by Chuck Parker
Many Molokai High graduates who loved FFA, The Molokai Farm, and the Ag curriculum at MHS have been and are still surprised, if not exasperated, that the High School administration, the Hawaii Department of Education, and the citizens of Molokai would let the program just die, go away and literally be plowed and grassed over, seemingly with no remorse or need.
Those of us who are grads, who were in this great program in the 50s and 60s, and who have since moved or passed away do not know what really brought about the end of Molokai High Ag Program. So we do not really know who, how or what budgets got cut, but the abandonment of the Ag Program was short sighted and a great loss for the Island.
So now we can only watch from an off-island distance to see if the Molokai High Ag Program that Erle Parker, Al Inaba, Takeshi Shizuma,and many others built and nurtured from nothing will ever be rebuilt to serve as vital part of Molokai living, life style, sustainability and identity.
What was the Molokai Farm and Dairy all about? It provided fresh milk everyday for the High School, the Elementary School and even to the hospital. The farm raised fresh vegetables, papayas, bananas, and the chickens delivered the eggs to the cafeteria. Students learned about growing food, raising animals, and being independent. They learned how to take care of themselves and their families — to sustain, create and love the soil of this great place.
Now we are all engaged in and backing a growing movement to build on the vision of Molokai sustainability, Molokai Extension, Kumu Farms, Molokai coffee and many small farms. With all of this, the island is still 85 percent dependent on the Bishop Barge — that now seeks to come once a week and for more money.
As best we can, we are all pulling for the place where we grew up and loved.
Aloha and our best in fight against COVID,
MHS Class of 1952