Kaua‘i Agricultural Forum

SUBHEAD: Creating a new strategic plan to meet the future food needs of Kauai. By Andrea Brower and Ray Maki on 15 March 2009 inThe Garden Island http://www.kauaiworld.com/articles/2009/03/15/business/kauai_business/doc49bca7059fbbd892035694.txt Lately there has been heightened community discussion about addressing our vulnerability as an isolated island that is over 90 percent dependent on food imports. With unemployment rising and our primary revenue-generating industries suffering, government, business and the community at large are focusing more attention on the critical importance of Kaua‘i’s food industry. A recent study by CTAHR estimated that replacing just 10 percent of Hawai‘i’s food imports would put $313 million into our economy and create 2,300 jobs. Increasing agricultural production will ensure greater economic resilience, improve environmental sustainability, and add to our quality of life. The time is now to grow more of our own!
image above: Limahuli Garden in Haena, on Kauai, Hawaii. From  http://www.sfu.ca/sfunews/Stories/sfunews06260808.shtml WHAT:
Kaua‘i Agricultural Forum
Saturday, 4 April, 2009, 8:00am-5:00pm
Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Cafeteria, Lihue
Ray Maki at 634-5412
Andrea Brower at 635-1659 
In 1984 and then again in 1998, agricultural stakeholders convened to put together an Agricultural Strategic Plan for Kaua‘i. Now, more than ever, it is time to revisit this conversation and carry it forward into action. The Kaua‘i Agricultural Forum will bring together the various players in Kaua‘i’s agriculture industry to renew the strategic plan and identify our greatest agricultural challenges and priority goals. If you are a farmer, retailer, restaurateur, wholesaler, landowner, policy-maker, or simply like to eat fresh local foods, your input is important! The forum will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 4 at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Cafeteria. The day will start off with a panel of speakers that will assess our island’s agricultural inventories and lay out some of the greatest challenges. The panel will build on information from prior strategic plans to lay the foundation for a day of group brainstorming and planning. Panelists include Jerry Ornelles (Kaua‘i Farm Bureau), Lex Riggle (Natural Resources Conservation Services), Roy Yamakawa (UH Extension Agent), Bobby Farias Jr. (Kaua‘i Ranchers Association), Bill Cowern (Hawaiian Mahogany), Arryl Kaneshiro (Grove Farm), Don Heacock (Kaua‘i Organic Agroecosystems), Louisa Wooton (Kaua‘i Kunana Dairy), and the Kaua‘i County Planning Department. A majority of the day will be spent in working groups that will explore issues around water, markets and distributions, labor and housing, farm inputs, green waste and composting, land use, training and education, invasive species, etc. On April 5, a half-day follow-up session will be held at the Lihu‘e Neighborhood Center to distill the conclusions of the prior day’s events. All are invited to attend, and this session is intended for the core group that will organize all of the Forum’s findings into an updated planning document. The Kaua‘i Agricultural Forum will not simply revisit the “same old” problems and conversations. It will produce updated strategic goals for the purpose of moving forward. There are many groups and agencies involved in agriculture, including the Kaua‘i Farm Bureau, the Kaua‘i Community College Food Industry Forum, Garden Island Resource Conservation and Development, Kaua‘i Economic Development Board, Kaua‘i County Office of Economic Development, Kaua‘i Agriculture Initiative, Malama Kaua‘i, and others. The Forum will create a space for these groups, along with farmers and other agricultural stakeholders, to assess what work is already being done, identify priority goals, and forge new partnerships (or strengthen existing ones) in order to implement the steps necessary to move Kaua‘i towards greater food self-sufficiency. Organization, communication, and collaboration are key. The Forum is free and refreshments will be provided. A delicious all-local lunch will be available for purchase for $10 on Saturday. Pre-registration is not required. The challenges to increasing agricultural production on Kaua‘i are great, but not insurmountable, especially with collaboration. By bringing together growers, restaurants, grocers, landowners, policy makers, community leaders, and other main stakeholders, we can create the plans to move towards greater food security and sustainability. • We welcome your ideas, feedback, and anything that you would be willing to contribute to the Kaua‘i Agricultural Forum. Please join the pre and post-forum conversation online at kauaiAgriculturalForum.org, Contact Ray Maki at 634-5412 or Andrea Brower at 635-1659 or info@kauaiagriculturalforum.org

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