Protecting Land That Feeds Us

By Dr. Kioni Dudley
Wednesday - September 28, 2011 Share

By Dr. Kioni Dudley, President,
Save Oahu Farmlands Alliance

The developer calls the proposed development in West Oahu Ho’opili, “coming together.” Save Oahu Farmlands calls it Ho’o-pilikia, “deep trouble for all of us.”

Save Oahu Farmlands is an alliance of roughly 50 pro-farm, pro-environment and Hawaiian organizations, another 50 individual farmers and activists, and 1,200 members. All have joined together to “protect the land that feeds us.”

The group had its first official meeting Jan. 2010, with leaders of the Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, Hawaii Farmer’s Union, the Friends of Makakilo, Defend Oahu Coalition, Keep the Country Country, Livable Hawaii Kai Hui, Sustainable UH and the UH College of Tropical Agriculture along with farmers and activists.

Doris Dudley rallies support. Photo by Danielle Guion-Swenson

While they have been involved in efforts to save farms in Waianae, Laie and Hawaii Kai, their foremost effort is saving our breadbasket, the precious farmland below the freeway between Waipahu and Kapolei 1,555 acres that developers want for the 12,000-home Ho’opili project. This farmland is among the very highest producing acreage in the world, if not the highest. Winter limits most places to just one crop a year, but Hawaii has yearround growth. On this island, the Waimanalo farms get only two crops a year because clouds and rain slow growth. Some places in the less rainy central region get three crops. But the sunny, low-lying, fertile land in the Leeward area gets four a year. Losing our best farmland would invite catastrophe. We have only one week’s store of food on island. Should we ever be cut off from supply lines, we could not survive.

Between now and next April, the Land Use Commission will hold hearings to decide the fate of the Ho’opili farmland. Save Oahu Farmlands Alliance is committed to rousting the public to action. Members are active writing articles and letters to the editor, appearing on ‘Olelo TV shows, filming commercials, producing their own TV program, going to farmers markets and other events with displays and petitions, and selling their T-shirts. They keep their 1,200 members up to date with regular emails and Facebook postings. They meet weekly and are planning larger activities.

For more information, visit, which is also a good place to volunteer or to donate. Or call me at 672-8888. Save Oahu Farmlands needs your help and welcomes your participation.

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