Agroforestry and regenerative agricultural practices are viable methods to rebuild the soil, increase organic matter, restore biodiversity, and increase native habitat. In Hawaii, converting former sugar plantation lands, much of which is now either fallow land, underutilized, or currently being used for non-agricultural and non-sustainable uses can be converted into agroforests, incorporating native species, and restoring ecosystems that will sequester carbon both in the soil and forest canopy, while growing food and creating rural economic development.
A few agroforestry and regenerative practices and their benefits include:
1. No-till/minimum tillage: Using agroforestry and perennial crops will eliminate annual or seasonal tillage of the soil. This practice will allow organic matter to build up in the soil.
2. Cover crops and compost: Incorporating cover crops and compost will increase soil fertility.
3. Increasing biodiversity: Planting multiple species, including cover crops, windbreaks, and orchard crops to increase the biodiversity. Incorporating native species will increase native habitat.
4. Carbon sequestration: Through tree crops and building organic matter in the soil, carbon will be captured in the soil canopy and soil to help mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Kalona Brand Company is establishing a 222-acre agroforest above Haleiwa, on the North Shore of Oahu, in the ahupuaa of Kawailoa, in the moku of Waialua. Through implementing these and other practices, we hope to restore the ecosystem and create a model to help revitalize agriculture in Hawaii and our transition from over 100 years of large-scale, monocrop, industrial agriculture into a model of smaller scale, diversified, sustainable systems.