Malama Kauai continues farm assistance

  • Contributed photo

    Intern Austin Yardly helps with farm rebuild work in the Malama Kauai ag internship program.

  • Contributed photo

    Summer AmeriCorps Ag intern Fresno Masaniai, right, lends a hand at Robert Watari’s Hanalei lo‘i site.

Malama Kauai has received $65,000 from the Kauai Relief and Recovery Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation to redistribute to farmers affected by the April flood through their farmer mini-grant program.

Applications are available on the flood relief page at MalamaKauai.org and are due by July 20.

“The support for the cleanup and repair for local agriculture on Kauai has been great. What’s even better has been the timing,” said Bobby Farias Jr., part of the grant selection committee and COO of Kunoa Cattle Company. “Malama Kauai has been great in finding a way to get funding deployed quickly so the farms can get back up and running. They’re always good about keeping close to the rancher and farmer to listen to the real needs, direct from the farm.”

In June, $50,000 was distributed to 28 farmers across the island who were impacted by April’s flood, in the range of $250 to $4,500 per farmer.

Farmers who received funding during the first round of mini-grants will automatically be reconsidered and do not need to re-submit a new application for the second round. Questions about the grant program can be directed to Haylin Chock at farmerfund@malamakauai.org or 828-0685, ext. 24.

Malama Kauai is also supporting farmers through their summer agriculture internship program, in which participants complete hands-on service projects on flood-affected farms across the island through the end of July.

Robert Watari, a Hanalei farmer whose 48-acre kalo farm was ravaged by April’s flooding, received assistance from both the grant and internship program.

“The generous donations from the grant, as well as the summer intern volunteer workdays, really helped us get back on our feet,” he said “We appreciate everyone and all they do to help.”

The interns in the program are just as grateful for the experience to connect.

“It’s been hard work but very rewarding to see the outcome at the end of the day, and how thankful the farmers are for how much has gotten done,” said Austin Yardly, one of the interns in the program. “It’s been an incredible learning experience, and with each farm we go to we gather a new skill or technique.”

Farmers interested in scheduling a workday with the interns in July should contact Lorilani at Lorilani@malamakauai.org or 828-0685, ext. 23.

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