Explore the Agriculture of Central O‘ahu at Saturday’s Parade of Farms

This event showcases the farms and agribusinesses in the Kunia Corridor with guided tours, tastings and demonstrations.


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Aquaponically grown lettuce from Kunia Country Farms, one of the stops on the Parade of Farms on Saturday.
Photo: Catherine Toth Fox

 

Imagine the annual Parade of Homes—only with farms instead.

 

The first-ever Parade of Farms, set for this Saturday, gives the public a chance to tour some of the farms and agribusinesses in the Kunia Corridor in Central O‘ahu, which encompasses more than 10,000 acres of prime and unique agricultural lands.

 

The goal of this event, which is hosted by the O‘ahu Resource Conservation and Development Council, is to showcase the various agricultural endeavors happening here, from cacao processing at the Hawai‘i Agricultural Research Center to the thriving fruit tree business of Frankie’s Nursery.

 

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., starting at the Hawai‘i Agricultural Research Center, with transportation provided to each site.

 

“A lot of people see empty fields and don’t really know what’s going on here,” says Stephanie Mock, a conservation specialist with the O‘ahu Resource Conservation and Development Council. “They don’t really understand that fields need to [lie] fallow or that there’s a lot of planning and research that goes into [starting] a small farm or agribusiness. It may look like there’s nothing happening here, maybe because the guinea grass blocks your view, but there’s a lot going on.”

 

There are three main tours—$20 per tour, per person—aimed at showcasing the full spectrum of agriculture in this area. “Our Food & Farmers” (10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 2 to 4:30 p.m.) features local farms, including a fruit tree nursery and an aquaponics farm, and a tour of the Kunia Plantation Village project. “Our Products” (10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) showcases the manufacturing processes at Oils of Aloha, Manulele Distillers, and the Pacific Gateway Community Kitchen, which was established for farmers in the area to add value to their farm products. And the “Agricultural Innovations” (1:30 to 4:30 p.m.) tour features the technology and research important in today’s farming, from Hawaiian Earth Products transforming green waste into compost to the innovative industry of sun hemp and cover crops.

 

The Hawai‘i Agricultural Research Center will also host an open house where visitors can participate in hands-on activities such as cacao processing and honey tasting. This part of the event is free.

 

“There’s a huge disconnect between local agriculture and the community, and we’re trying to bridge that gap,” Mock says. “We’re hoping this turns into an annual event that can be hosted somewhere else on the island.”

 

Beans growing on a trellis at the Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation’s Ag Park in Kunia.
Photos: Courtesy of Parade of Farms

 

Sunn hemp, a kind of cover crops, growing at DuPont Pioneer.

 

While connecting what we eat with where it’s grown is the goal of this event, organizers also want to highlight how this food is grown. Farmers are responsible for stewarding the soil from which the vast majority of food comes, and integrating conservation practices such as cover crops, mulch, vegetative barriers and crop rotations, which ensure long-term productivity.

 

“We really want people to experience all that first-hand,” Mock says.

 

Reservations and tickets for Saturday’s event are required for the tours and can be purchased online here or by calling 622-9026. Tours are à la carte. A small farm lunch will be available. At the end of the event, Manulele Distillers will host “Kō Hana Pau Hana,” from 4:30 to 6 p.m., with a rum tasting, a cocktail demo and light pūpū. Cost is $18 per person and transportation is not provided. (The event is open to only adults over 21.)

 

READ MORE STORIES BY CATHERINE TOTH FOX

 

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