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.
Prepared beef dish from Molokai Ranch. Photo by Laura Pilz.
About 1,800 cattle graze 30,000 acres of pasture in Maunaloa.…
By Glenn I. Teves, UH CTAHR County Extension Agent
Mid-summer is the leanest season for avocado in Hawaii, but the West Indies avocado fills the void and is there for the picking. The most heat-tolerant avocado, it’s the best adapted to the lowlands of Molokai, although it doesn’t do well along the shore where salty winds and soils can cause burning of roots and leaf edges.
The avocado is native to Mexico, where it’s been eaten before 10,000 BC. It spread throughout the Caribbean, Central and South American, evolving into three distinct races: the high-quality and cold-tolerant Mexican, the tropical forest Guatemalan, and the heat-tolerant, lowland West Indies.…
Sust`ainable Molokai News Release
Sust`ainable Molokai (SM) recently received a $17,434 grant from the First Nations Development Institute of Longmont, Colorado. This award will support the efforts of SM’s Molokai Agricultural Youth Leadership Development Program.
The Youth Leadership Program aims to train high school and college youth in sustainable agriculture and permaculture practices through an ongoing mentorship program. The mentees will gain knowledge in the areas of traditional Hawaiian agriculture, professional business skills, hands-on experience, and will be encouraged to find their own unique way to contribute to food sovereignty in their community while earning a stipend upon the completion of the program.…
Kualapuu students enjoy a second year of free lunches. Photo by Colleen Uechi.
With the start of a federal free breakfast and lunch program offered in public schools island-wide and recent trends toward local, healthy eating, Molokai students are set to benefit in both the cafeteria and the classroom.
Last month, five Molokai schools were selected to receive free meals for all students regardless of household income through a U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot program called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).
While principals of most schools said making sure all students had lunch wasn’t a major issue in the past, they said it would still be a significant financial relief for many families.…
Volunteers work to clear rocks near the shore. Photo by Catherine Cluett.
Mo`omomi Beach has long been considered one of Molokai’s richest areas for natural resources. However, it’s also one of most Hawaii’s most debris-laden beaches, and last Saturday, more than 150 volunteers did what they could to remove thousands of pounds of bottles, rope and plastic rubbish of all shapes and sizes from the area.
The north-facing coastline is the first stopping point in the state for marine refuse floating from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, according to Kahi Pacarro, executive director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii (SCH).
The nonprofit’s mission is to inspire local communities to care for their coastlines through hands-on beach cleanups, and for the second year, they gathered manpower and momentum at Mo`omomi to fulfill that mission.…
Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii News Release
For the second year in a row, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii (SCH) is hosting the Mo`omomi Beach Cleanup and Community Service Project on Molokai on Saturday, Aug. 1. Sponsored by Matson, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Parley for the Oceans, this cleanup removes harmful marine debris from one of the most remote beaches on Molokai. Mo`omomi Beach, a mix of rocky and sandy coastline on the island’s north shore, is the first stopping point in the main Hawaiian Islands for marine debris coming from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
“Each Hawaiian Island has issues with marine debris but Molokai gets hit extra hard due to its open geography towards the north,” says Kahi Pacarro, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii’s co-founder and executive director.…
Poepoe, left, and Mauna Kea Trask. Photo courtesy of Teresa Tico.
A half-hour documentary film featuring Molokai resource manager Mac Poepoe is now available for free streaming online through the end of July. “Fishing Pono: Living In Harmony With The Sea” tells the story of declining fisheries and how some Native Hawaiian communities are using traditional conservation practices to restore their fishing grounds. The film, which premiered on PBS last summer, explores the exploitation of commercial fishing, in contrast with the sustainable resource management taught by Poepoe.
“I was drawn to Mr. Poepoe’s story because of the success of his program,” said filmmaker and producer Teresa Tico of Kauai.…
Hanohano Naehu (far left, in yellow) gives the Rapa Nui visitors a tour of the spring bordering the fishpond. Photo by Clare Mawae.
On a bright and breezy Thursday morning, two men from different parts of the world knelt over a pile of freshly netted weke. One was a Molokai born-and-raised fishpond keeper, the other, a Spanish-speaking Rapa Nui fisherman, each knowing just a few words of the other’s native tongue. Under a shady tree, they pulled out knife and fork and began scraping translucent scales from the fish in the same methodical style. Neither could say very much to each other, but they spoke the common language of men whose livelihoods revolve around fish.…
Mama-T and Tubby Love were some of the night’s performers. Photo by Colleen Uechi.
Last Saturday’s third annual Grassroots Benefit Concert at Duke Maliu Park celebrated homegrown, all-natural products –and the creatures that make it possible. The event’s message was “Mahalo i Na Halihali `Ehu Pua,” which means Thank You to the Pollinators, and highlighted the need to protect pollen-carrying creatures like butterflies and bees.
“Pollinators are vital to growing food, and we want to just bring that issue to light,” said Mercy Ritte, one of the event organizers.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Pathologist Matthew Goo said that butterflies face the predatory challenges of spiders, wasps, lizards and in particular, the bulbul bird.…