Urban encroachment; almost sounds like a skin disease. In a way, it is. It is the ever-spreading sprawl that takes place throughout our islands which turns open lands and agricultural businesses into more of a relic from a bygone era. Now, we have no dairies on Oahu, no place on this island from which to get Oahu-produced milk. Yeh, we'll survive, but what happens if there is a shipping problem or a strike on the mainland or a Big Island issue?
The cost of land and shipping, stagnant sales, and that eerie-sounding urban encroachment all played a part in the de-milking of Oahu over the past two decades. In other places, sprawl means agrarian and rural things get pushed further outward. But on an island, there is simply no place to go. "Improvements" to our lives, modern conveniences, even housing to handle more people--something's always gotta give on an island. Often, it's a way of life, tradition, that pastoral feel of the hinterlands which are not so hinter any more when the urban world overruns the pasturelands, meadows, and hills. Progress? Inevitability? 21st century reality? Can more or should more be done to preserve what's left of our agriculture industry throughout the islands? That's a choice that landowners, politicos, and consumers need to make, over and over, until maybe there is no more farmland to decide about any more.
In California, Joni Mitchell sang 37-years ago: "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone; they paved paradise and put up a parking lot." It was reality back there then, and it's reality here now. Think About It.
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