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Little Fire Ant Awareness Forum

The Governor’s Office in West Hawai‘i Presents:  Little Fire Ant Awareness Forum on Thursday, October 27, 2016, 6-8 p.m. Doors Open at 5:30 p.m Hawai‘i Community College, Palamanui Campus located at 73-4225 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Room 127

Little fire and and queen ant.

Little fire and and queen ant.

With presenters from: Hawai‘i Ant Lab, State of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, County of Hawai‘i  Department of Research and Development.

Little Fire Ants, one of the most detrimental invasive species in Hawai‘i, threaten agriculture, native ecosystems, animals, and people. Come learn how you can prevent and control this pest.


UH Hilo Appointment of Administrators

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Matthew Platz announces the appointment of two deanship positions following the UH Board of Regents meeting held today on O`ahu. The positions take effect November 1, 2016.

uh-hilo-monikerDr. Bruce Mathews has been appointed permanent dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management. He previously served as acting dean from January – July 2012, then interim dean to present.

A 1986 graduate of UH Hilo, Mathews joined the University in 1993 as a Temporary Assistant Professor of Soils & Agronomy and became a tenure-track assistant professor two years later. His areas of research include plant nutrient cycling and soil fertility as affected by environmental conditions and crop management, assessment of the impact of agricultural and forestry production practices on soil, coastal wetlands, and surface waters, and the development of environmentally sound and economically viable nutrient management practices for pastures, forests, and field crops in the tropics.

He received an M.S. in agronomy from Louisiana State University and a Ph.D. in agronomy & soils from the University of Florida.

“As a graduate, faculty member and most recently interim dean, Bruce has unrivaled knowledge of this College, its mission, and its potential,” said Chancellor Don Straney. “I can think of no one else who better understands our responsibility to the community and the entire state of Hawaiʻi than Bruce Mathews.”

Dr. Drew Martin will serve as interim dean of the College of Business and Education. He joined UH Hilo in August 2004 and most recently served as professor of marketing. He has over 25 years of higher education teaching experience that spans three countries. Currently, he is also an affiliate faculty member of Daito Bunka University’s (Japan) Business Research Institute and the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa’s Center for Japanese Studies.

Martin received a B.A. and an MBA in business administration from Pacific Lutheran University, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

His intellectual contributions include extensive research on consumer behavior. He has published 65 research papers and book chapters.

“Drew is an intellectual heavyweight with an extensive professional background in business, government and academia,” Platz said. “His extensive research and publications have earned him international acclaim and numerous invitations to speak with emerging scholars on how to get their research published in leading academic journals.”

Hawai’i Interagency Biosecurity Plan Formed to Protect Environment, Agriculture, Economy and Health

Hawai‘i is at an invasive species crossroads: the islands are home to more endangered species than any other state. Between 80-90% of all food is imported, and there are more than 8 million visitors annually, with hundreds of arriving flights and ships carrying cargo.

All images courtesy Hawaii DLNR

All images courtesy Hawaii DLNR

Residents of Hawai‘i know that its environment and way of life are special. Many of the native plants and animals exist nowhere else in the world, and the ability to grow food locally and be connected to the land is critical to maintaining an island identity. As invasive species continue to arrive in Hawai‘i and spread through the islands, the environment, agriculture, economy, and even human health are at risk.  Coqui frogs, fire ants, albizia, and mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever and Zika virus provide recent examples of impacts to Hawai‘i.  Broad, comprehensive strategies are needed to protect our economy, environment and way of life.

“My administration has focused on doing the right thing the right way. Protecting Hawai‘i from the impacts of invasive species will require agencies and industries to work together to build a better biosecurity system,” said Gov. David Ige. “Our actions now will result in a more robust agriculture industry, protect our natural resources, our economy, and our unique way of life here in Hawai‘i.”

biosecurity-planaBetter biosecurity is Hawai‘i’s path forward from this invasive species crossroad. The term biosecurity encompasses the full set of policies and actions that minimize risk from invasive species. This means pre-border actions to prevent invasive species from reaching our shores, border inspections and quarantine to detect new arrivals, and post-border control for species that have made their way into the state.

biosecurity-planbThe State’s first line of defense against invasive species has always been the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, but in the 21st century we need partners,” said Scott Enright, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.  “The threat of potential invasive species goes beyond HDOA’s mandate and this new interagency biosecurity plan will help the State focus on important priorities that will protect the environment and agriculture in Hawaii now and in the future.”


The State of Hawai‘i developed its first comprehensive, interagency approach to biosecurity through the 2017-2027 Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan. The intended scope of this plan is to address all three biosecurity areas (pre-border, border, and post-border) and to strategically coordinate actions across a wide range of agencies and partners. The planning process, led by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), has joined the efforts of industry representatives and state, federal, and county agencies to identify policy, process, and infrastructure needs over the next decade. The plan is currently in draft form and awaits public review and input at a series of meetings across the state in early October.

biosecurity-plandIn Hawai‘i the concept of laulima is followed: many hands working together. The Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan is a blueprint for conservationists, farmers, researchers, and private citizens to join together and help protect this special place. While the draft plan includes over 150 coordinated actions that would substantially enhance our biosecurity system, 10 key areas highlighted for improvements are listed below. :

1)      Off-shore compliance: Agreements with other jurisdictions to adopt pre-shipping inspection and control policies.

2)      E-manifest and intelligence gathering: Using new technology to track what’s coming in, what’s high-risk, and what’s low-risk (for faster release).

3)      Inspection facilities: Well-lit, secure areas for efficient inspections, refrigerated areas for produce.

4)      Inspection of non-agricultural items: HDOA has authority and staff to inspect high-risk non-agricultural items.

5)      Emergency response capacity: Interagency plans, protocols, and funding in place for timely and effective response to new pest incursions.

6)      Better coordination and participation by industries: Expand HISC into an Invasive Species Authority to provide industry a seat at the table and coordinate complex interagency efforts.

7)      Renewed focus on human health: A fully restored DOH Vector Control Branch to detect vectors of dengue, Zika, rat lungworm, and more.

8)      Enhanced control of established pests: Adequate field staff at HDOA, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Department of Health (DOH), and the University of Hawai‘i (UH) to control established invasive species and improved laboratories to support effective biocontrol.

9)      Minimize interisland spread: Increased staff and inspections for interisland goods, support to local farms and nurseries via certification programs and import substitution programs.

10)   Engaged and supportive community: Targeted outreach to different stakeholder groups to increase awareness and engagement in biosecurity programs.

A Feast from Mauka to Makai – Waikoloa Beach Resort Food Events Feature the Best from Land and Sea

September 9-10, 2016 is the weekend foodies look forward to all year, when two of the island’s tastiest culinary events happen back-to-back in Waikoloa Beach Resort: Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range on Friday, September 9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, and Hawai‘i Island Festival’s Poke Contest, Saturday, September 10 at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

Poke Festival 2016

Celebrating its 20th year, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range (TOTHR) is not just for carnivores anymore. Along with island-raised meats—skillfully prepared by 30 top chefs from around the state—TOTHR showcases a bounty of locally grown fruits, vegetables, dairy, nuts and other farm products. Additionally, a special culinary activity, “Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101,” presented by chefs Kevin Hanney and Jason Schoonover of the award-winning 12th Ave. Grill, takes place at 3 p.m. on Friday.

Tickets are $45 and $60 at the door for TOTHR, $10 for Cooking 101, available online at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com or at the Kohala Essence Shop at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. For general event information, phone 808-322-4892.

For kama‘āina, Hilton Waikoloa Village offers a Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package, starting at $239, which includes two tickets to the event. A valid Hawai‘i state ID and address are required. For hotel reservations, visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, (package code TSH), or call 1-800-HILTONS.

On Saturday, September 10, the culinary journey travels from the pastures to the ocean for Hawai‘i Island Festivals Poke Contest at Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. A traditional Hawaiian food that has stood the test of time and continues to trend in popular cuisine, poke is a side dish made of bite-size pieces of fish, combined with a limitless range of creative additional ingredients.

Doors open for the Poke Contest at 11 a.m., where for both professional chefs and home cooks, will compete for cash prizes in numerous categories. And, after the judges announce the winners, the audience gets to taste too. For information and entry forms, visit www.hawaiiislandfestival.org.

Waikoloa Beach Resort is a complete destination resort that encompasses two championship golf courses and over 3,000 guest rooms in two upscale hotels, and seven luxury condominiums and vacation home properties.  The Resort also includes award-winning Queens’ MarketPlace and Kings’ Shops, offering a wide variety of shopping opportunities, services and dining experiences, plus free entertainment and cultural programs.  For more information visit www.WaikoloaBeachResort.com or call (808) 886-8822.

Hawaii International AgriTourism Symposium

Hawai‘i AgriTourism Association (HATA) will host the state’s first Hawai‘i International AgriTourism Symposium on October 15, 2016 at the College of Hawaiian Language: Ka Haka ‘Ulu O Ke‘elikōlani, in Hilo. Industry experts from Hawai‘i, New Zealand and Japan will share their forecasts, trends and tips on how they compete on a global stage. They will share what visitors from their regions are looking to experience in AgriTourism, as well as perspectives on how they have diversified agricultural operations in innovative ways to increase profitability, reduce risk, and protect rural communities.

agritourism symposium

This global symposium aims to help people get on trend with the connections between agriculture and travel/tourism. The industry is an “economic multiplier” that impacts restaurants, lodging, health, and education. For every dollar spent at an AgriTourism farm, an additional $2.25 is spent within the community in food, fuel, and retail.  The ripple effect continues with home based and small businesses that create value add products from the farm crop such as jams, baked goods, and beauty or health products.

As a popular and highly marketable segment of Hawai‘i’s $10-billion dollar visitor industry, AgriTourism is poised to take off in the next decade. It’s not only a viable part of the economy; it’s also an important way to preserve our island lifestyles and culture.

AgriTourism offers farmers and small businesses an incredible opportunity to expand their business using creative approaches, and innovative partnerships. This symposium will show how the state’s largest economic industries, tourism and agriculture, merge to create economic diversity and innovation that visitors will pay for.

Farmers who include an AgriTourism component in their marketing plan can see substantial financial benefits. AgriTourism can provide the difference between a profitable and an unprofitable farming operation, and between a sustainable and an unsustainable agricultural region. With the potential of this niche market expanding at such a fast pace, there has never been a better time to learn more about AgriTourism.

Online Registration for Hawai‘i’s International AgriTourism Symposium is open at www.hiagtourism.org.  Vendors who wish to sell products at the Hawai‘i Marketplace may also register online as well.  For more information, please contact Lani Weigert, lani@hiagtourism.org.  Space is limited, early registration encouraged.

New Restaurants, Exhibitors Join Taste Hawaiian Range Sept. 9

Fresh and nutritious Hawai’i Island food and the people who produce it are the stars of Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range 6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Taste HaydenTasty culinary stations, food producer booths and agricultural-themed displays—totaling over 75 stations— will sprawl both inside and out at the resort’s conference center.

Pre-sale tickets are available online for $45 through midnight September 8 and at island wide locations until sold out; they are $60 at the door. Details: www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

Each Taste chef is assigned to prepare a whopping 100 pounds of a specific cut of pasture-raised beef—or locally sourced pork, lamb, mutton, goat or USDA-inspected wild boar—and the result is a festive adventure of tasting everything from tongue to tail. Most of the beef cuts are utilized so chefs and attendees can get acquainted with not-so-familiar cuts while having fun. The pasture-raised beef is sourced from local, humanely raised cattle that are free of antibiotics and hormones.

Taste ShankIn addition to “grazing” on expertly prepared beef sirloin, lamb or Rocky Mountain Oysters—aka bull’s testicles—attendees can taste samples at local food product booths and view compelling educational displays on sustainability and agriculture.

New participating exhibitors include Beyond Organic Consulting, Waimea Butcher Shop, Paradise Hawaii Balsamics, Spicy Ninja Sauce, Rapid ‘Ohi‘a Death, Farm Works Hawaii, Orchid Isle Traders, Hawaii Lassi-Akmal Foods, USDA Farm Service Agency and UH-CTAHR Veterinary Extension.

Restaurants debuting at the 2016 Taste include Noodle Club, Waipio Cook House, 3 Fat Pigs, Daylight Mind Coffee Company Waikoloa, Monstera and The Fish Hopper.

Also new will be a streaming video shown at different event locations featuring seven Big Island ranchers and farmers talking story about why they produce food.


Those wanting to learn first-hand how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef can attend the event’s annual Cooking 101 culinary demonstration. This year’s team of guest presenters are chefs Kevin Hanney and J Schoonover of Oahu’s 12 Ave Grill and Kokohead Café. The 3 p.m. presentation includes sampling and is $10; tix available online or at the door. A 1 p.m. seminar, “Learn Where Beef Cuts Come From,” is free.

Islandwide tickets locations include Kuhio Grille in Hilo, Kamuela Liquors and Parker Ranch Store in Waimea, Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona and Kohala Essence Shop at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI. For general event information, phone (808) 322-4892.

Hawai‘i residents eager to savor the flavors of the Taste can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $239 + tax per room on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. This Kama‘aina Special also includes two tickets to the Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Guests must show valid Hawai‘i state ID at checkin and must have Hawai‘i address in reservation. Pre- and post-event hotel room prices start at $149 plus tax per room, per night, based on availability. To book an overnight stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, or https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/hi/reservation/book.htm?hotel=KOAHWHH&spec_plan=TSH&arrivaldate=20151009 or call 1-800-HILTONS.


Interior Department and Senator Brian Schatz Announce Additional Federal Support to Combat Rapid Ohia Death

In response to a request from Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), the U.S. Department of the Interior announced today $497,000 in additional federal funding to combat a tree-killing fungus that causes Rapid ‘Ohia Death (ROD), a disease that threatens the State’s tropical forests and delicate ecosystems which could jeopardize local water supplies and Hawai‘i’s economic vitality. The funding comes on the eve of the World Conservation Congress that is convening for the first time in the United States this week in Honolulu.

Rapid Ohia Death

Today’s funding announcement immediately activates an Early Detection Rapid Response Team (EDRR Team) and leverages another $673,000 of in-kind Federal contributions to suppress or contain a disease that potentially could have enormous biological, economic, social and cultural repercussions for the Aloha State. The EDRR Team comprised of Federal and state agencies and a consortium of scientists will immediately begin to conduct field surveys for the disease, support critical research to pioneer adaptive treatment protocols and complete assessments of those treatments.

“Rapid ‘Ohia Death is a biosecurity issue that warrants urgent action. It threatens to leave Hawai‘i’s forests, ecosystems, watersheds and commerce in a vulnerable state. Agencies must work together to generate the science needed to support decisive decisions,” said U.S. Department of the Interior Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kristen J. Sarri. “Our funding will enable this to happen. An Early Detection and Rapid Response Team will identify and rapidly respond to diseased trees while pioneering effective treatment options that will preserve the cultural significance of the ‘ohia for Native Hawaiians and enable the species to continue to provide countless ecological benefits to the State for generations to come. What we learn from this interagency approach will be applicable to addressing other invasive species of priority concern, in Hawai’i and across the United States.”

“This is an ecological emergency, and it requires everyone working together to save Hawai‘i Island’s native forests. I’m pleased to see our federal partners step up to help. The additional funding will make a big difference, and it will give us the tools to understand the disease, develop better management responses, and protect our ‘ohia,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI).

At the invitation of Senator Schatz, Sarri is attending a summit today with scientific experts, leaders from the conservation community and government leaders to better understand the current status of ROD management and science, discuss developments, and identify the most pressing opportunities to make progress.

The fungal disease is attacking and killing the ‘ohia lehua, a tree species sacred to Native Hawaiians that covers nearly one million acres in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is a keystone species for 60% of Hawai‘i’s forests and is integral to keeping the State’s delicate ecosystem in balance. The fungus causing ROD, first identified in 2014, already claimed 38,000 acres of trees on Hawai‘i Island where nearly two-thirds of the tree species lives. Scientists and resource managers worry that ROD will continue to ravage Hawai‘i Island’s forests and spread to other islands. This could potentially decimate habitat for many rare, threatened and endangered species, as well as jeopardize water resources and native cultural practices unless immediate interventions are implemented, including strengthening early detection and rapid response actions.

The disease was first confirmed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the University of Hawai‘i (UH). The State of Hawai‘i responded quickly by implementing an emergency ban on the movement of ‘ohia plant parts and soil interisland and intrastate, and requesting further assistance. Immediately, numerous agencies and organizations at the local, state and federal levels, including USFS, ARS, UH and Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey, the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formed a working group to improve detection, understand the spread and develop mitigation measures for ROD.

This multi-organizational effort facilitated sharing information, coordinated research and resource management and spurred public education and outreach efforts. As a result of these efforts, scientists were able to identify a fungus as the cause of the ‘ohia tree’s mortality, as well as develop methods to detect the fungal agent, and are tracking the spread of the disease. Hawai‘i mapped the location of diseased trees and instituted biosecurity measures to contain the spread of ROD, as well as kicked off a major public education effort to better inform landowners, resource managers and the general public about the disease.

The Federal government is committed to improving its ability to prevent invasive species from impacting national assets. The President’s Priority Agenda on enhancing climate resilience called for a national framework for the early detection of and response to invasive species. In response, an interdepartmental report, Safeguarding America’s Lands and Waters from Invasive Species: A National Framework for Early Detection and Rapid Response was released last February. The recommendations in that report have since been taken up as priority actions in the recently adopted 2016-2018 National Invasive Species Council (NISC) Management Plan. Implementation of the Management Plan is already in progress. Assessments are being conducted of the Federal authorities, programmatic structures and technical capacities needed to support a national program for the early detection of and rapid response to invasive species. NISC anticipates releasing the findings in early 2017.

Growing Native Plants for Species Recovery and to Protect Land and Watersheds

When Silene perlmanii, an extremely rare small shrub with delicate white flowers, was discovered on O‘ahu by botanist Steve Perlman in 1987, just 20 individuals remained in the wild. Within three years, only 6 plants remained, dwindling to a single individual by 1994. The decline of this species at the last known wild site has been attributed to aggressive weeds and introduced ungulates damaging the habitat.

native plants

According to Hawai‘i state botanist Maggie Sporck-Koehler, “This situation is not uncommon in Hawai‘i, which has the unfortunate distinction of having an extremely rare flora, and is often referred to as the ‘endangered species capital of the world.’” Hawai‘i’s flora is exceptionally unique with approximately 90% of flowering plants and 70% ferns found nowhere else on earth.

All that is preventing the loss of these unique species forever is a small group of dedicated conservationists, including the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), which conducts several types of plant conservation activities with the help of partners statewide, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hawai‘i Rare Plant Restoration Group, and Research Corporation of the University of Hawai‘i.

One significant component to DOFAW’s ongoing plant conservation and habitat protection projects are the state-run plant nurseries. The rarest plant species are grown in the state’s mid-elevation rare plant facilities located on Hawai‘i island, Maui, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i.

DOFAW district botanists and experts from one of DOFAW’s most highly specialized conservation partners, the Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP), carefully and strategically collect from rare plants in the wild, in places where natural plant regeneration is not occurring due to a variety of threats. Some of the seeds and other propagules collected by these expert botanists are taken to those nursery facilities to be grown and eventually outplanted back into protected areas in the wild.

The ultimate goal of DOFAW’s district botanists and the PEPP coordinators is to keep rare and imperiled species from declining further and to help restore these species and ensure their survival long into the future. In the case of PEPP, preventing extinctions is their highest priority, with a focus on species with fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild. The mid-elevation rare plant facilities propagate primarily state and federally listed threatened and endangered (T&E) species.

In the case of Silene perlmanii and many other species, seed collections were made just in time. According to O‘ahu PEPP coordinator Susan Ching Harbin, outplantings of these nursery-grown specimens have been occurring since 2002 thanks to initial work done by the National Tropical Botanical Garden. In recent years, PEPP has planted over 100 individuals of this species in two locations in the southern Wai‘anae mountains, with another 100 to be planted out this coming fall. Says Ching Harbin, “Outplants are looking great. One of the outplanting sites has some natural regeneration (although the numbers are very small).”

While preventing extinctions is one of the important jobs performed by DOFAW and its partners, supporting restoration of ecosystem structure and function is another task of state nurseries. They also propagate many different species of native plants, some T&E, some common species, and numerous trees for windbreak purposes. The State Tree Nursery provides high quality native tree species and windbreak trees and plants for both the public and DLNR-state sponsored out-plantings and reforestation projects.

DOFAW and partners use state-propagated native plants to help restore natural areas on a large scale in the Nakula Natural Area Reserve and Kahikinui Forest Reserve on Maui. The leeward south slopes of Haleakala were once covered in koa-‘ohi‘a montane forests and alpine shrublands but many years of impacts from feral ungulates and invasive plant species had resulted in the ecosystem being reduced to eroded grasslands with scattered trees. Without trees to capture the moisture, streams which used to flow have dried up. Within Nakula, DOFAW staff and partners have restored over 97 acres of the degraded land with over 64,000 Hawaiian native plants, subsequent to fencing and removal of feral cattle, goats, deer, and pigs. In neighboring Kahikinui, another 50,000 native plants have been planted, with high levels of survivorship.

Several important native Hawaiian tree species (some examples of these are koa, mamane, wiliwili, ‘iliahi, naio, and kolea lau nui) as well as several native species of shrubs, vines, and herbaceous understory plants (e.g. ‘ilima, maiapilo, ‘u‘ulei, pilo, ‘a‘ali‘i) have been successfully propagated and outplanted into highest priority restoration sites. By reforesting degraded areas which have lost their native Hawaiian biodiversity of plants, this work will allow for their recovery, and also the recovery of the birds, snails, and other invertebrates that are native residents of these areas.

DLNR & YOU-Growing Native Plants to Protect Forests & Watersheds from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

As a member agency, DOFAW supports the Hawai’i Rare Plant Restoration Group’s recently released Hawai‘i Rare Plant Code of Conduct to help guide forest visitors. A link to it is listed below under resources.

Jennifer Greenwell Earns Licensed Q Grader Certification

Greenwell Farms knows that keeping the quality of Kona’s world famous coffee is important to ensure its sustainability for seasons to come. Quality assurance at Greenwell Farms has been enhanced as Jennifer Greenwell recently earned a prestigious Coffee Quality Institute’s Q Grading certification.

Earlier this summer, Jennifer Greenwell spent an intense week pursuing the prestigious and respected certification as part of a seven-person group testing under the direction of Jodi Dowell Wieser. This was the first Q Grader and Training exam in Hawaii. Greenwell had to successfully pass over 20 intense test sections on coffee related subjects, such as green grading, roast identification, coffee cupping, sensory skills and sensory triangulation.

jennifer greenwell

Prior to the exams, Greenwell prepared and for 30 + days engaged in an Olympic-type coffee cupping training with Chai Neo, the other certified Q Grader at Greenwell Farms. Greenwell had to train her taste buds to respond to the sweet, sour, and salt areas of the tongue and together, Greenwell and Neo cupped and cupped coffee samples from around the world as Greenwell grew more and more confident in her skills. Armed with heavy training, Greenwell headed to Oahu, knowing the difficult and demanding testing she would be up against.

“I’m personally so grateful to Jackie and Ray Suiter of Kona Coffee Purveyors for making the Q Grader certification possible here in Hawaii. They are really the ones that made it happen by certifying their lab, rearranging roasting schedules and getting Jody out here to Hawaii to conduct the certification,” said Jennifer Greenwell.

With this prestigious certification, Jennifer Greenwell joins an elite group of coffee industry experts. Greenwell and Chai Neo are both qualified to cup and grade coffee based on the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s standards and methods. The Q Grading Certification program was created in 2004 to train coffee professionals to better identify the scientific tasting protocols, coffee grading, coffee knowledge and develop sharp sensory skills critical in identifying the common aromatic scents found in coffee.

With two Q Graders now on the farm, Greenwell Farms has doubled the quality-based guarantee that its coffee has been strictly evaluated by coffee experts to ensure quality. These two Greenwell Farms Q-Graders will continue to contribute greatly to the Greenwell Farms quality control efforts and the goal of producing the highest quality Kona coffee possible.

“As Hawaii continues to lead the US coffee growing industry, having cupping certification opportunities is important for the industry as a whole,” stated Tom Greenwell, proud husband and Greenwell Farm President. “With every Q Grader certification, expertise in industry knowledge grows and naturally branches out into the consumer market, making coffee drinkers ultimately more aware of the importance of high quality coffee in their cup.”

Avocado Thieves Caught Red Handed

Two men are being held on charges after being arrested for allegedly stealing avocados from an orchard in Puna.

In response to a 4:45 p.m. call Wednesday, Puna District officers learned that the owner of an orchard off Highway 132 in the Kapoho area had confronted two men and a woman in a pickup truck on his property after observing 80 pounds of avocados in the bed of the truck. The owner and a friend had blocked the truck and called the police.

Max Mattos

Max Mattos

The two men, 49-year-old Max Mattos of Keaʻau and 33-year-old Kawika Nobriga of Pāhoa, were arrested and charged with second-degree criminal trespass and second-degree theft. Their bail was set at $2,500 each.

Kawika Nobriga

Kawika Nobriga

The woman, 30-year-old Sabrina Jaeger of Pāhoa, was arrested on a bench warrant and charged with contempt of court. She was released after posting $300 bail.
Sabrina Jaeger
Mattos and Nobriga are being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending their initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday (August 25).

Sustaining Healthy Forested Watersheds For Hawaii’s Communities

As global climate change progresses, what will happen to Hawai‘i’s aquifers and the ecosystem services which healthy forest watersheds provide? Will we be able to meet our future fresh water needs for drinking and agriculture?

Watershed fence

A report just issued by the Hawai‘i Environmental Funders Group, “He Lono Moku: The State of the Environment,” says “Hawai‘i consumes water at almost double the national average, with residents and non-agricultural businesses using an average 144 gallons of water per day, or 4,320 gallons per month, due in part to the impact of 7 million tourists a year.” The report was issued in advance of the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress meeting in Honolulu, Sept. 1-10, and highlights the need to protect and more efficiently use our fresh water supply.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) manages a little more than one million acres of public land.  Approximately 900,000 acres fall within a Watershed Partnership boundary.

One way that DOFAW seeks to protect priority watersheds is by supporting Watershed Partnerships. These are voluntary alliances between public and private landowners who recognize that cooperating across landscapes and landowner boundaries is the most cost-effective way to maximize watershed protection.  Watershed Partnerships play an important role in protecting and preventing the loss of more native forest by: combating the main threats of ungulates (hooved animals such as goats, deer, sheep, pigs, cattle); controlling invasive species; and outplanting native forest species.

These management actions also benefit our coastal and coral reef areas by reducing erosion and sedimentation effects in streams and during heavy rains.

Watershed Partnerships help secure grant funding and in-kind services matching state dollars to achieve broad scale conservation goals. DLNR is currently going through its annual process of awarding $2.5 million in state funding to Watershed Partnerships and other groups engaged in watershed protection and management.

To formally recognize the state’s dedication to watershed protection, the Hawai‘i Association of Watershed Partnerships* (HAWP) was established in 2003 to build public and private support for watershed protection.  Division of Forestry and Wildlife Watershed Partnerships planner Katie Ersbak says, “Over the last 25 years they’ve grown to encompass 10 active partnerships across the state, covering about 2.2 million acres; roughly half the land in the entire state. These are areas that are the most critical for water recharge. They also have the highest percentage of biodiversity, unique flora and fauna, and rare and endangered plants.”

The Watershed Partnerships involve over 74 public and private landowners and partners. The benefits of collaborative management practiced under Watershed Partnerships are many:

  1. Cooperative management actions address large landscapes and threats affecting multiple habitats and species;
  2. Leverage available funding for maximum benefits and allow the pooling of resources as well as expertise to reduce redundancy efforts;
  3. Allow operational infrastructure to fill gaps and work on both public and private land
  4. Develop long-term relationships with communities and hire locally to help train the next generation of conservation leaders.

DLNR & YOU-Sustaining Healthy Forested Watersheds for Hawaii's Communities from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Restaurants at Taste of the Hawaiian Range – Rocky Mountain Oysters Served By…

The 21st Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is Friday, Sept. 9 at Hilton Waikoloa Village. Attendees will enjoy delectable dishes using pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices and beverages.
Taste 2016
Each year the restaurants change what cut of meat they will be preparing and every year the question comes up of which restaurant will be serving the Rocky Mountain Oysters (Cow Balls).

Rocky Mountain Oysters

This year the winning (or depending on how you take it… the losing) restaurant that gets to cook up the Oysters is: Mai Grille

Restaurant Meat Cut
12th Ave Grill Beef Tongue
Blue Dragon Kalua Pork
Cafe Pesto – Kawaihae Beef Cheek Meat
Daylight Mind – Waikoloa Beef Clod / Cross Rib
Earl’s Waimea Beef Heart
Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel Beef Tri Tip
Hawaii Community College – East Hawaii* Beef Tripe
Hawaii Community College – West Hawaii* Island Lamb
Highway Inn Beef Flap Meat
Hilton Waikoloa Village Beef Top Round
Honolulu Burger Co. Beef Bottom Round
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Beef Chuckroll
Ippy’s Hawaiian BBQ Feral Pork
Kohala Burger & Taco Island Lamb
Kuhio Grille Beef Bottom Round
Mai Grille Beef Mt. Oysters
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Island Goat
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows Beef Skirt Meat
Merriman’s Waimea Commercial Pork
Monstera Noodles & Sushi Bar Beef Chuckroll
Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill Beef Top Round
Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai Beef Eye Of Round
Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar Beef Oxtail
Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay Feral Pork
The Feeding Leaf Beef Flank
The Fish Hopper Ground Beef
Tiki’s Grill & Bar Beef Boneless Shortrib
Tommy Bahama Mauna Lani Restaurant & Bar Beef Top Sirloin
Tropics Ale House Beef Sirloin Tip
Noodle Club Waimea Beef Shank
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa Mutton
Waipio Cook House Beef Boneless Brisket
* Student stations: Hawai’i Community College (HawCC) in both Kona and Hilo

Early Bird Discounts Available for 26th Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference

The 26th Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference is September 30-October 7, starting at the Kauai Beach Resort and then traveling to Oahu, Molokai, Hilo and Kona for mini-conferences. All attendees registering before August 1 enjoy a discounted fee of $50; visit HTFG.org to register online with paypal; conference and membership forms can also be found on the website.

htfg 2016Geared to farmers, educators, orchard managers and proponents of sustainable agriculture, the eight-day event is presented by the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) and open to the public.

The conference is titled “Achieving Critical Mass” and offers a lineup of visiting researchers and agro experts sharing information and breakout sessions on a variety of topics. They include Dr. John Yonemoto on “Growing and Harvesting the Best Avocados!” and “Increasing Production,” Diane Ragone on “Ulu,” Robert Paull on “Harvest and Post-Harvest” and Peter Follett on “Market Access: Getting Fruit Approved and Shipped Out of State.”

HTFG Executive Director Ken Love says Kauai activities include USDA and NASS updates, a report and survey on specialty crops, Sunday tours with Scott Sloan of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, networking and fruit tasting.

Registration forms and fee schedule are available at www.HTFG.org or by contacting Love at kenlove@hawaiiantel.net or Mark Suiso at suiso@aloha.net.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers: Marking its 27th year, HTFG was incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii. It is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; www.HTFG.org.

Hawaii Coffee Association Hosts 21st Annual Conference and 8th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition

Coffee industry professionals from across the state assembled July 13-15 for the Hawaii Coffee Association’s (HCA) 21st Annual Conference and 8th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition at Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel located in the heart of the world-famous Kona Coffee Belt. A robust program of presenters included numerous state and federal researchers, regulators, agencies as well as an ample trade show.

Previous cupping winners Tommy and Beth Greenwell with Hawaii News Now’s Howard Dicus.

Cupping winners Tommy and Beth Greenwell with Hawaii News Now’s Howard Dicus.

Activities included tours of area farms and processing facilities, and an optical sorter demonstration. Workshops covered coffee brewing, cupping, processing for quality and social media training. Presenters from Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture, USDA, Hawaii Agricultural Research Center, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center and University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources were on hand to offer updates and answer questions. TV and radio personality Howard Dicus took the stage to share his witty commentary and predictions surrounding economic and other current trends.

In the cupping competition, 83 entries from growing districts located across the state competed for top honors in two categories: Creative and Commercial. Qualifying for the Commercial division means at least 1,000 lbs. of the coffee entered is available for sale.

Competing in the Creative division, the top-scoring coffee was produced by Greenwell Farms with their Pacamara varietal with a score of 84.8. The top scoring coffee in the Commercial division was a Margogype variety produced by Aloha Hills Kona Coffee LLC with a score of 83.4.

The highest scoring entries from other participating Hawaiian coffee origins also earned honors including Hawaii District’s Second Alarm Farm (84.2), Maui’s Olinda Farms (84.3), Ka’u District’s The Rising Sun (84.2), and Kauai’s Moloa’a Bay Coffee (83.1). Visit hawaiicoffeeassoc.org for a full list of qualifying entries and scores.

HCA’s cupping committee chair, David Gridley of Maui, said, “75 coffees scored 80 and above. It’s amazing how the coffees keep getting better and better. I congratulate all the coffee farmers of Hawai‘i for their remarkable efforts.”

Veteran cupper Shawn Hamilton noted an ongoing increase in scores. “It’s a great trend. There were so many great coffees [competing] it makes our job harder.” Fellow cupper Warren Muller added, “We’re really proud of all the great work the farmers are doing. It’s very exciting for us.”

Coffee cupping is a combination of art and science where coffees are evaluated and scored based on subtle characteristics including, flavor, aroma, ‘mouth-feel’, acidity, sweetness and aftertaste.

HCA membership gathered to elect their new board and officers. The new president is Chris Manfredi (Ka’u Farm & Ranch Co., LLC), vice president is Ralph Gaston (Isla Custom Coffees), treasurer is Adrian Guillen (Hawaiian Queen Coffee) and secretary is Gloria Biven (Royal Kona Visitor Center Mill & Museum).

The new board of directors features broad representation spanning a variety of business disciplines within the coffee industry including Big Island Coffee Roasters, Greenwell Farms, Heavenly Hawaiian Coffee, Hawaii Coffee Growers Association, Hula Daddy Kona Coffee, Ka’u Coffee Mill, Kauai Coffee Company LLC, Kona Coffee Council, Kona Mountain Coffee, Monarch Coffee and UCC-Hawaii.

Incoming President Manfredi shared, “I’m humbled and honored by the vote of confidence made by the members. I hope to fulfill their expectations by working hard to strengthen our industry and, by extension, the businesses, employees and families that depend on high quality Hawaiian coffees.”

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. The HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees.  A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. Its annual conference has continued to grow, gaining international attention.

Learn more about the HCA at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org

Learn more about the Hawaii coffee industry at hawaiicoffeeindustry.com

Mahiʻai Match-Up Selects Farming Finalists

Two finalists have been selected in the 2016 Mahiʻai Match-Up agricultural business plan contest dedicated to supporting Hawaiʻi’s sustainable food movement by cultivating local farmers and decreasing the state’s dependence on imports.

The contest is sponsored by Kamehameha Schools, the Pauahi Foundation, the Ulupono Initiative, “Hawaiʻi Farm and Food” Magazine and Hiʻilei Aloha.

Kaivao Farm team members Keone Chin, Angela Fa‘anunu, and Kalisi Mausio pay a visit to their Mahiʻai Match-Up land parcel in Pāhoehoe on Hawai‘i island. The team plans to cultivate cassava and ‘ulu at their farm and will include education and internship components in their program.

Kaivao Farm team members Keone Chin, Angela Fa‘anunu, and Kalisi Mausio pay a visit to their Mahiʻai Match-Up land parcel in Pāhoehoe on Hawai‘i island. The team plans to cultivate cassava and ‘ulu at their farm and will include education and internship components in their program.

This year’s Mahiʻai Match-Up finalists are Kaiaʻulu o Paʻalaʻa on Oʻahu and Kaivao Farm on Hawai‘i island.  Both finalists will receive an agricultural land agreement with up to five years of waived rent from Kamehameha Schools.

Farmer Rob Barreca is a proprietor of Counter Culture Foods, one of last year's Mahiʻai Match-Up winners. His North Shore business specializes in seed-to-countertop fermented food production.

Farmer Rob Barreca is a proprietor of Counter Culture Foods, one of last year’s Mahiʻai Match-Up winners. His North Shore business specializes in seed-to-countertop fermented food production.

Judges this year include Kāʻeo Duarte, vice president of Community Engagement and Resources for Kamehameha Schools; Kyle Datta, general partner for Ulupono Initiative; Martha Cheng, editor for “Hawaiʻi Farm and Food” magazine; Martha Ross, capacity-building manager for Hiʻilei Aloha; and Mark “Gooch” Noguchi, executive chef for the Pili Group.

In July, the finalists will have a chance to present their plans in front of the judging panel. Based on the quality of both the business plans and presentations, seed monies from the Pauahi Foundation will be awarded in the amounts of $20,000 and $15,000 for first and second place.

 Tickets and sponsorships for the July 30 Mahiʻai Match-Up Gala are available at www.pauahi.org.

Tickets and sponsorships for the July 30 Mahiʻai Match-Up Gala are available at www.pauahi.org.

Seed monies awarded help to make these winning business plans a reality and increase the probability of long-term, sustainable success.

“Mahiʻai Match-Up provides a venue for farmers and entrepreneurs to access some of our most valuable agricultural lands,” said Sydney Keliʻipuleʻole, senior director of Statewide Operations for Kamehameha Schools.

“The goal of Mahiʻai Match-Up directly aligns with our Agriculture Plan to help make Hawaiʻi more self-sufficient by increasing local food production.”

The Mahiʻai Mentorship
Working to help mahi (cultivate) new farmers and integrate education, culture, agriculture and sustainability, KS is providing more opportunities for aspiring farmers with the introduction of Mahiʻai Mentorship – created through a partnership between the schools and GoFarm Hawaiʻi, aimed at developing the next generation of farmers.

The The first- and second-place winners and mentees will be announced at the Mahiʻai Match-Up Gala on July 30.  Proceeds from the event go towards agricultural scholarships and grants. Anyone interested in attending the Gala or becoming a sponsor can get more information by visiting the Mahiʻai Match-Up website.  Sponsorship deadline is July 11.

Stinky Corpse Plant Getting Ready to Bloom on Oahu

Foster Botanical Garden is anticipating that for the fifth time this year a rare Amorphophallus titanum, also known as the “Corpse plant,” could bloom as early as Sunday, July 9, 2016.

Corpse Plant Stinky 2

Plant specialists, who are closely monitoring the bloom, say that the plant normally opens in the afternoon, is in full bloom that night and finishes the bloom two days later. The first 24 hours are the “smelliest,” when the stench of rotten flesh emitted by the flower is most pungent.

The endangered species native to Sumatra, Indonesia is a short-lived flower that only blooms once every two to five years. It is the largest unbranched inflorescence in the plant kingdom. Contributing to this plant’s exotic allure is the bloom’s strong stench, which serves to attract the carrion beetles that pollinate the flower.

In cultivation, the Amorphophallus titanum generally requires seven to 10 years of vegetative growth before blooming for the first time.

This particular plant was donated by local resident John Kawamoto and will be blooming for the second time after eight years of growth from seed.

The plants are at Foster Botanical Garden’s Orchid Conservatory, which is home to 10 mature specimens of the Corpse plant.

Contributing to this impressive public collection are other plant displays in the conservatory:

  • Leopard Orchids
  • Spider Orchids
  • Blood Lilies

Foster Botanical Garden is located at 50 North Vineyard Boulevard, and is the oldest of the city’s botanical gardens. The garden displays a mature and impressive collection of tropical plants. Some of the magnificent trees in this 14-acre garden were planted in the 1850s by Dr. William Hillebrand. The garden also includes a palm collection, the Lyon Orchid Garden, hybrid orchid display, the Prehistoric Glen, and a gift shop.

Cost for admission at Foster Garden is: $5.00 – general, 13 years and older; $3.00 – Hawai‘i resident 13 years and older with ID, $1.00 – Child 6 to 12 years old; free – Child 5 years old and under (must be with adult). Call 522-7066 for information.

Foster Botanical Garden is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily except for Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Please “Like” Foster Botanical Garden or Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Facebook (facebook.com/MayorKirk) or follow Mayor Caldwell on Twitter (@MayorKirkHNL), or call the Foster Botanical Garden Information Line at (808)768-7125, to find out when the Amorphophallus titanum blooms.

First in the World Orchid Maze Opening on the Big Island

Hawaii residents are invited to have an “orchid experience” at a first-in-the-world Orchid Maze, the highlight of a special Grand Opening / Kamaaina Weekend at the Akatsuka Orchid Gardens set for Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day.

Akatsuka Orchid Gardens

The unique, 8,000-square-foot orchid maze allows visitors to follow a variety of paths through more than five hundred blooming, colorful and fragrant orchids on a self-guided tour featuring educational exhibits, tips, growing instructions and interactive video kiosks.

There is a $3 admission charge to the maze, which includes an orchid planting with a plant that can be taken home plus a sampling of the Gardens original poha ice cream.  The maze is enclosed and completely covered so it is open irrespective of the weather.

The orchid maze is the creation of company vice-president Takeshi Akatsuka, who took over this year as general manager of the Gardens from his father and founder Moriyasu Akatsuka.   The special kamaaina weekend event marks 42 years in business for the Gardens, which now has the largest collection of orchids and tropical plants, including bromeliads and anthuriums, in Hawaii.

Among the many varieties of orchids are the more well-known Cattleya, Phalaenopsis, Odontoglossum, Dendrobium, Oncidium, Miltonia and Vanda species.   There are as many as 2,000 other varieties, which are the result of 20 years of continuous hybridization by Moriyasu Akatsuka, who originally learned his skills while working in his homeland of Japan.

One of the orchids displayed is a rare Paphiopedilum variety, which Moriyasu brought from its natural habitat in Thailand and is valued at $20,000.   Called the “Volcano Queen”, this rare specimen can be seen only during the months April to July annually.

In addition to the orchid maze, the Gardens offers a one-hour Greenhouse Tour every Wednesday and Friday at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for individuals, large groups and private tours.   The Gardens also has a special “photo-op” area, a mini Zen garden, a bamboo orchid wall, and a large gift shop.   All Akatsuka’s orchids are qualified for U.S. Mainland travel as well as shipping to all 50 United States and territories.

In addition to its special Grand Opening / Kamaaina weekend, the Gardens will also hold a special orchid “Sidewalk Sale” on Saturday, July 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.   Buyers may purchase a pre-priced box and fill the box with as many plants as it can hold.

Akatsuka Orchid Gardens is located on the Big Island of Hawaii on Hwy. 11 in Volcano between mile markers 22 and 23, and open daily, with the exception of holidays, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

“I think children and adults of all ages will find the orchid maze to be a really fun and unusual experience for all the senses,” said Takeshi Akatsuka.

Commentary – Congressional Candidate on “Green Harvest”

As a Hawaiian nationalist candidate for U.S. Congress (HI-2, Neighbor Islands, Suburban Oahu) I find it to be highly disturbing that the will of the voters of Hawai’i County (Big Island) was illegally usurped by the Hawai’i Supreme Court, when they knocked down the lowest law enforcement priority ordinance passed by Hawai’i County voters, with the purpose of nearly eliminating personal pot busts by law enforcement on the island.

Policing in Hawai’i County (Big Island) is operating without the consent of the governed. The occupying force of the United States, with federally funded choppers spying over our private homes, continues to intrude upon our lives with “Operation Green Harvest”. They brainwash our school children through DARE to become spies on their own parent’s herbs.

I urge citizens to make YouTube videos of the choppers over their homes so the world can see what the military occupation of Hawaii by the United States and harassment of citizens by the imperialist U.S. police forces looks like.

Until the time that the criminal justice system of Hawai’i County is entirely devolved and controlled by the working-class people of the island, we are living under an illegitimate U.S. occupying police force that local citizens should not cooperate with.

If elected to Congress, one of my first tasks will be to defund Operation Green Harvest and to reallocate the funds to support Native Hawaiian cultural and education programs.

The US has no right to remain in Hawai’i, and never has had such a right. No more choppers!

Rev. Dr. Eric Hafner
Candidate for U.S. Congresss (HI-2)

Farm to School Initiative Asks Farmers to Submit Bids

The Farm to School Initiative is seeking qualified farmers and vendors to submit bids to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to various Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) schools statewide.  Local farmers are encouraged to submit their bids by July 13.  The invitation for bids (IFB) can be found at http://spo3.hawaii.gov/notices/notices/ifb-d17-005.

Farm to foodSpearheaded by Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, the HIDOE and Department of Agriculture are working collaboratively on the Initiative.  The goal is to address the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for our school cafeterias.  The Initiative also aims to systematically increase State purchasing of local food for our school menus as well as connect our keiki with their food through the use of products from the local agricultural community.

“With Hawaii importing about 85 percent of our food, the Farm to School Initiative is one way we are working towards becoming food sustainable in our state,” said Lt. Governor Tsutsui.  “While supporting local farmers and our economy, we are also feeding our students with locally-grown fresh fruit and vegetables.”

HIDOE has 256 public schools and its School Food Services Branch feeds approximately 100,000 students and staff each day.

“We’ve made it a priority to purchase local produce, however, our options have been limited,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are hopeful that this initiative will allow for more locally-based products to be used in our schools’ food services while keeping costs reasonable.”

“We encourage local farmers to participate in this program,” said Scott Enright, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “One of the challenges farmers face is the uncertainty of supply and demand and this program will help farmers plan and grow their crops with the knowledge that there will be a market for their produce.  In addition, keiki will be able to grow up with an appreciation of locally grown fruits and vegetables.”

Across the nation, farm to school programs are reconnecting students to a better understanding of the food system and where their food comes from.  Farm to school programs introduce students to healthier eating habits and help them become familiar with new vegetables and fruits that they and their families will then be more willing to incorporate into their own diets.

In April, the Farm to School Initiative gathered information from farmers and ranchers as well as hosted a mixer to inform them on how to become a qualified vendor with the State.  Those events, including the IFB, culminates with the Farm to School Initiative Pilot Project, which is expected to begin in 2017.

Hawaii Department of Health Release Names, Scores and Rankings of ALL Applicants for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today released the scores and ranking of the applicants for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses.

Honolulu Applicants

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The list of applicants and their respective scores and ranking are posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/latest-updates-and-news/.

Hawaii Applicants

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A total of 66 applications for eight dispensary licenses were reviewed, evaluated, and scored (based on 13 merit criteria) by four members of a selection panel. Each application could receive a maximum of 520 points (10 points maximum could be awarded for each merit criterion by each of four individual panelists).

Kauai Applicants

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All applicants were required to submit documentation to prove compliance with the statutory and administrative requirements for both individual applicants and applying entities.

Maui Applicants

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“To meet the ambitious and expedited time schedule for the selection process and given the large number of applications to review, the vetting process was conducted concurrently with the scoring of the applications,” said Keith Ridley, Chief of the DOH Office of Health Care Assurance.

While all applications were scored, 12 applicants who did not submit the requisite documentation or whose documentation did not establish compliance with the requirements were not ranked in the final compilation of scores.

Non Applicants

Unselected applicants

DOH notified all unselected applicants by certified mail this week prior to the posting of the applicants’ scores. To help ensure the medical marijuana dispensary program can be available for patients, DOH has been working on other requirements for the programs implementation.

The department is continuing work with Bio Track THC to establish the web-based seed-to-sale computer tracking system for dispensaries.

The DOH State Laboratories Division has established a certification process for medical marijuana testing facilities and applications are available at http://health.hawaii.gov/statelab/.

“It’s an exciting time, launching this new industry in Hawaii,” said Margaret Leong, supervisor of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program. “So far, the licensing staff have met in person with seven of the licensees and the discussions have been really productive and beneficial to all of us. The licensees have generously shared their knowledge of the industry gained through the application process, and we’ve been able to provide more specific guidance to ensure that their facilities conduct operations in compliance with all state requirements to be able to open their dispensaries in a timely manner.”

Additional information about the medical marijuana dispensary program and the registry program is available at health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana.