Nearly 500 acres of Oahu North Shore land permanently preserved for farming

Nearly 500 acres of Oahu North Shore land permanently preserved for farming
Published: Apr. 5, 2016 at 1:47 AM HST|Updated: Apr. 5, 2016 at 2:06 AM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

Turtle Bay Resort announced on Monday nearly 500 acres of their land on Oahu's North Shore will be permanently preserved for farming.

The large parcel of land is located across the street from the Turtle Bay Resort on Kamehameha Highway at the bottom of the Koolau mountain range foothills. Under the deal, 468 acres of land can never be altered and homes can never be built there, even if the resort sells it.

Peng Saysiri is a second generation farmer. He and his family farm mostly basil on about 15 acres of the 468 total acres. Saysiri says the resort's promise to keep the lands in agriculture is a huge victory for Hawaii farmers.

"They made a pretty big commitment to the farmers and to the state of Hawaii to keep this land for farming, to produce food for the island. Like they say, 'no farm no food,'" Saysiri said.

The 468 acres of farmland is in addition to 628 acres along the coastline that's already protected. It's part of an agreement between Turtle Bay Resort, the state of Hawaii, the city and county of Honolulu, the Army, the North Shore Community Land Trust and The Trust for Public Land.

The land is currently being used by a dozen farmers to grow crops, both local and exotic. Vice President for the resort, Scott McCormack, says they hope to expand in the future.

"The current master plan...envisions up to 30 different operations on here and probably four or five times the amount of food that's being produced right now," McCormack said.

The master plan includes an expansion of farm to table dining, a farmer's market and a two-mile long bike path along Kamehameha highway.

Wendy Gady is the farm manager for Oahu North Shore Farms. She says the plan is sustainability in action and overall a great day for Hawaii.

"We are not gonna see houses, we're not gonna see condos, we're not gonna see hotels. That should get our community excited because this is gonna be the land of food. This is gonna be the bread basket of the North Shore. That to me should get a community really fired up," said Gady

McCormack says the deal a legacy closing of something they have been working on for nearly six years.

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