Agriculture

GE Crop Debate Shakes Molokai

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

GE Crop Debate Shakes Molokai

Photo by Edwin Mendija.

A single initiative on the November election ballot has the Molokai community in such a heated debate that “vote yes” and “vote no” only refer to one thing: whether or not the cultivation of all genetically engineered crops in Maui County should stop while studies are done examining effects on human health and the environment.

The “vote no” campaign opposes the initiative, highlighting the hundreds of jobs on the line that could be lost in Maui County if a moratorium on growing genetically engineered (GE) crops goes through. Supporters of the initiative say they don’t want farming practices they believe are detrimental to land and people to continue without a comprehensive, independent study completed.…

New Molokai Beginning Farmers Program

Friday, October 17th, 2014

UH CTAHR Extension Service News Release

A new, island-wide Beginning Farmer Program will begin this month. Twice-monthly classes will be held in Ho`olehua at the UH Extension Office and at UH Maui College-Molokai Farm focused on commercial crop production. A beginning farmer is defined as one who has farmed less than 10 years.

The aging of farmers is a matter of national security. In 2010, the average age of the workforce nationwide was 37, while the average age of farmers was about 58. There’s has been a 30 percent increase in farmers over the age of 75 and a 20 percent decrease in the number of farmers under the age of 25.…

Dirt Road Gardens

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Community Contributed

By Joe Kennedy

I’d like to tell you a little story that may be of interest. About nine months ago, I tried to take a shortcut and make a vegetable garden. I used a dirt road at the edge of my farm because there was just bare dirt there, no grass or trees. I stretched a couple of irrigation tapes the length of the area I wanted (70 or 80 feet and 10 feet wide), turned it on, and let the water drip for a day and a night. Then made two ditches only three inches deep and three inches wide with a pick right at the edge of the drip tape the whole length.…

Volunteers Take to Molokai Farms

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Volunteers Take to Molokai Farms

Mike Senese had recently graduated from high school in Massachusetts when he caught the farming bug. With a background mostly in gardening, Senese said he resolved to take a gap year before starting college and began research into different farming programs.

The 19-year-old’s search landed him a job as an educational farm volunteer on Molokai’s Pu`u O Hoku Ranch through the state’s World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or popularly known as WWOOF, network.

“I’ve learned so much from being here already, I’m really amazed at how much hard work and labor goes into it all,” Senese said. He’s been working on Molokai for a month and plans to transfer to Maui or Hawaii Island in November.…

Federal Funds for Ag Conservation

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

USDA News Release

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) reminds potential applicants to contact their local NRCS office to find out if they are eligible for the agency’s most common Farm Bill Programs (Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and Agricultural Management Assistance Program). On Molokai, contact the NRCS Ho`olehua Field Office at 808-567-6868.

Applications for this ranking period are due at the NRCS office by close of business on Oct. 17. Applications received after this date will be considered in the next ranking period. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis, but ranked according to specific application cutoff periods.

“We are encouraging farmers and ranchers to utilize the federal funding to help improve conservation on private land,” said Dr.…

A New Invasive Species – Hala Scale

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, County Extension Agent, UH CTAHR

“Pala ka hala, momona ka wana” is a saying connecting activities on the land with those in the ocean. In this case, when the hala fruits are ripe, the sea urchin or wana is fat and ready to eat. Now, hala will need to overcome a new nemesis that may not allow its fruits to ripen.

In 1995, the Hala Scale was discovered in a shipment of hala plants from the South Pacific to Hana, Maui. From there, it quickly spread to other islands. It was recently confirmed on Molokai in Puko`o and is believed to have been on the island for more than five years.…

Perpetuating Taro

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Perpetuating Taro

Photos by Catherine Cluett.

Dripping with sweat and covered in a layer of red Molokai dirt, attendees of last Saturday’s Taro Field Day still had smiles on their faces as they emerged from chest-high, heart-shaped leaves with arms full of taro plants they had harvested.

The annual event at the Molokai Applied Research and Demonstration Farm at UH Maui Community College Farm in Ho`olehua offers community members a chance to learn about the history, culture and preservation of taro through presentations, as well as taste test poi and kulolo made from various types of taro. Attendees can then venture into the field after receiving a labelled map to select and harvest plants of their favorite varieties.…

Molokai Homesteaders Gardening Program

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

UH Extension Office News Release

We will be starting a home gardening program this month for Molokai Hawaiian homesteaders. The purpose of this workshop series is to encourage homesteaders to grow their own vegetables and herbs, thereby increasing access to fresh, nutritious food. This program is open to both agricultural and residential homesteaders on Molokai, but you must have access to water on your homestead lot.

The program will focus on twice-monthly instruction, including hands-on field demonstrations in setting up and maintaining a 20 by 20-foot ground-based garden, and classroom study. Classes will be taught at a learning level for both homesteaders who haven’t previously grown a garden, as well as those presently tending a garden.…

Banana Root Borer: Spreading the Aloha

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Banana Root Borer: Spreading the Aloha

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, County Extension Agent, UH CTAHR

The Banana Root Borer is one of the most destructive insects of banana, and was brought to Molokai in the mid-1980s with Dwarf Apple Banana planting material from a quarantined area in Waimanalo. First at the Molokai Agricultural Park, corms were shared with residents and before long, it spread through most of the island.

Large whitish grubs or larvae of the Banana Root Borer cause extensive damage by boring holes through the corm, affecting plant vigor, stunting, and early death of plants. The adult Banana Root Borer is a black beetle about ½ inch in length, with a large curved snout.…

Cultivating a Food Network

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Like much of the state, Molokai imports most of the food found in its grocery stores, restaurants and schools — about 98 percent. Many Molokai residents are ready for a change and want more locally-grown foods available. That was the message received Wednesday night at Sust`aina ble Molokai’s Food Hub meeting.

Based on the Agricultural Needs Assessment survey conducted by Sust`aina ble Molokai in 2012, 90 percent of residents surveyed said they prefer to buy Molokai-grown food products, and 98 percent answered, “Yes, I would eat more local food if it was available.”

There’s a solution to that demand, said Sust`ainable Molokai Food Hub Coordinator Harmonee Williams.…