More Accessibility for Molokai Farmers
New UH extension office will better serve community
By Léo Azambuja
In about six months Molokai farmers and their families will be able to find more accessible help. On the morning of August 7 the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) officially held the groundbreaking ceremony for a new Molokai Extension Office (MEO).
Immediately after the blessing and the oli (chanting) it started drizzling. “We got the main blessing,” UH extension agent Glenn Teves said.
“It will be a better place to service the farmers,” Teves said. The new office will substitute the existing one, and will be located in the lot adjacent to Ho`olehua Post Office.
Marlene Hapai, from the UH Board of Regents, flew from Hilo especially to attend the ceremony. “Being next to the post office is just perfect,” she said. “People can really take advantage of it.”
Teves, a homestead farmer himself, said the building of the new office will take about six months to finish. The new building will offer 2,200 sq ft. of working area.
CTRAH Dean Andrew Hashimoto came from Oahu to preside over the ceremony. He said CTRAH has 32 extension offices throughout the state.
Helping homestead farmers and families with workshops and sound advice is just part of MEO services, according to Hashimoto. The office also helps out children involved with the Molokai 4-H Club.
“This is an office that has been needed for a long time,” Hapai said.
The first MEO building, located in Kaunakakai, burned down in 1979. The office then moved to a Parks and Recreation building in Ho`olehua homesteads. However, the building was condemned, and ended up being demolished in 1998. The current MEO site is on the Agricultural Park, where the office is operating out of a barn, and using a Matson container as storage.
Ever smiling, former Molokai Fire Department Captain Bill Wallace blessed the grounds. Uncle Bill helps the Church of Later-Days Saints in Kaunakakai as a layman.
Following the ceremony, most attendees headed to Lanikeha Community Center, where breakfast was served. After all, no event on the island is complete without a good kau kau session, Molokai style.