AN ISLAND BY ISLAND LISTING OF TOURS, STANDS, MARKETS & MORE
Slurp fruit from a cacao pod, sip a cup of just-roasted coffee, or sniff the intoxicating scent of lavender right from the stem: there’s a bounty of sensory experiences awaiting your discovery on the many farms on each of our Hawaiian islands.
AG THROUGH THE AGES
WRITTEN BY FERN GAVELEK
Around 500 A.D. Polynesians migrated to Hawai‘i aboard voyaging canoes, bringing their favorite plants with them. The mariners carefully wrapped tubers, cuttings, shoots and seeds for the long ocean journey.
These first colonists shuttled at least 27 kinds of foreign plants to Hawai‘i. Called “canoe plants,” they included staples like banana, coconut, breadfruit and kalo (taro). Further establishing their agricultural footprint on the islands, families joined forces to reshape the landscape by building kalo lo‘i (irrigated terraces).
By the late 1800s, the agricultural scene in Hawai‘i was dominated by large-scale sugar and pineapple plantations. Workers, who hailed from a rich mix of countries, lived together in plantation camps. They spent long days toiling in the field and also grew the foods of their homelands in small garden plots.
Today, the Hawaiian Island’s agricultural landscape has again changed. Many of the large plantations are gone, while companies are growing seed crops for global distribution. Local family farms now produce the bulk of the state’s diversified food, flowers and foliage crops.
Latest figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Hawai‘i Field Service report that farm gate revenues—direct sales to customers—totaled $719.5 million in 2011, with seed crops contributing a record $243 million. Other top 20 value commodities include: sugarcane, cattle, macadamia nuts, coffee, algae, bananas, papayas, milk, sweet potatoes, basil, lettuce, potted palms, dendrobium orchids, dracaena, honey, anthuriums, cabbage and taro.
HAWAIIAN ISLANDS LAND TRUST
Lokahi, the Hawaiian term for “collaboration” represents the founding principle of Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. Over the years, the hard work and good intentions of land trusts across the State accomplished great things. For more than two decades these organizations worked to protect our natural and cultural treasures. They engaged volunteers, motivated donors and worked to preserve the heritage that is uniquely Hawaiian. Among them, they have successfully protected coastal areas, working ranches and agricultural lands, wildlife habitats, watersheds, park and recreation areas and Hawaiian cultural sites.
In order to keep pace with the development that threatens our most important places, these land trusts knew that they must work both harder and smarter. It was necessary to find a way to take conservation in Hawaii to the next level. For more than a year, like-minded organizations worked to create a vision of a more cohesive, more capable, and better-funded statewide conservation effort. E Pluribus Unum, Out of Many, One—it was time to join forces.
In January 2011, that vision became a reality when the merger of four existing organizations became official and the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust was born. Participating in the collaboration were Kauai Public Land Trust, Oahu Land Trust, Maui Coastal Land Trust, and Hawaii Island Land Trust. Now, each county in the State is represented together by a vibrant new statewide land conservancy.