After 9/11: Conversation with former State Legislator who is a Business Person (October 17, 2001)
Five weeks after 9/11, Earth Foundation was fortunate to secure consultation from a highly informed individual who was then a member of the State Legislature. He shared the following information with EF:
Using MAUI as an example for each of the Hawaiian Islands:
Realistic Constraints of Implementing for Maui a Sustainability in Food & Energy Plan
He said he is interested in EF’s “significant” concept of helping Maui and the State of Hawaii to become more sustainable in food & energy. He commented that it would take a couple of years to get it started on Maui. And, he significantly added that it would require a substantial change in public policy and in Maui’s (or any Hawaiian Island’s) culture. He agreed that Europe is far ahead of Hawaii in this.
He said it would take a DECADE to implement such a plan on Maui.
FOOD & AGRICULTURE
The former State Legislator stressed “Cost effectiveness” when considering having Maui grow much of its own food supply. He suggests that the most “cost effective” way would be for Maui to identify a nice specific crop market and grow 80% to 90% of that particular crop and buy the remaining 20% or 10% of the particular crop from somewhere else in the world. He lists “bananas” as a good example of this with Maui buying 30% of bananas from outside sources while growing 70% of its bananas on Maui. EF has been told that “Cost effectiveness” means it is cheaper to buy and ship many products to Maui than to grow them here. However, EF understands the most secure situation in this fragile global environment is to grow as much as possible of Maui’s food supply HERE on Maui.
He said it is difficult to grow “commodity crops” on Maui: corn, beans, etc. He said a “distribution system” on Maui for locally grown food is essential, of course. He said economists & engineers are all needed to make it work to grow Maui’s own food. IMPORTANT—The former State Legislator said the University of Hawaii (“UH”) a few years ago conducted a study analysis and concluded that for the entire State of Hawaii to become self-sustaining in agriculture and food production would require less than 6,000 acres. But EF has not been able to find out the name of the study and who or what department at UH conducted the study. EF would like very much to secure that study. Please contact EF if you have information.
ENERGY & FUEL
He was very interested in our alternative energy & fuel concepts. He said the challenge with alternatives to petroleum-produced electricity is the necessity to prove the alternatives can meet P.U.C. regulations.
He was interested in this. He liked the fact that EF would plan for many construction and maintenance jobs, and not just farming-agricultural worker jobs (i.e., back bending over planting and harvesting crops type of work). He had no alternatives to EF’s for creating more jobs except to have the island of Maui GROW and not be a stagnant economy and thereby create more jobs. He was concerned that there is “a large contingency” on Maui that is “anti-growth which could stagnate the economy.”
EF would differ with his concept by suggesting that this EF plan could create significant economic growth for Maui while not requiring more population nor more construction of new hotels and luxury houses that Maui doesn’t need. He added that such a concept and plan would receive a lot of “it can’t be done” by engineers, economists, and business leaders who review a plan.
They would point out the holes in the plan, which would be GOOD because then the gaps could be filled and the problems corrected. He suggested that for Maui to become substantially more sustainable in food & energy would necessitate a plan with its facts straight and its case solid so the advocates of the plan would not be looked at “as crazy” when making presentations.
AGRICULTURE FINANCIAL MODEL NEEDED
With that solid advice in mind and with EF’s significant expertise in researching, preparing and writing extensive Financial Models dealing with projects of substantial financial value, EF sought consultation from UH. This was done because EF thought what was really needed as the cornerstone in such a plan would be an outstanding “Financial Model” to show the merits of the financial realities of how an innovative Agriculture plan would work for Maui and potentially for the State of Hawaii. But in an early 2002 meeting with Andrew Hashimoto, the Dean of the UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, EF was surprised to be told that Hawaii is one of only a very few states in the U.S. that does not have a Financial Model for its Agriculture statewide or for each of the islands.
A Financial Model gives skilled and sophisticated 5 year projections of anticipated revenues, expenses, and gross and net revenues and profit or loss for a particular project or business – on a detailed basis with highly detailed, financial assumptions stated for all categories of revenues and expenses. Without a Financial Model it is significantly more difficult to make sophisticated projections and analysis of Agriculture and food crops for the State and each of the islands.
In the likely event that UH Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture is successful in its efforts to secure the needed crop data over the next several years from each island, then perhaps by the year 2010 the first Financial Model could be started. EF hopes that for the State of Hawaii and Maui’s use and for better future planning of the State of Hawaii’s and Maui’s Agriculture industries, that a sophisticated Financial Model for Agriculture will be produced.
EF would then like to be able to help, individually or as part of a team, to assist in producing a Financial Model for Agriculture. In the interim, EF continues an education program to help residents and government leaders better understand the benefits of more sustainable Agriculture & Energy for Maui and the State of Hawaii.