By Glenn I. Teves, UH CTAHR County Extension Agent
Josiah Hunt of Pacific Biochar is the mover and shaker in the use of biochar in Hawaii and other areas of the world, and will be presenting a workshop on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. at UH Maui College-Molokai Farm located in the Molokai Agricultural Park.
Although the word “biochar” may be new, the idea of using charcoal for food production is not new. In the Amazon Basin, unearthed areas have been found to contain layers of biochar that enriched the poor soils of these high rainfall regions. High rainfall in the tropics can leach or wash away key nutrients, especially bases such as Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium, key elements for optimal plant growth, and these conditions are found in high rainfall areas of Molokai.…
When homesteaders first took up residence on Molokai lands, they had to start from the ground up. Families worked hard together to put in roads and set up large wooden tanks to catch the rainwater for drinking and farming. They combined labor and resources to sow crops and purchase farming equipment.
Ninety years later, Ho`olehua’s fertile lands are inhabited by their thriving descendants, who own homes, grow crops and use the infrastructure put in place by their ancestors.
Last week, the Ho`olehua Homestead Association remembered its history at the homestead’s 90th anniversary celebration. For three days at the Lanikeha Community Center, hundreds of homesteaders gathered to share generations of stories and snapshots of the first families who got the chance to restore both the land and their people.…
By Glenn I. Teves
The next round of the Hawaiian Homesteaders Gardening Program will start in late November. The purpose of this educational program is to increase homestead families access to fresh vegetables. Participants will be taught all aspects of establishing and managing a garden, and growing vegetables adapted to Molokai.
This program is open to all Hawaiian homesteaders residing on Molokai, and participation will be limited to 15 families. Classes will be held two to three times each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m., with occasional workshops. The choice of a Tuesday or Thursday meeting date will be determined by participants.…
At last month’s Taro Field Day, Molokai residents celebrated cultural and agricultural traditions, harvested their own kalo to grown in their backyards, and participated in a prestigious cooking contest honoring a queen’s commitment to taro.
The annual event offers community members a chance to learn about and be a part of efforts to preserve dozens of historic taro species, as well as taste test poi and kulolo made from varieties grown here on Molokai at the UH Maui Community College Farm in Ho`olehua. Attendees could also venture into the field after receiving a labelled map to select and harvest plants of their favorite varieties.…
By Elisabeth Kaneshiro, Molokai Meli
Here at Molokai Meli, in addition to producing local honey, we also help residents and businesses with bee removal. We have had a lot of calls for removals and have seen the bees moving around. Honey bees swarm when the hives are getting too big and need more space. The rain causes the bees to swarm more often because the bees are bringing more nectar so the hive grows. The bees make a new queen and take a big group with the old queen and leave. These often look like a big cloud. They send out the scout bees to go and look for a new home.…
Sust`aina ble Molokai and UH Cooperative Extension Service News Release
The Molokai Taro Variety Field Day will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Molokai Applied Research and Demonstration Farm, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The annual event has been organized by the UH Cooperative Extension Service since 1985, and is something that many residents look forward to. This year promises to be another outstanding event.
An important highlight of this year’s Taro Day is The Queen’s Challenge Taro Competition. This year, Molokai has been selected to host the competition, which is held annually at selected sites around the Pae `Aina in honor of Queen Emma Kalanikaumakaamano Kaleleonalani Na`ea Rooke, who recognized the value of the Hawaiian taro varieties and has written in detail on methods she used to produce large kalo (taro).…
By Alton S. Arakaki, County Extension Agent
In 1895, Katherine Lee Bates wrote the famous words “for amber waves of grain” in the lyrics of “America the Beautiful.” I didn’t know what the words meant until my teacher pointed to the thousands of acres of sugarcane and I watched the countless wave-like action of leaves as the wind move across the field. In this live classroom, he concluded that the mainland kids would never identify with words “for green waves of sugarcane” if Katherine Bates had used them instead.
These same kinds of words were written in the journals of early sailors and missionaries arriving in Hawaii, to describe the fields of kalo or taro, ko (sugarcane), uala or sweet potato, and mai`a (banana) they observed as they sailed the coast and walked from one island district — ahupua`a — to the next throughout Hawaii.…
By Glenn I. Teves, UH CTAHR County Extension Agent
Characteristics of climate change include weather extremes — very hot and very cold — as well as violent storms. We’ve seen it this year with one of the coldest winters in decades, record high summer temperatures, and more than our share of threatening storms.
One of the positive aspects of a cold winter was a bumper crop of lychee, a native to South China. Most of the older lychee varieties, including Kwai Mi, Hak Ip, and No Mai Tze require colder weather to flower than is normally found in Hawaii, while the newer ones such as Kaimana and Groff require less of a cold snap to trigger flowering.…
Molokai was once known as “Molokai `Aina Momona,” or the abundant land, providing plentiful food for a population many times its current size. While there are still many farmers and crops on Molokai, the economics of farming are making it challenging to provide for the community the way ancient Hawaiians once did. Thus, many island farmers have turned to exporting to make the numbers work.
A recent study by nonprofit Sust`ainable Molokai has found that the economy of scale – or the cost advantage of producing larger amounts – plays a key role in the success of local farmers.
“It’s all about quantity and the ability for farmers to make money,” said Harmonee Williams, Sust`ainable Molokai project manager.…
In Hawaii, 85 percent of calves are shipped to the mainland, said Pu`u O Hoku Ranch General Manager Jann Roney. They’re raised and butchered, and the finished product is not always sent back to the islands. However, like others around the state in recent years, Molokai ranches and businesses are working to keep the full cattle operation at home.
Last August, Molokai Ranch launched its 100 percent grass-fed beef in an effort to establish its new pillars of animal husbandry and sustainability, said Operations Manager Dathan Bicoy.
About 1,800 cattle graze 30,000 acres of pasture in Maunaloa. Over the last two years, the ranch has been introducing Wagyu cattle DNA into their herd.…