What Happened to Molokai “Homestead “Dream” of having 40 Acres to produce food & build a life free from worry or Island Bureaucracy?
High shipping costs & cheap foreign competition forced closing of three pineapple plantations on Molokai.
Homesteaders had leased their 40 acre lots to these pineapple companies & then worked in the fields.
With no pineapple crops, homesteaders who had never farmed were faced with 40 acres to farm.
Some locals who were Homesteaders turned to subsistence farming. Growing local produce.
Generally, grew just enough food & produce for their families
A few plunged headfirst into professional farming.& are role model. [Poepoe & Kumu Farms]
Now much of land is now covered with fields of tall stiff, dry grass, not crops
Money & Homesteads:
The main problem for the homestead program remains ke kala –the money.
The Homestead department is smallest of the 17 state agencies in Hawaii.
Supposed to support its operating budget by leasing land to commercial enterprises – apparently did not happen.
Much of the land still remains undeveloped & undesirable for crop production.
Income from working farms has not been enough for some homesteaders.
Infrastructure development seeks to secure an adequate provision of a potable water source.
Needed to support the projected demand of 1.53 M Gallon Per Day [mgd]
Some local farmers do focus on growing Molokai Produce – Grow vegetables in Demand.
Last two years, Molokai has led the state in production of watermelons, sweet potatoes, green beans & bell peppers.
All grown on homestead farms like Poepoe & their neighbors.
However, many homestead farms lay fallow for decades’
Homesteads now are smaller–five to 10 acres instead of 35 to 40 acres.
Proposed changes are for homesteaders to subdivide land among their children
“We don’t have the money. We’re between a rock and a rock–it isn’t even a hard place,”-Stewart Matsunaga, the department’s agricultural specialist
“It would take $720 million to develop enough land to satisfy all the lease applicants.” – Ken Toguchi. Hawaiian Homestead Commission spokesperson.
“We decided several years ago that if we only gave out improved land, we’d never really give out the land at all,”
“We’re committed to making sure the folks are able to use the land, but as far as we’re concerned, the first thing is to give it out.”– — Barbara Hanchett, Hawaiian Homes commissioner for Molokai
The first homesteads were awarded on Molokai. Island is 10 miles wide & 37 miles long with 33,700 acres reserved as Hawaiian home lands.
Plans for Agriculture Homesteads —
Plan calls for the completion of 58 Näÿiwa Agricultural lots in Ho’olehua.
Proposed – potentially yield 544 agriculture homesteads at a cost of $25.8 million
Existing pastoral uses on approximately 1,927 acres will be maintained.
Over 8,498 acres of land island-wide are designated
Kinds or Classification of Acreage Use on Molokai:
Basic Acreage Allocation:
Subsistence Agriculture Acreage – 2,350 acres
Supplemental Acreage – 5,862
General Agriculture Areas:
Preserves the land for a possible future use.
Makes land available for groups or individuals to lease for farming & ranching.
Large scale agriculture or ranching encouraged to lease agriculture areas.
General agriculture areas are located in ÿUalapuÿe, Kapaÿakea, Makakupaÿia, Kamiloloa, Kalamaÿula, and Hoÿolehua.
Classification of Acreage Use on Molokai:
Sensitive Land Use:
The 5,558 acres designated Special District includes environmentally
Or culturally sensitive lands in ÿUalapuÿe, Kapaÿakea, Makakupaÿia, Kamiloloa, Kalamaÿula, Kalaupapa, & Hoÿolehua.
Special District Use:
Lands in this category should be protected but available for certain community and commercial uses.
234 acres are designated Community Use.
Includes areas in residential communities such as school & parks sites.
As well as community use areas with regional significance.
Activities like Community Based Economic Development are in this category
Conservation Use :
655 acres of environmentally sensitive areas in Kalaupapa and Ho’olehua are designated as Conservation lands
This is consistent with the boundary demarcations set by the State Land Use Commission.
58 acres of land are designated in Kalamaÿula and Hoÿolehua as Commercial for income generation purposes for DHHL.
Molokai Island Plan June 2005 – https://dhhl.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Island_Plan_Molokai_2005.pdf