Posts

Kohala Chapter of Hawaii Farmers Union United Established and Working

Here’s a sneak preview of an article I submitted to the Kohala Mountain News.  You heard it here first!

Kohala has recently formed a chapter of the National Farmers Union, an organization established in 1902 to unite farmers and others interested in food in cooperative efforts of education and legislation.

The National Farmers Union mission is to advocate for the economic and social well-being, and quality of life of family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and consumers and their communities through education, cooperation and legislation. National Farmers Union advocates sustainable production of food, fiber, feed and fuel.  The Vision of the National Farmers Union is to continue to be the respected, influential and independent national voice and coalition leader that bridges family producers and consumers on behalf of a vibrant and growing grassroots membership.  See more at: http://nfu.org .  Follow the drop-down tabs to get to the Hawaii section.

Our local chapter joins seven other chapters in Hawaii, falling under the umbrella of the Hawaii Farmers Union United.

On December 9th, elections were held and a board established.  Dash Kuhr is serving as president, Nate Hayward as vice president, Jim Land as secretary, and Andrea Clipson as treasurer.  Other board members include Clarence A. “Cab” Baber, Gail Byrne Baber, Jana Bogs, and Peter deVries.

Cab Baber with Senator Thielen and her hempcrete building block

Cab Baber with Senator Thielen and her hempcrete building block

Our board has been busy attending influential, legislation-related events on Oahu and the Big Island.  Some items on the legislative agendas include industrial hemp production, an on-farm mentoring bill, direct farm to school food sales, legalizing cottage industry sales (items made in home kitchens), and cow share and raw milk legalization.  Our board members found our elected legislators very interested in the needs of small farmers.

Our last meeting, on January 8th, hosted Ed Boteilho Jr. of Cloverleaf Dairy here in Hawi.   After his family’s more than 50 years of milk production, he is forced to sell due to price controls by Meadow Gold, Hawaii’s only milk processor.  Boteilho is hoping that Ulupono, a Hawaii-based investment company, will take over operations.

To address concerns about the dairy expressed by some of our members, the Kohala HFUU passed a resolution which recognized Mr. Boteilho’s history of avoiding rBST (genetically-engineered hormone injections) and GMO (genetically-modified organism) practices (which are common to the dairy industry) as examples of good management essential for the future sustainability of the ‘aina.  The resolution supports the operation of a local non-GMO dairy in North Kohala; and supports all regenerative practices related to dairy farming and farming in general.

Our Farmers Union chapter meets once a month, at 6pm on the Thursday nearest the new moon at the Kohala Hub in downtown Hawi.  We have a yummy potluck dinner featuring locally-produced foods, interesting speakers, and just plain fun.  Our next meeting will be on Thursday, February 12th at 6pm.  Please come join us!  Our membership goal for 2015 is to have 200 members.  The nearest chapter is in Kona, so we expect to welcome members from the Waimea area too.  Come help us improve our local food production and “Keep Kohala, Kohala” by sharing your mana`o.

Kohala High School Ag Program Grows Again

Written by Andrea Dean | 27 April 2012

Volunteers spent Earth Day reviving the grounds of the Kohala High School Ag Program (Dr. Bogs on right)

For 30 years Uncle David Fuertes was the agriculture teacher at Kohala High School. In its glory days the ag program made $25,000 per year by growing and selling its own products. The program emphasized entrepreneurship and leadership skills, as well as agricultural skills. They had a greenhouse, certified kitchen, four acres of vegetables and animal pastures. Many of Kohala’s leaders today were students who were mentored by David in the Hawai‘i Future Farmers of America (FFA) program—including High School principal Jeanette Snelling, and Adriel Robitaille, the new Ag teacher. After attending college it was Adriel’s dream to come back to Kohala and to revitalize the ag program. That dream is now becoming a reality.

On Earth Day, Saturday, April 21st— former Hawai‘i FFA graduates, All About Trees, Ka Hana No‘eau students, and volunteers from the North Kohala Eat Locally Grown Campaign came together with Uncle David to help Adriel with some major projects at the site.

Crews cleared out invasive African Tulip trees, pulled out stumps from otherwise usable land, cleaned out the greenhouse, moved piles of roofing, laid irrigation pipe and planted two breadfruit trees. Previously, much of the site was literary unearthed—Adriel and the students removed grass that had grown 4 feet tall off the floor of the greenhouse, pulled sinks and tables out of the bushes, and beat back the jungle from the classroom.

Rebuilding the program is a major project, but the Kohala Ag program is already hosting a new chicken coop (with chickens), a pasture with goats, a taro lo‘i and an aquaculture tank (fish coming soon…now that there is water!).

It has been a long wait, but the North Kohala High School Ag program has begun its renaissance, and district families and students are energized.


Andrea Dean, MBA, of Sustainable Initiatives works with communities, businesses and non-profits on initiatives that enhance island economy, environment and community. Andrea is also the Special Projects Coordinator for the Hawai’i Homegrown Food Network, and is co-coordinator of the Ho’oulu ka ‘Ulu – Revitalizing Breadfruit program.

1 Comment

  1. Kaleopono makes this comment

Tuesday, 01 May 2012

I am so glad to learn that the Kohala High Ag Program is being revitalized. Years ago as President of the Hawaii State Young Farmers Association, I collaborated with David Fuertes to recognize and honor students in the North Kohala Future Farmers of America program. When I quite a few years later lived for 10 years in North Kohala, I was dismayed by the absence of the ag (and other trades like woodworking and mechanical) program from the high school curriculum. Does this mean than more generous resources for practical, hands on education are flowing back into DOE? I hope so.

 

Upcoming Events

Going “Beyond Organic” with Dr. Jana Bogs, your crop consultant on the Big Island of Hawaii

Organic Tomatoes , North Kohala, Hawaii

I’m Working on Growing the Healthiest Food Ever here in North Kohala.

As a consultant, I can help you and your garden create–

  • Consistent, Abundant Yields
  • Outstanding Flavor & Texture
  • Optimal, Consistent Fruit Size
  • Greatly Increased Shelf Life
  • Maximum Nutrient Density
  • Enhanced Pest and Disease Resistance

The Soil and Plant Doctor

Jana Bogs, DN, MS, PhD

(808) 938-9888

Hana Hou–Encore, Encore!–She’s Back—By Popular Demand

Dr. Jana Bogs, nutritionist/horticulturist, gave a well-attended presentation sponsored by Sustainable Kohala on “Gardening for Greater Nutrition” in February. From comments received, it was evident that the information was very much appreciated by attendees. Many people said they wanted to attend, but just couldn’t make it that night. Others, who would have liked to attend, heard about it after the fact. So, Artesia, in Hawi, is sponsoring Dr. Bogs to speak on the same topic again, Sunday, April 10 at 3pm.

This free presentation is all about “creating health from the soil up”. Come learn about how the way we grow food affects its nutrient content, flavor, shelf life, and even pest resistance!

See how growing in a “Beyond Organic” way can help plants express their genetic potentials, providing us with life-enhancing nutrients so we can express our genetic potentials.

Dr. Bogs will give a powerpoint presentation (approximately 1 ½ hours), followed by a question/answer session. This event is free and open to the public. Artesia, a beautiful setting, is located at 55-3584 Kaauhuhu Road (the transfer station road) in Hawi. When going mauka, Artesia is just before the transfer station, on the opposite (right) side of the road. Look for survey tape streamers on a tree out front. Contact Dr. Bogs at 938-9888 for more information.

The Future of Farming

Published in The Kohala Mountain News, Story and photo by Dr. Frederick Kennedy

Dr. Jana Bogs and Sustainable Kohala will host an evening presentation on February 13 to discuss a fundamental paradigm shift in farming and gardening–to a focus on growing more “nutrient rich” foods.

Bogs will describe the history which explains how the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables has suffered dramatic losses over the past 60 years due to the influence of big agribusiness. She will show how nutrient density can be regained.

Due to the ‘unsustainable’ practices of agribusiness farming, the nutritional value of fruits, vegetables is much lower than it was early last century. USDA documentation and several scientific studies prove this claim.

Nutrient testing of produce reveals that, in some cases, organic produce has a higher nutritional value. However, this is not a consistent finding, and, unfortunately, sometimes organics have lower nutrient levels than conventional. An apple can be perfect by organic standards (no bug or weed killers) and yet be significantly lower in nutritional value than a conventionally-grown apple. Soil mineral balance is a critical factor which is often overlooked.

Bogs explains, “In the 1970’s, as some people became aware of what big agribusiness was doing to our fundamental sources of nutrition, our fruits, vegetables and grains, the need arose to distinguish healthy food from plants that were grown expressly for profit margin. That need was filled by establishing standards and practices that would assure food buyers they were not getting pesticides, herbicides, chemicals (such as left-over bomb materials) and, later, genetically modified organisms in their food. It was a new movement and direction in farming and gardening, and it was called “organic.”

Today’s organic standards and practices tell the farmer/gardener what he/she cannot do, in order to earn the label “organically certified.” The standards and practices are ‘restrictive’ rather than ‘prescriptive.’

Bogs will explain how a new paradigm in gardening and farming is going “beyond organic” to “nutrient rich” standards and practices. This is a perspective that, while it meets and exceeds organic standards, it is prescriptive rather than merely restrictive. It looks to see what is needed to optimize the genetic potential of the plant. Rather than telling the farmer/gardener what he/she cannot do, it prescribes for them what they need to do to grow the very best quality food.

Bogs defines “best” for the consumer as the best tasting, the highest nutritional value, the most appealing and beautiful; for the merchant as the longest shelf-life and the most desirable product; for the grower as the highest yield, the lowest insect pressure and the most disease resistant; and for the environment as practices which ensure clean air, water and soil.

The February 13 presentation will take place at 7 p.m. at the Kohala Intergenerational Center (KIC) located behind the Hisaoka Gym in Kamehameha Park. The event is free and open to the public. Dr. Jana Bogs is a nutritionist, food scientist, and horticulturist.