‘Protecting the small farms’: local farmers, legislators seek conversation

  • Jason Stith, right, leads sen. Dru Kanuha (D-Kona, Ka’u) and rep. Nicole Lowen (D-North Kona) on a tour of his farm in Honaunau Thursday morning. (Tom Linder/West Hawaii Today)

  • (Back, left to right): Sen. Laura Acasio, Rep. Amy Perruso, Rep. Nicole Lowen, farm owners Jason Stith and Kathy Vass, Sen. Dru Kanuha and Rep. Jeanne Kapela join (front, left to right) rep. Mark Hashem and Kona Coffee Farmers Association president Colehour Bondera after touring Stith’s farm in South Kona.

  • Kona Coffee Farmers Association President Colehour Bondera (far right) leads reps. Amy Perruso (D-Oahu), Nicole Lowen (D-North Kona) and Jeanne Kapela (D-South Kona, Ka’u) on a farm tour as farm owners Bruce Corker, Jason Stith and Chet Gardiner follow behind. (Tom Linder/West Hawaii Today)

As farmers throughout Hawaii learn how to deal with a wide range of issues – with pests ranging from coffee leaf rust to the coffee berry borer – Big Island farmers are hoping to create a more broad and diverse conversation with their state representatives as they learn to combat pests and climate change moving forward.