Ahai Olelo Ola: Growing Farmers

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Last week, Ahai Olelo Ola explored the importance of food security here in Hawaii. Today Amy Kalili takes a look at how to achieve it.

Despite this stigma of farming, Gary and MA'O Organic Farms have been growing young farmers for over 10 years.

"Most people over the last 150 years wanted to get off the plantation. And for 150 years, generation after generation told their kids, don't work on the farm," said Gary Maunakea-Forth, Farm Manager at MA'O Organic Farm.

"I think the biggest investment we have to make is in this new generation of young people. We have to get them excited about wanting to be farmers, we have to show them it's a viable opportunity."

It's a hard sell, given Hawaii's farmers make only $25,000 a year on average, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

"We have to not sell them on the fact that's all they're going to do for the rest of their life but they're going to go to college and they're going to have a choice and they're going to have opportunities and they're going to be able to learn all the different aspects of agriculture."

With the average age of Hawai'i's farmers approaching 60, programs like MA'O's are vital in securing food for our future.

"When young people are so excited, we know that we've started a movement to really start changing, to start really changing things and start really re-shaping things."

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