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Kohala agriculture event invites Hawaiʻi Island farmers to plan their future

Kohala Center

Members of an agricultural community on Hawaiʻi Island will gather this week to discuss the future of sustainable farming and ranching.

The Kohala Agricultural Visioning event will be hosted by the County of Hawaiʻi and the agriculture education nonprofit Kahua Paʻa Mua. The organization encourages young adults and families to grow their own organic produce.

Local vendors and government agencies plan to provide details on water use, energy and land preservation to attendees.

Additionally, due to the high rates of suicide-related deaths in the agriculture sector, event organizers plan to have a booth solely concentrated on farmer wellness.

Guests will be able to share information and pitch ideas for a community vision plan that will be published in a month. The plan will build on the North Kohala Community Development Plan written over 10 years ago.

"Lot of times when we think about agriculture, we always think that agriculture is strictly economic development. 'You've got to make money to be in agriculture,' but not really," said Kahua Paʻa Mua's executive director David Fuertes when sharing his vision for the future of Kohala’s sustainable agriculture.

"You can be a backyard gardener and produce food and that's agriculture as well. You can be raising taro in the streams just for your home use and you're giving to your neighbor, but that's agriculture as well and that needs to be honored," Fuertes said.

Kailu-Kona-based artist Susi Watson will draw a mural at the end of the discussions to provide a visual example of the future of sustainable agriculture in Kohala.

Event organizers also add that discussions will be followed by a farmer’s market featuring produce from Kohala.

The Kohala Agricultural Visioning event will take place at the Hisaoka Gym on Saturday, March 25. The agricultural seminars and discussions will take place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. followed by "A Taste of Kohala" from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Register for the event online to participate as a community member, vendor or service provider.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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