by Megan Taylor
A special thank you to Manadina Farm for opening their doors to Kaʻū Chapter for our monthly meeting the first weekend of April.
We had special guest Lisa from Kōkua Harvest inform us about her food basket program. They service the entire island and with a week notice can rescue any fruit or veggies that you wouldn’t want to see go to waste and provide them to people in need. They are seeking recommendations for a local Kaʻū harvesters to participate and always welcome volunteers. Visit kokuaharvest.org to find out more.
Our esteemed president Andrea told us about her experience at the National Farmers Union Convention in Colorado. While many farmers there came from very large farms, they were all interested in the practices of Hawai’i such as our focuses on soil health. Hawai’i has 900 members statewide, and these members are our strength. The more we have, the greater delegate representation (and votes) we have for regulations. Additional member discounts are on the way; If you haven’t received your member card please reach out and provide your mailing address to ensure you can receive discounts at national and local businesses.
New workshops are also in the works, this month on the 16th we will be visiting Mā’ona Community Garden in Captain Cook. Shaka tea will be sponsoring a Korean Natural Farming series of workshops that will be free for all members, more information on this coming soon.
Our treasurer Daniel shared his focus for this year which is to grow our memberships, which not only increases our available funds to cover regular costs, but will also build our community and the strength of our chapter helping us to reach our goal of a sustainable Kaʻū region. We are looking to get more local businesses involved and you can help by sharing the word with your friends and neighbor to join. It pays for itself with all the discounts!
One of the costs we share with other Hawai’i chapters is a legislative advocate who brings us all the detailed emails about upcoming legislation that could affect farmers and food producers. It is great to have someone doing the legwork for us on this, and our guest Lisa provided a great tip on how to submit testimony. Don’t fret about what to say, just write “I am in support of HB####” and submit. The quantity of voices makes a greater impact than what each one says, but if you do have specifics to share, please do.
May 12th-15th the exectuive strategic planning meeting will be held in Kaʻū with all chapter presidents in attendance. If you’d like to attend and hear about the matters they will be voting on, please contact our president Andrea Drayer via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
At the conclusion of the meeting we had introductions all around to get to know our new members and guests. If you missed it, please join us next month and make connections with fellow producers and sustainability advocates. On the agenda will be planning an upcoming fundraising event with speakers, music, food and a gathering of the community. Ideas for fundraising and gaining donations are welcome.