Mayor Kenoi in Monday’s media release. “Which means we’ve got to take steps that we never took before,” to make government more efficient and reduce county spending.

O/S Hawaii » If I Had 8 Million Dollars.

The bill that Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong proposed with regards to county council scrutiny with the sale of the Hamakua lands is apparently postponed.

If I had 8 million dollars, I would buy all those lands myself. 1/3 of them to be pastoral/agricultural lots donated to DHHL, and lease the rest of them leased out to prospective agricultural-minded tenants. The idea is creating businesses on this island that will help our island economy, and create self-sustainability. Maybe I would dedicate a small portion of them to be a windfarm and perhaps one or two 15 home subdivisions, and a small commerce/town center (they can call it Kekuawela Village)

Upon my death, the lands would honor out their leases and then placed into a trust that will be used to fund an institute of Higher Learning dedicated to health sciences, business, and agriculture. The college will be called “Hamakua College” with admission preference to residents of the Big Island.

Why coral reefs face a catastrophic future – guardian.co.uk

20081009_Alaloa0332Hermatypic Coral Maui-Click for larger image

Destroyed by rising carbon levels, acidity, pollution, algae, bleaching and El Niño, coral reefs require a dramatic change in our carbon policy to have any chance of survival

Animal, vegetable and mineral, a pristine tropical coral reef is one of the natural wonders of the world. Bathed in clear, warm water and thick with a psychedelic display of fish, sharks, crustaceans and other sea life, the colourful coral ramparts that rise from the sand are known as the rainforests of the oceans.

And with good reason. Reefs and rainforests have more in common than their beauty and bewildering biodiversity. Both have stood for millions of years, and yet both are poised to disappear.