Maunaloa Garden Will Grow Learning, Food and Dreams

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

Maunaloa Garden Will Grow Learning, Food and Dreams

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

Something special is sprouting in Maunaloa. Last week, Maunaloa School students, staff and community joined in a groundbreaking and blessing of a new school garden with its roots set in a vision of hands-on learning through cultivation and community partnerships. The $50,000 project, called Maunaloa Mala, will encompass about 23,000 square feet on school grounds and form the basis for a new curriculum that school leadership hopes will inspire students to see their full potential.

“What it means now is kind of a revitalization, not just for the school, but also for the community,” said Alison Place, Maunaloa’s temporarily assigned principal.…

Input on Proposed Molokai Addition to Forest Reserve System

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

DLNR News Release

Five proposed changes, including four additions totaling roughly 8,100 acres and one withdrawal of about 2.7 acres, are being considered for the State Forest Reserve System (FRS), which is managed by the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). One of the proposed additions is on Molokai.

The FRS represents the state’s largest public forest lands that provide a variety of benefits including aesthetic benefits; watershed restoration; native, threatened, and endangered species habitat protection and management; cultural resources; and recreational and hunting opportunities, among others. DOFAW will hold a virtual hearing at 6 p.m. on April 28 to receive testimony on the proposed changes affecting the FRS.…

Farmworker Jobs Program

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

MEO News Release

Maui Economic Opportunity’s National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP), an educational, employment and training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, is accepting applications across Hawaii, including Molokai.

NFJP is 100 percent federally funded and serves farmworkers who meet federal poverty income guidelines and selection criteria. Those who receive federal assistance, such as SNAP, TANF or SSI, are categorically eligible.

Other eligibility criteria include being a paid farmworker for at least 30 consecutive days within the two years prior to the application date. Family members of the farmworker may be eligible for services as well. NFJP also can assist farm employees, who recently have been laid off due to the end of harvest season or are part of a separation package for laid off employees.…

$2.5M in Assistance for Farmers and Ranchers

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

County of Maui News Release

Mayor Michael Victorino is urging Maui County farmers and ranchers to apply for reimbursements of expenses for losses related to COVID-19 and for food sustainability.

“This program has $2.5 million in CARES Act funding to provide Maui County farmers and ranchers with an urgent lifeline to help them with reimbursement of their expenses,” Mayor Victorino said. “I would like to thank the Maui Chamber of Commerce for partnering with the County of Maui to help sustain our agricultural community through these difficult times.”

Farmers and ranchers can apply reimbursement on allowable expenses of up to $25,000 for those who meet program qualifications.…

County Food Distribution Friday

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

County of Maui News Release

A drive-through food distribution event will be held on Friday, Nov. 20 for Molokai residents in need, announced Mayor Victorino.

The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. at the Mitchell Pauole Community Center in Kaunakakai.

Volunteers will pass out 150 boxes of produce on a first-come, first-served basis. Recipients are required to wear face masks.

To maximize social distancing, food distribution will be done in a grab-and-go drive-through (no walk up). Motorists will have the option of getting boxes placed in their vehicle’s trunk or rear cargo area.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped set up this food distribution event, including Molokai Community Liaison Stacy Crivello,” Mayor Victorino said.…

Wet Winter Likely to Bring Drought Relief

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

As the western half of Molokai continues to experience extreme drought conditions, weather forecasters are predicting above average rainfall to bring some relief this wet season.

Kevin Kodama of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Honolulu office said though many parts of the state began the summer drought-free due to extra wet conditions early this year, parts of Maui County, including Molokai, were an exception to that. Maui County had a drier-than-normal wet season last winter, worsening the current drought conditions.

“[Maui County] got a head start as far as drought,” Kodama said. “By the end of September, they ended up with the worst drought conditions across the state.…

What Happened to the MHS Farm?

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

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.…

$2.5M in Grants for Local Farmers

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

County of Maui News Release

The County of Maui and Maui Economic Opportunity launched today a $2.5 million program to assist small local farmers in Maui County. The Agriculture Micro Grants Program provides grant funding of up to $25,000 to farmers on Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

Applications are available online at

“This program will benefit local consumers by improving the availability of local produce, livestock and poultry in Maui County, while also increasing farm capacity, productivity, name recognition and income for farmers,” Mayor Michael Victorino said.

Farm qualifications include:

• Operating farms throughout Maui County (crops, livestock, poultry and products).…

Extreme Drought Conditions Continue

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Extreme Drought Conditions Continue

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

It comes as no surprise to many Molokai residents that the island is in a serious drought. With parts of Molokai suffering from conditions recently classified as extreme drought, farmers are and their crops are among those particularly affected.

According to the national U.S. Drought Monitor, with data updated on Sept. 15, the west end of Molokai is already indicated at D3, extreme drought category, and one of the only areas in Hawaii under than classification.

Those conditions will likely continue through the fall, stated an Aug. 20 outlook issued by NOAA Climate Prediction Center. Any rainfall that does occur will probably continue to favor the east-facing windward slopes, with leeward areas becoming drier.…

More Molokai Farmers Awarded Grants

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

HDOA News Release

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) will be issuing a second round of grants totaling an additional $200,000 under the COVID-19 Emergency Farmer Relief Program to assist farmers, ranchers and growers who have experienced financial damage. In this second round, 96 grants were issued ranging between $2,000 and $4,000 each and will provide stop-gap financial relief to help agribusinesses during the COVID-19 crisis, including seven grants on Molokai. The funds may be used to help utilize an oversupply of agricultural products resulting from decreased demand due to closures of restaurants, schools and other businesses.

Last month, HDOA issued 106 grants totaling $270,000, of which $250,000 came from the State’s barrel tax fund (Agriculture Development and Food Security Special Fund) and made available through Gov.…