March 13 2013

Prerequisites for Farmers’ Markets: Farms and Farmers

Early on a Saturday morning, the Kapiolani Community College (KCC) Farmers’ Market in Honolulu, Hawaii, bustles as patrons compete to purchase 100% Kona Coffee, locally made honey, and Hawaiian-grown produce and flowers. This market is only one of several Saturday markets on Oahu. Honolulu’s urbanites flock to farmers’ markets in scores and often patronize weekday markets in addition to weekend markets. This vibrant farmers’ market scene might ensure the preservation of the island’s remaining farmland.

Papaya for Sale at the KKC Market!

Papaya for Sale at the KCC Market!

Farmers’ markets establish a bond between Oahu’s city-dwellers and farmers, who are otherwise often at odds over prospective real estate developments. When city-dwellers patronize markets, they engage in conversations with farm owners, managers, and employees, and they learn about the farms’ practices. Patrons value this information and rapport, and often frequent the same farms’ stands from week to week, and thereby become stakeholders in the island’s remaining farms.

Patrons Engage Local Farmers

Patrons Engage Farmers at the KCC Market

Naked Cow Dairy, a small-scale, 20-cow dairy located in Waianae, is the only producer of butter, cheese, and cream cheese on the island. Naked Cow sells its products at the KCC, Ala Moana, Waianae, Blaisdell, and Mililani markets. The exorbitant cost of land could force a small-scale farm like Naked Cow to close. If Honolulu’s urban-dwellers hope to continue to frequent thriving, sustainable markets offering locally grown and produced foodstuffs, they must advocate for the protection, and perhaps expansion, of land that is zoned for agricultural use.

Locally-produced Honey

Locally-produced Honey

Hopefully, Honolulu’s citizens’ love of farmers’ markets will reverse the preceding twenty years’ trends:

  • In 1990, Honolulu County’s population was 836,231, and of those employed and 16 years of age or older, 1.5 percent worked in the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, and Mining industries;
  • According to the 2010 Census, Honolulu’s population increased to 953,207, but of those employed and 16 years of age or older, only 0.7 percent worked in the aforementioned industries;

Are farmers’ markets propelling the preservation of farmland where you live? Comment below or on Twitter!

Credits: Photographs by Sunny Menozzi. Data linked to sources.

Sunny Menozzi

Sunny Menozzi's military duties have taken her to diverse and exciting places, from Singapore to Arizona, South Korea to Afghanistan, and North Carolina to Hawaii. Sunny's travels inspired her interest in cities, especially how they function, the impact of the built environment on the residents, the methods planners employ to shape natural features, and the vibrancy that can be cultivated by good planning and design. She will begin her pursuit of a master's degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall of 2013. Sunny plans to focus on reuse and historic preservation, community-building, and economic and environmental sustainability. She hopes to contribute to projects that repurpose military bases. An avid runner, Sunny is interested in the design of recreational trails and policies that encourage the development of walkable communities. She holds a B.S. in International Relations and Russian from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 at 9:19 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Land Use, Social/Demographics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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