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Assessment Identifies Molokai’s Agriculture Needs

Sust`aina ble Molokai News Release

Sust`aina ble Molokai has completed a comprehensive Agriculture Needs Assessment for food production and security on Molokai. The Assessment is based on survey results that show where your food is being grown, who is growing it, and where you can buy it. The document is also valuable in that it shows what we don’t have as an island, and therefore what opportunities exist for job creation in the agriculture field.

One of the needs identified by the survey, for example, is an agriculture coordinator for Molokai to connect local farmers with stores and restaurants both on- and off-island. This would allow local food producers to have better venues to sell their products, and stores can regularly stock more local produce.

The Ag Needs Assessment is the first of 12 surveys based on the Sustainability Wheel, which identifies areas in which the Molokai community can create sustainability, with the center of the wheel being the land and the people. The Sustainability Wheel will be available online as the Molokai-pedia, an open source database for the community with a companion green business resource guide listing all “green” business on Molokai with access to geo mapping.

To create the Assessment, 3.9 percent of the adult population was surveyed. Molokai’s adult population is at 5,401 out of a total island population of 7,345, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Thirty-six interviews were conducted with ag experts and educators, farmers and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operators, deer and cattle ranchers, fishermen and aquaculture producers, hotel and restaurant operators.

Results show that:
• 94 percent of community members of the sample population care/think about where there food comes from, while 5 percent do not.
• 90 percent of those surveyed prefer to buy local Molokai food products, while 2 percent do not.
• 98 percent of those surveyed would eat more local food it were available, while 1 percent would not.
• Common challenges associated with farming on Molokai include high costs of equipment, water, shipping, operational costs, and natural elements like wind, drought, and wild animals. Additional training and education would help address these challenges.

Mahalo again to all those that were interviewed and who submitted/completed the food production and security survey. For more information or to read the agriculture needs assessment online, visit sustainablemolokai.org. A hard copy can also be purchased for $15. Our next survey to be conducted is renewable energy. We will be out in the community within the next month for personal requests to complete and submit the renewable energy survey.

For more information, please call Emillia Noordhoek at 808-560-5410 or email emillia@sustainablemolokai.org.


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