About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Aug. 22, 2012

Auntie Kaiwi Perkins thanks Edmund C. Olson for help with the senior garden in Pahala. Olson provided workers to help get the garden started, as well as compost. Others who helped included Keoki Kahumoku and many of the seniors, both residents of the village and senior housing. Photo by John Cross
LIVING IN A RURAL COMMUNITY like Ka`u is comprised of “deep multi-generational relationships among people, plants, animals, and the land itself; of lives lived in direct contact with forest and ocean; of a relatively egalitarian and unregimented society; of people rich in the skills of subsistence and nurturing life.” This is the view of Michelle Galimba, described by the She Grows Food online publication as a “scholar, writer, rancher, mom, and a valuable voice for food system recovery here in Hawai`i.” She is also a member of the state Board of Agriculture.
      This month, shegrowsfood.com features an essay by Galimba describing Ka`u as “one of the more remote, sparsely populated areas in Hawai`i.” Her writing tells of the “long, difficult and ongoing” transition from the plantation that shut down in 1996 to the economy of today. She writes: “Right from the start, there were ex-plantation workers that were looking for ways to make the transition. They planted coffee or tried other diversified crops. They started ranches on land that had once been used for sugar cane. The macadamia nut orchards have continued right through, although they have weathered some really difficult times with low prices for macadamias.”
Michelle Galimba
      Notes Galimba, “The Ka`u coffee farmers really struggled, too. There probably wouldn’t be Ka`u coffee industry without the help of Senator Dan Inouye’s RETA-H (Rural Economic Transition Assistance – Hawai`i) grant program. However, even with that help getting started, there was not much of a market for Ka`u coffee. Even though their coffee was always very good, it had no identity. It wasn’t Kona, but it cost as much as Kona to produce, and the farmers were having a lot of trouble selling their coffee.
      “Over the last five years or so there has been an ongoing effort to brand Ka`u coffee, mostly using ‘guerilla’ marketing techniques, since the farmers don’t have money for an expensive traditional marketing campaign. They entered their coffee in international cupping contests, they started a Ka`u coffee festival, they got help in getting media attention for their accomplishments. The state and county of Hawai`i have helped out with marketing grants, and they have gotten the support of the community behind them and their product. Now they are getting much better prices for their coffee and have no trouble selling it. They worked together to do this, as an industry. It wasn’t easy, there were a lot of bumps along the way, but slowly they have built a brand for their coffee and viable businesses for themselves.
      “Branding, which is a form of communication, has been very important in bringing local beef to local markets as well. Our (Kuahiwi) ranch has created a brand to tell its story, and there are several other local beef brands that are helping to transform our industry towards a more locally supported, diversified business model. It really goes against the grain of most people in agriculture, to be promoting oneself rather shamelessly, but it’s what we need to do. We need to communicate what it is that we do, so that the public can see the value in our products and how they differ from products that are imported. This is how we can create vibrant agricultural businesses and strengthen our rural communities.”
      Galimba talks about attitudes towards small farms and small towns: “The story about rural communities and the work that goes on there generally is cast as: backwards, boring, low-class, poor, demeaning, repressive, unsophisticated, comical. That’s the story that we’ve lived with for as long as I can remember. It’s very difficult for young people to feel good about working in agriculture or to stick around in a rural community when they get negative feedback continually from the culture at large. 
      “On the other hand, in the last few years, there are good things starting to happen in rural communities around the state because of an ongoing cultural shift which has manifested, among other things, in consumer demand for local food. The market for locally grown produce and meats has been and continues to be key towards building a more diversified, resilient agriculture in Hawai`i. It is really an exciting time to be in agriculture. Although it’s still a difficult, risky way to make a living, at least there is more social support; there is a story being told that is supportive of agriculture and rural communities.”
Auntie Kaiwi Perkins and Edmund Olson discuss the  garden.
Photo by Julia Neal
      See more from Galimba’s essay, including comments on Ka`u’s agricultural labor issues and Ka`u’s environment and the web of life at shegrowsfood.com.

PAHALA COMMUNITY SENIOR GARDEN is doing well, according to seniors who held a luncheon at Pahala Senior Center on Monday to thank those who give a helping hand. Auntie Kaiwi Perkins, a resident of senior housing, spearheaded the recent revival of the garden, along with Bobby Barba, Fely and Don Villegas, Carol Javar, Mary Peralta, and Clarita and Cesar Rentegrado. Also helping out from the community have been Keoki Kahumoku and some of his music students, Les Iverson and the Olson Trust, which provided equipment, fertilizer, mulch and compost. Edmund C. Olson attended the luncheon and provided the seniors with five pounds of Ka`u Coffee Mill coffee for their gatherings. Perkins thanked Olson for the "energy he brings to the community" and for his donations to the Senior Garden, which is open to volunteers. from throughout the community.

Larry Yee
Sarah Stokes Alexander
KA`U FARMERS AND RANCHERS ARE INVIITED to Hawai`i  Agriculture  Conference. Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai`i hosts the conference at Hawai`i Convention Center in Honolulu on Sept. 20 and 21. Registration deadline is Sept. 1. Tickets are available online at hawaiiagconference.org.

      Inspired by the United Nations “Year of the Cooperative,” this year’s theme is Leveraging Partnerships for Profit. Through lessons and tools focusing on working together, the conference aims to ignite collaboration among local businesses within the community with encouragement from displays of successful partnerships.
 Speakers include Larry Yee, co-founder and director of Food Commons; Sarah Stokes Alexander of Keystone Center in Colorado; and Lauren Anderson of Collaborative Lab. Also, there will be over two dozen Hawai`i-based producers and agriculture professionals speaking throughout the two days.

Lauren Anderson
      The event also features the Monty Richardson Leadership Award presentation to Donna Ching in appreciation for her decades of service to the agriculture sector at the all Hawai`i products luncheon. The general public is encouraged to attend the pau hana reception featuring demonstrations and techniques for the preparation of local foods and backyard gardening projects. The trade show hosts additional demonstration activities, wireless Internet, and food and beverage all day.

AXIS DEER ARRIVED ON THE BIG ISLAND BY HELICOPTER, according to an Associated Press story today. The story says that Thomas Leroy Hauptman has entered a plea of guilty to one misdemeanor count of illegally transporting wildlife when he flew four axis deer from Maui and, according to U.S. attorney Michael Song, then returned to Maui with about a dozen mouflon sheep. The flight took place in 2009.
      The story quotes Song: “Hauptman was the courier, and not the mastermind.” It says federal officials are investigating other individuals in the case. 
Axis deer on Maui have grown into herds that destroy farms.
Photo from The Nature Conservancy
      Reports of sightings across the Big Island been increasing since an Invasive Species Committee representative used a game camera to photograph an axis deer in Ka`u last year. The game camera was set up in response to a deer sighting by local ranchers. The story says Big Island Invasive Species Committee estimates the population of axis deer to be between 50 and 100. Highly skilled marksmen working for the Invasive Species Committee are assigned to take down the axis deer.

BOTANIST TIM TUNISON teaches step-by-step methods of returning backyards to native forests using Niaulani Rain Forest as a living, successful example on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Donations of $10 or more are encouraged. Register at 967-8222 or programs@volcanoartcenter.org.