KEKAHA — A collection of pro-farming groups announced Friday the launch of a concerted education effort under the banner of “Save Kauai Farms.”
The kick-off was a sign-waving demonstration along Highway 50 in Hanapepe, with a concluding rally at the adjacent recreation area. According to a press release, about 500 people participated to show support for Kauai farming.
“The people that work on West Side farms wanted to hold this event to show they take a lot of pride in what they do,” said rally coordinator Kirby Kester. “They believe in the importance of agriculture and the positive difference it makes for our community. I think that’s why we saw so much energy here today.”
The Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, Kauai County Farm Bureau and individual farmers support the campaign, the release said.
HCIA President Mark Phillipson also announced an initiative to explain the benefits of modern agriculture practices and expose the dangers to local farming posed by Council Bill 2491.
Phillipson outlined the Save Kauai Farms campaign, which includes broadcast and print advertising, social media and community engagement.
“We will be stepping up the things we are currently doing. We will be holding public forums to discuss biotech farming and the future of Kauai agriculture on Monday and Tuesday, as well as adding the new activities I mentioned,” said Phillipson.
“Farmers from around the island, and hundreds of people who work on farms, as well as their family members and friends, are tired of people who don’t farm and don’t understand agriculture trying to destroy our livelihood, mischaracterizing our excellent record in caring for the environment, and belittling the good work we do for our community.”
The Save Kauai Farms website, which will contain links to credible studies and information, will be accessible on Sunday.
Two public forums featuring farmers and scientists discussing farming challenges on Kauai are scheduled this week.
Both are billed as, “The Farmer Dialogue: Talking Story About Farming, Food and Our Future.”
Panelists will share facts about modern agriculture and answer questions from the audience.
The first forum is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Waimea Theater.
The second is 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Kapaa Elementary School cafeteria
According to a press release, they will talk about how today’s food is grown and raised safely and responsibly, and what tools are used to preserve and protect our lands and resources for future generations
Panelists include: Jerry Ornellas, president, Kauai Country Farm Bureau; Kirby Kester, president-elect, Hawaii Crop Improvement Association; Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, former director, Pacific Basin Agriculture Research Center; Dr. Kevin Folta, University of Florida – Horticultural Sciences; Dr. Steven Savage, Savage & Associates.
Friends of Kauai Agriculture held a “Save Kauai Farms” sign-waving and rally Friday afternoon in Hapapepe.
Info:: Thelma Dreyer (808) 589-7129 or Kris Tanahara (808) 673-8585.