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Low-Income Populations Fare Best in Hawaii – Performance of State Health System is Among the Nation’s Best

Hawaii ranks best in the nation according to The Commonwealth Fund Scorecard on State Health System Performance for Low-Income Populations, 2013, a national scorecard that analyzed 30 indicators within four dimensions.  Hawaii ranks in the top quartile for three of four system dimensions – Access to Affordability, Potentially Avoidable Hospital Use, and Healthy Lives.  Hawaii ranks in the second quartile for the fourth indicator, Prevention and Treatment.  There are currently 292,000 individuals enrolled in Hawaii Med-QUEST programs, which are administered through the Department of Human Services (DHS).

Click to see how other states rank

Click to see how other states rank

“This 2013 Commonwealth Fund scorecard demonstrates that Hawaii is on the right track to improving access to affordable health care, and the state Med-QUEST Division is leading the way,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who has made healthcare transformation a top priority of his administration. “Our healthcare system supports the optimum health of all state residents by providing a seamless, integrated and comprehensive healthcare system. This approach consistently demonstrates high-quality care, and a commitment to cost-effectiveness.  It also enhances the patient experience and engages patients in their own healthcare decisions.”

For low-income populations whose standard of living is 200 percent of the federal poverty level, Hawaii reported the second lowest percentage of uninsured adults, the second lowest percentage of uninsured children, and the lowest percentage of adults who went without health care in the past year due to cost.  Hawaii also is ranked first for the lowest rate of potentially avoidable hospital use and second for the lowest rate of potentially avoidable emergency department visits for low-income Medicare beneficiaries, and first for the lowest rate of poor health related quality of life for low-income adults 18-64 years old.

“It’s the prevention component that makes the difference,” said DHS Director, Patricia McManaman.  “When vulnerable individuals have access to affordable and reliable medical services, they are more likely to visit their doctor on a regular basis.  The Commonwealth Fund scorecard reflects the commitment of our healthcare providers to our community.”

While Hawaii is ranked the top state, there is room for improvement.  Hawaii ranked below average on four indicators – older adult preventive care, surgical care to prevent complications, hospital 30-day mortality, and hospital discharge instructions for home recovery.  Because the report is generally based on 2010 and 2011 data, these areas may have since improved.  No states ranked in the top quartile or even top half of the range for all 30 indicators.

To improve the overall health and economic well-being of low-income populations, states must invest in the health of their most vulnerable populations. Healthier adults are less expensive for taxpayers, and have greater workforce productivity.  Healthier children are more likely to succeed in school and participate in the future workforce. A healthy population is thus instrumental in maintaining strong local and state economies, as well as the nation’s economic health and well-being.

To read the complete 2013 Commonwealth Fund Scorecard visit http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Publications/Fund-Reports/2013/Sep/Low-Income-Scorecard.aspx

Ingredients Hawaii (The Trailer)

Hawaii’s food communities are a growing inspiration to reclaim culture, human health & environmental sustainability in surprising ways.

“Ingredients Hawaii” takes viewers on a sensational tour through the exotic islands in a first class seat through the agricultural revolution of one of our country’s most beautiful places.
[youtube=http://youtu.be/ahj0f58VUyc]
Release date: 12/11

Get Fit Hawaii Looking for Team Leaders

Five Mountains Hawai’i’s popular 10-week, team-based, free healthy lifestyle challenge returns for its fifth year with an expanded, island-wide program thanks to sponsorship from the Hawai’i Island Beacon Communities HEAL project and business partners.

Participants are encouraged to gather their friends, co-workers, and family to form teams of 4-10 people, then take the Get Fit Hawai’i challenge! Up to 500 participants will receive free health screenings, set personal goals, enjoy weekly challenges, get access to fitness activities/classes, receive great tips from local health professionals, be eligible to win prizes, receive Get Fit Hawai’i newsletters and online resources (e.g. webinars, healthy recipes, and food/activity trackers), and more! Participant registration begins on August 1st, with priority given to teams with registered leaders.
TEAM LEADER registrations are now being accepted (visit our website). One member of each team should attend a FREE training (healthy snacks provided) and two may attend as co-leaders. Leaders will receive valuable additional resources, program information, coaching, and gifts. Select from the Team Leaders Training Sessions listed below when you register:
  • Waimea: August 18
  • Kona: August 25
  • Hilo: August 25
If you intend to be a Team Leader but are unable to attend any of the Training Sessions above or if you have questions, please call Aileen or Ann at 887-1281.
For more information or to register online, visit www.getfithawaii.org or call 887-1281.

Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Program Launches with 17 Projects

Health & Wellness Movement Kicks Off in Communities Hawai‘i Across Island

The Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community (HIBC) has selected 17 community-based projects for its Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Program aiming to effect positive changes in people’s eating, physical activity and tobacco use habits. Supported by approximately $300,000 of HIBC’s federal funding, the HEAL Projects will run through February 2013 and directly reach over 15,000 Hawai‘i Island residents in all regions, of all ages, from diverse ethnic groups—including those most at risk.

“We received numerous applications for the HEAL Program from all communities, demonstrating that the people of Hawai‘i Island are ready to make healthy living a priority,” said Susan B. Hunt, MHA, project director and CEO of HIBC. “We are proud to support 17 HEAL Projects that will deliver innovative, targeted outreach into the communities where it is needed most. As HIBC witnesses and supports the growth of a movement to improve health and health care, we hope to catalyze even greater synergy among organizations and advance the development of long-term solutions.”

The HEAL Program kicks off with a mandatory health literacy training day on March 15, 2012 for the leaders from all HEAL Projects. Throughout the year, updates and testimonials will be posted at hibeacon.org/.

“The vision for the HEAL Projects is that they will build momentum and be impactful because they have been specifically developed by population and geography,” said Jessica Yamamoto, community engagement manager for HIBC. “They are run by organizations and staff who are themselves a part of their community and have a deep understanding of that community’s needs.”

The 17 HEAL Projects are:

  • Big Island Babes Junior Roller Derby, Paradise Roller Girls Introduction to roller derby with safety equipment provided
  • Building a Garden and Doing Physical Activities to Improve Healthy Eating and Physical Fitness Hawai‘i County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) Six-week summer program for students in grades 3-6 and their families
  • Eat-Think-Grow: Nutritional Education for School Garden Teachers on Hawai‘i Island, The Kohala Center, Inc. Workshops and courses for teachers, education events and food festivals
  • Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Office-Based Strategies for Prevention and Intervention, Children’s Research Triangle, Education and prevention campaign to reduce tobacco smoking in families
  • Get Fit Hawai‘i 2012, Five Mountains Hawai‘i, Ten-week, team-based Take It Off Hawaii program modified for teens
  • Hana Ka Lima, Social Sciences Department at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Seminars, classes, workshops, tours and fitness activities for at-risk and low income teens from the Hilo High School, Lanakila Learning Center
  • Healthy Families/Healthy Children, Neighborhood Place of Puna, Education, home visits and hands-on projects to prevent child abuse/neglect and encourage healthy eating
  • The HHDC Healthy Abundance Project, Hilo-Hamakua Development Corporation (HHDC) Community education to facilitate local food production
  • Huli Ka Lima Ilalo, Kū I Ka Pono, After-school gardening program for students and their families
  • Ka ‘Ohana Mahi‘ai, Maku‘u Farmers Association, Workshops to increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption by families in the Maku‘u Homestead area of Puna
  • Keeping Keiki Kicking, Kaho‘omiki, Program to increase the physical activity of elementary school students
  • Mahi A ‘Ai Cultivate Health and Wellness Project, Mahi A ‘Ai, LLC, Ten-week, hands-on course to teach at-risk teens how to grow and cook healthy food while incorporating more exercise into their lives
  • Marshallese Mobile Screening Clinic (MMSC), College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Health screenings, health education and access to affordable health care for Marshallese families, adults and youth
  • Mothers on the Move (MOM), Family Support Hawai‘i, Program to promote appropriate physical activity for low-income pregnant and new mothers and their young children
  • Volunteer Counseling and Health Screenings, National Community Pharmacists Association, (NCPA) Student Chapter at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Free counseling on diet/lifestyle changes and health screenings provided by student pharmacists for community members to better manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia
  • Sowing Seeds, Na‘alehu Elementary School, Hands-on projects, gardening and other activities to teach elementary school students the skills and judgment to make healthier eating choices
  • What About Tobacco (WAT) Youth Prevention Project, Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai‘i, Certified course to teach fourth grade students the risks of tobacco

Bay Clinic Welcomes New Chief Financial Officer

Media Release:

Rising unemployment and a struggling economy on Hawai‘i Island means Bay Clinic, who provides comprehensive health care to all regardless of ability to pay, has seen a dramatic rise in demand for services at their 7 health center sites. To meet the needs of the 18,000 patients they serve, Bay Clinic is developing a strong foundation of leadership to ensure that the health care infrastructure for the medically underserved remains viable.

As a result, Bay Clinic has hired and welcomes a new Chief Financial Officer, Keith Sanderson, to help grow Bay Clinic’s financial position to meet the ever changing health care needs of the community.  Mr. Sanderson brings a wealth of experience to the position, including 25 years of accounting and financial organizational leadership in the health care field. When asked about his relocation to Hawai‘i, Keith says “It was the culture and enchanting, passionate, soulful people that I met that captured my heart.”

In the past several years, Bay Clinic has made tremendous progress in reducing health care disparities including access to dental care, children’s health, and chronic disease management. “In order to respond to our patient’s needs, Keith will add the valuable skills and expertise that will help us continue our progress in meeting our mission of affordable, high quality care for all” stated Paul Strauss, Bay Clinic CEO.

Bay Clinic was founded in 1983 as a grass-roots health care clinic and has grown to be one of the largest comprehensive health care providers on Hawai‘i. As a nonprofit agency, Bay Clinic depends on private donations and grants to continue providing healthcare on a sliding fee scale for low income, uninsured families. For more information please visit www.bayclinic.org.

I Got in a Wreck! Another Reason Why Senior Citizens Shouldn’t Be Driving

So less then five minutes after I passed this wreck on Highway 130… I got in a little fender bender myself!

I’m a firm believer that many senior citizens should not be driving on the roads and today I affirmed my belief when a senior citizen banged into my car today.

I was asked to move my car closer to the Pahoa Post Office back door to retrieve packages and as I was just almost around the corner… this older gentlemen between at least 70 and 90 years old started to back up.

I honked my horn several times trying to let “uncle” know that he was about to bang me and there was no place I could turn to avoid him and the next thing I know… I see him backing straight into my bumper!

I felt kind of sad for the gentlemen as I know he didn’t do it on purpose.  It doesn’t help that the gentleman had a handicap sticker to park in the handicap stall… HOWEVER, the STALL wasn’t available because it was being re-striped… AGAIN so he was parked illegally in a place that didn’t give him very good visibility when he was backing out as it was.

I’m just fortunate the gentleman had insurance and everything will be taken care of and thankfully no one got  injured.

But still yet… Senior Citizens should be tested every year for hearing, sight and DRIVING ABILITY.  Heck in some cases… some seniors should be tested every month!

With the new design of the parking lot at the Pahoa Post Office and the increased traffic along that road… I’m sure I’m not the last person that will be getting into a fender bender there.

Better Then Hot Tea

The other day I mentioned about the critters running around in my stomach.

I forgot to mention how I got rid of them.

I’ve always been a big believer in Gatorade.  So instead of trying hot tea and honey… I thought I’d try some “Hot Gatorade” with the powder dilluted much more so that it wasn’t quite as sweet as normal Gatorade.

I have found my new trick!  A picture is worth a thousand words:

Better Then Hot Tea

Better Then Hot Tea

Taro Production Up 10%

The National Agricultural Statistics Service said Hawaii farmers produced 4.4 million pounds of taro in 2008. That’s a 10 percent increase over the 4 million pounds of the traditional island staple and poi base that was cultivated in 2007…

…The service said the total value of Hawaii’s taro crop rose 16 percent in 2008 to $2.7 million…

…The number of taro farms remained unchanged last year at 105. But taro acreage increased by 10 acres to 390 acres…

More Here

Big Island Kalo Farmer Jerry Konanui

Big Island Kalo Farmer Jerry Konanui

“When Pigs Fly”… To Hawaii

Looks like PETA is stepping up their war against pork again.

About nine months  ago, before I had a blog,  I reported on another site that PETA was launching a campaign against pork being shipped to Hawaii and some of the inhumane practices that were being done.

In a Press Release released today by The World Society for the Protection of Animals, it states the following:

Misleading labels on pork products are causing Hawaii residents and tourists to unwittingly participate in inhumane practices against animals

Stressed and exhausted from overcrowded and often filthy conditions, thousands of pigs endure a more than week-long journey from the mainland United States only to be slaughtered on arrival in Honolulu. In 2008, a total of 13,082 pigs were imported from California, Iowa, Montana and South Dakota for slaughter. The purpose of this inhumane and costly practice is to produce meat that can be sold to unsuspecting consumers as “Island Produced Pork.

I myself think this is just a re-release of another similar press release that was released earlier this year.

Many local media sources picked up the story after I first reported on it before I started my blog.

Here is just one of the previous articles on it by Honolulu Magazine:

Stephen Schildbach

Illustration: Stephen Schildbach

Next time you buy pork at the supermarket with the label “Island produced” you may want to know what that actually means.

In 1973, the state Department of Agriculture declared that this phrase could only be placed on pork that came from pigs actually raised in Hawaii. But in 2000, the law was repealed due to its unenforceability, which made it legal for supermarkets and retailers to place “Island produced” on pigs that had only been shipped to the Islands and slaughtered here…

More here


VOG Legislation: Rep. Souki… “This is a Natural Disaster, and No One’s in Charge.”

Hat tip to Georgette Deemer over at the Hawaii House Blog for blogging about the recent VOG hearings at the capital which obviously affect us all.

Deemer blogs “Who’s in Charge?“:

Six House committees met jointly this morning to hear VOG related bills in order to make it easier for testifiers from the various state/county agencies and the public. Rep. Robert Herkes coordinated the hearing, as chair of the House Special Committee on VOG Effects…
…At the end of the hearing, Rep. Herkes summed it up by saying that Rep. Souki hit the nail on the head when he concluded that “This is a natural disaster, and no one’s in charge.” Rep. Herkes has and continues to be frustrated by a lack of response from certain state agencies in addressing the immediate problems faced by the people on the Big Island…
…Although the state administration has established an Interagency Task Force on Vog, Rep. Herkes exclaimed that the task force has no chair and has only met twice. Rep. Souki added, “Meanwhile, the whole island is going to pot.”

Full Blog here

The other day, I posted our own District 5 Councilwoman’s testimony that she submitted to the legislature. You can view that interesting piece of testimony here.

Deemer also lists the following “VOG Package” that is before the legislature this year:

HB313 RELATING TO HIGHWAYS. This bill requires the Department of Transportation to conduct more reviews of the highway guardrails on the Big Island, as they are deteriorating from exposure to acid rain caused by VOG.

HB318 RELATING TO VOG. This bill requires the Department of Agriculture to work with the University of Hawaii to determine the best methods of VOG treatment and to research VOG-resistant varieties of plants.

HB316 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE. This bill establishes a temporary reimbursement program for tenants of state agricultural lands in VOG-impacted areas in order to reimburse tenants for costs of reapir and maintenance of fencing and other infrastructure.

HB312 RELATING TO HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES. This bill directs the Department of Defense to develop and implement a program to ensure that an adequate number of monitors are in place throughout the state where high VOG and sulfur dioxide incidences are known to occur.

HB317 RELATING TO MOBILE MEDICAL CARE. This bill authorizes the use of the federal Homeland Security Grant Program funds for mobile emergency and clinical medical care for the people in the southern sections of the Big Island.

HB314 RELATING TO WORKERS’ COMPENSATION. This bill requires the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to develop rules for workers’ compensation claims involving VOG-related medical conditions.

HB315 RELATING TO VOLCANIC EMISSIONS. This bill requires the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to establish standards to promote worker safety during high incidences of VOG or sulfur dioxide.

Deemer concludes, “As the Labor Committee had a quorum, they passed HB314 as is, and passed HB315 with amendments. The other bills were deferred for decision making next week.”

Farmers Market Online… What Do You Think?

Inspired by my sickness today and my fondness for the Farmers Market in Makuu that I like to go to but am not today because I’m too sick, I was thinking it would be cool if there was a way to access some of these products that are sold at the market online.

If I went to the Farmers Market and took pictures of booths along with contact numbers or emails of the vendors and then set up a page on the top of my site that was just devoted to Farmers market items… do you think that would work at all?

Vendors pay $15.00 a week to have their products displayed for about 6-8 hours or so.

If I charged a vendor $5.00 a month to have their goods displayed and a contact to reach them 24 hours a day 7 days a week… I think that would be a good deal.

I need some feedback on this idea before I proceed.  Comments?

It wouldn’t just be delegated to Maku’u Farmers Market either… I could go to various farmers markets throughout the entire island.

The only proceeds I would get is that initial $5.00 per month.  All other sales would go directly to the vendors and all payments would be done in person at time of the product exchange.

Sunday Silly

Or should I just say… I’m too damn sick to even think of funny stuff right now.

Didn’t even jump on the computer much yesterday… feeling kind of down still.

soarthroat

33 Confirmed Rat Lungworm Cases Since 2001

The Honolulu Advertiser has an excellent article on the recent epidemic here on the Big Island:

The rat lungworm disease that put two Big Island residents into comas is bringing attention to an illness confirmed in 33 reported cases in Hawai’i since 2001…

Graham McCumber, 24, and Silka Strauch, 38, are both in a Big Island hospital, comatose for weeks after contracting rat lungworm disease.

Graham McCumber, 24, and Silka Strauch, 38, are both in a Big Island hospital, comatose for weeks after contracting rat lungworm disease.

The state Health Department knows of 33 cases from 2001 to now. But state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said it is not known how many people have suffered through a milder form of the disease. Total reported Hawai’i cases before 2000 weren’t available late last week.

Symptoms can range from headache, joint pain and other symptoms that resolve on their own, to blindness, nerve damage and death.

Slugs and snails in Hawai’i are known to carry the rat lung-worm, a nematode named because it hatches in the lungs of rats. From there, the larvae pass through rat feces to slugs, snails or other mollusks. People who ingest snails or slugs that contain the parasite can get a rare form of meningitis — infection of the spinal fluid.

More Here

Councilwoman Naeole’s Testimony on Vog Bill

I received an email copy of the Testimony that Councilwoman Naeole sent in to the Legislature regarding HB312.

HB312
RELATING TO HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES.
Vog; Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring
Directs the Department of Defense to develop and implement a program to ensure that an adequate number of monitors to detect sulfur dioxide are strategically placed throughout areas of the state where high incidences of vog, sulfur dioxide, or both occur.

——————————————

February 7, 2009

Council Member Emily Naeole District 5 Puna

TESTIMONY ON HAWAII HOUSE BILLS 312-318

I have before me, House Bills 312-318 relating to vog and sulphur dioxide that covers highway guardrail replacement, workers safety and compensation and agrarian concerns but is shockingly silent on resident safety, aid and compensation.

Where is the legislation to bring aid and relief to the people of Puna?  Residents on coastal Red Road, the Kalapana-Kapoho Road are closest of all communities to the ocean plumes. During Kona, interchangeable winds, or no-wind conditions, the vog can be intolerable during higher emission periods. also it has been noted that the vog has a tendency to linger in corridors of Highway 130 near the Maku’u Hawaiian Homestead. One can see and smell it.

To make matters worse, on Sunday, 2/01/09, the Hawaii Herald-Tribune, published the latest report from the Hawai’i volcanic Observatory, (HVO), informing us that another deadly ingredient has been added to the vog: Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S), a broad spectrum poison that can poison several different systems in the body, although the nervous system is most affected. The toxicity of H2S is comparable with that of hydrogen cyanide.

In order for this act to be complete I believe that the monitors should monitor H2s emissions too.

We have had a very rough time in the Kehena area in December and January. Everyone I know in Seaview is suffering ill effects of one degree or another. We have had two deaths and much illness in this small neighborhood in the first two months of this year.

According to the Pahoa Fire Chief all procedures come through Civil Defense. At this time the fire station in Pahoa uses the SO2 monitoring device only when “it looks” voggy at the fire station. The fire chief then, and only then, sends out someone to take SO2 readings at C.D. authorized sites. Everyone knows looks can be deceiving when we are talking about poisons in parts per million terms. It should not be left to people at the fire station to guesstimate for an entire district.

This is totally unacceptable. Sometimes the vog is thick in Pahoa but it is very light in the Kehena area, and visa-a-versa. At this time of heavy volcanic emissions, SO2 readings should be taken several times a day in all locations.

Nowhere in Puna Makai is there any place to evacuate to. Emergency shelters can be created quickly by converting designated schools and community center areas to airtight rooms with vinyl velcro windows and portable air filter and air conditioning machines.
Funding is available through FEMA and Homeland Security Grant programs.

The cocoanut wireless is saying that Hawaii is the next Katrina. Is this life threatening situation being allowed to escalate in order to create enough panic to justify the evacuation of the whole island that will then could be turned over to the military/industrial complex? I ask you to consider this testimony when discussing the solution to this problem and very important Act.

I ask that the Legislature take serious thought to include Lower Puna in all of these bills.

Lau lima,
Emily I. Naeole

EIN/rh

Tomorrow: Department of Parks and Recreation Announces Track Meets

Media Release

The Dept. of Parks and Recreation has scheduled its 2009 Track & Field program for
February 7 & 21, 2009, at both East and West Hawaii sites simultaneously. The
Konawaena High School Track Oval will be utilized for the West Hawaii meets, while
the site for the East Hawaii meets will be at the Keaau High School Track Oval.
February 7, 2009, will be for the Age Group Track and Field meet. February 21, 2009, will be the All Comers Track and Field meet. The exponent meet will not be used this year.
1. Participants will be limited to 3 events, one of which shall be a field event. Relays
are included in the events. Be sure chosen events are listed in participants
division. Any participant competing in excess of three events will automatically
be disqualified from those events.
2. Once again only registered coaches and athletes of individual events will be
allowed on the track once the meet begins. Coaches will be given passes to enter
the oval. Passes must be turned in once the meet is over. 5 passes maximum. 2
coaches per event.
Enclosed in packet are:
1. Entry forms for girls and boys for the Age Group and All Comers Meets.
2. Waiver forms, which can be duplicated, for each participant.
3. Reminders.
For more information please call Mason Souza at 961-8735 ext. 25, or email at
msouza@co.hawaii.hi.us
Packets can be accessed by going on-line: http://co.hawaii.hi.us/parks/recreation.htm


YOUTH TRACK AND FIELD
The Department of Parks and Recreation will be hosting its annual track and field meets for youngsters 6 through 14 years of age. The schedule is as follows:
Age Group Track & Field meet
Dates: Saturday, February 7, 2009
Sites: West Hawaii – Konawaena High School track oval
East Hawaii – Keaau High School track oval
All Comers Track & Field meet
Dates: Saturday, February 21, 2009
Sites: West Hawaii – Konawaena High School track oval
East Hawaii – Keaau High School track oval
Time for both meets:
9:00 am – Start of field events
10:30 am – Approximate starting time for track events. Track & field
events will run simultaneously.
All students should check with their school first to see if a track program is offered.

For More Information,  Sign Ups and Coaches Meeting information click here.

The Real Reason Sumo Wrestlers Get So Big

I knew there had to be a way these guys got “Hungry”:

Sumo wrestlers with pot bellies, yes. Sumo wrestlers with pot? Now that’s harder to grapple with.

In the past six months, four wrestlers have been kicked out of the ancient sport for allegedly smoking marijuana, creating the biggest drugs-in-sports scandal that Japan has ever seen…

…Sumo aficionados like to note that former grand champion Musashimaru, of Hawaii, had a 10 p.m. curfew…

Musashimaru

Musashimaru

…But that is changing…

More here

Richard Ha Goes National… And a Few Rebroadcasts From the Past

Big Island farmer Richard Ha, of Hamakua Farms, is going to be on the season opener for PBS’s national show  “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” which will be aired Saturday, February 7th, at noon on PBS Hawaii.

Leslie Wilcox reminds us that tonight, Richard will be on a re-broadcast of Hawaii’s Long Story Short w/ Leslie Wilcox tonight at 11:00 pm as well as on Sunday, February 8th at 4:00 pm on PBS Hawaii.

…Richard Ha isn’t your average farmer. He’s been called a visionary farmer. An innovative small business owner, Ha offers his employees profit sharing, has found a way to generate electricity on his property outside of Hilo, initiated an adopt-a-class program at Keaukaha Elementary School, advocates native Hawaiian practices of ahupua‘a and writes a blog on his website

For more on Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, click here.

You may have seen this commercial on TV before:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_tngClYO4s&hl=en&fs=1]

Foodland to Begin Selling Island Dairy Milk

Island Dairy, one of the two remaining dairies in Hawaii, now is selling its milk at Foodland stores. The Big Island dairy will distribute whole, low-fat and fat-free milk under the label, Hawaii’s Fresh Milk…

The company, which uses solar power and grows its own feed, is trying to become sustainable as well as produce enough milk for the entire state

More here

For more on Island Dairy and how they do their farming check out this interesting article.

Hawaii Agencies Launch Food Safety Program

The State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Farm Bureau have partnered for a three-year pilot RFID program designed to promote food safety by enabling product visibility throughout the supply chain. The Hawaii Produce Traceability initiative uses RFID technology to track fresh produce down to the farm, or even field, level.

The initiative, the first of its kind in the U.S., offers a win-win situation for consumers and participating growers. When a food safety issue arises, product recalls can be enacted within an hour. With traceability down to the field level, growers can localize the impact of a recall to the relevant area, minimizing losses.


Beyond improving food safety, growers, who can participate by either slap-and-ship tagging or usage of a hand-held RFID system, can reap a bounty of other benefits from the program. Gathered data can be used to optimize harvest productivity, strengthen food processing controls, increase cold chain visibility, reduce produce dwell time on shipping and receiving docks, accelerate transportation times between trading partners and improve inventory turns; all this can help increase profit margins in a competitive industry.

Lowry Computer Products developed the first phase of the system, which includes hardware from Motorola and Symbol Technologies, software from Globe Ranger, and UPM Raflatac RFID inlays paired with waterproof labels. Lowry’s own Fresh Harvest tracking solution unifies these components, providing real-time supply chain data including when boxed produce is planted and harvested, what pesticides are used, and when and where RFID-tagged boxes are scanned. All this information is automatically uploaded into a database accessible to both program participants and, via the initiative’s web portal, the general public.

State officials are now planning for the next two phases of the initiative. Enhancements may include RFID-enabled cellphones to enable more farms to participate, and implementing produce temperature tracking to reduce the threat of food spoilage. The program may eventually be expand to cover 5,000 Hawaiian farms.

Funding for the pilot program was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii, the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program, and the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation.

“The Ledge” Pt. 3: Relating to Taro Security and GMO

My father-in-law is one of the people spearheading this Taro Bill.  I’m not going to get into the debate here about GMO, but I just thought I’d pass along the information about the bill.

“Uncle (dad) shares a little about his life and connection with Kalo.
This video was made to encourage input from the public on House Bill 1663
prohibiting genetically modified taro.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COajohsV4hA&hl=en&fs=1]

HB1663
RELATING TO TARO SECURITY.
Genetically Modified Taro; Prohibition
Prohibits the development, testing, propagation, release, importation, planting, or growing of genetically modified taro in the State of Hawaii.