A Project of Maui Tomorrow
Maui Tomorrow Releases Mālama ‘Āina Report to Start Conversation About Maui’s Farming Future
Invites Public and Business Leaders to Discuss a Range of Ideas That Create More Jobs while Providing Environmentally Responsible Stewardship of Land, Water and Public Health
Wailuku, HI, April 11, 2016. The Maui Tomorrow Foundation, an environmental advocacy organization that has been a persuasive voice for responsible planning decisions for 26 years, recently released the report, Mālama ‘Āina: A Conversation About Maui’s Farming Future. The report, by Permaculture Design International LLC, can be downloaded here, or on the new website, Future Of Maui.org, where members of the public, local business leaders, farmers and political candidates are invited to present their own comments and ideas about what might be grown on 36,000 acres of the island’s most important farmland.
“We believe that this unique opportunity to expand the vision of what’s possible for agriculture on Maui can result in a win-win-win situation for all concerned,” said Albert Perez, Executive Director of Maui Tomorrow. “A win for the people of Maui; a win for the precious `āina that it is our responsibility to care for; and a win in terms of the increased financial benefit that new uses of this farmland can produce, while keeping our local economy diversified. By moving beyond sugar to more sustainable uses, we estimate that this land can easily support more than double the 675 employees HC&S is planning to lay off, while generating at least triple the benefit for our local economy. Regenerative agriculture can also help to capture atmospheric carbon, thus offsetting climate change instead of contributing to it. By becoming a center for regenerative agricultural education, Maui can also kick-start a new industry and share our knowledge with the world.”
“I am excited about the opportunity that the imaginative, industrious, health conscious leaders of Mauiʻs farm and food community now have,” said Maui Tomorrow Board member Michael Howden, a permaculture designer and licensed acupuncturist. “We can engage in best practices derived from traditional Hawaiian knowledge, as well as techniques from around the world, to care for our sacred land and water resources. I believe that working together, the people of Maui will end the era of chemical agriculture – and what has proven to be toxic agriculture – and improve the health of our soil, our water, and our coastal ecosystems, while increasing jobs and improving the bottom line for our economy.”
Alika Atay, a part-Hawaiian farmer who combines permaculture with traditional farming practices and was consulted for the report, looks forward to hearing various viewpoints about the most beneficial ways forward for the sugar plantation lands. “As guardians of our island’s environment, we must remember our values. This is an opportunity to go back to the values that Maui people were raised with,” said Atay. “Mālama ʻĀina, Aloha ʻĀina – this is how we were raised. We need to go back to the future! Hawai`i used to be 100 percent self-sufficient, but now we import 90 percent of our food. This report marks the beginning of a return to those values.”
“I want to thank A&B for the important role they have played in our local economy,” said Atay, “and for having created opportunity for generations of their employees. Although the closure of the sugar plantation is a painful episode for many, we must embrace the future and open ourselves to this important opportunity to move with aloha for each other toward a sustainable, self-reliant, chemical-free agricultural future.”
Mālama ‘Āina: A Conversation about Maui’s Farming Future
Updated on 2016-06-30T21:34:01+00:00, by .