Sowing the Future

Newly formed ‘seed group’ hopes to grow support
By Sean Aronson

A small, but dedicated group of Molokai residents wants to make sure the future of food on this island is secure.  And they are starting at the roots – literally; they want to store seeds for all the various plants that grow on this island.

“It’s becoming obvious that we can’t buy food from California forever,” says Ellen Sugawara, expressing the unsustainable situation Molokai now finds itself in.

Sugawara estimates that more than 90 percent of the produce sold on Molokai is off-island, with much of these products traveling thousands of miles from the mainland.

Sugawara owns and operates Papohaku Farms on Molokai’s west end.  She has been growing organic, non-GMO, fruits, vegetables and herbs for herself and a small group of friends.  And she has been saving her seeds the entire time.

The group is a loose collection of long-time Molokai residents who have been concerned with sustainable issues for many years.  One of the group founders, Jade Bruhjell, had the idea for a seed bank back in 1978, but is just now gathering momentum for the project.

“The time is right.” says Bruhjell. “People are really aware of all the issues surrounding food security.”

The group would like to reach out to all of those people who have seeds they wish to donate to the cause.  They will start by trading seeds and identifying as many people as possible who have seeds of their own.

They have a message to all of Molokai’s farmers- large and small – SAVE YOUR SEEDS.  

They will hold their next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 5pm in the QLCC room at Kulana 'Oiwi.  All are invited.

Anyone wishing to become involved with the group can contact Charlene Martin at


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