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Coconut revolution arrives in Honokaa

Coconut, a super food with interesting possibilities for Hamakua’s agricultural future, was the topic for the Third Thursday Thrive meeting at the North Hawaii Education and Research Center in Honokaa on Dec. 20.

Tim Head and Carolyn Mondress of North Kohala shared encouraging information about the remarkable nutritional and medicinal qualities of coconuts.

Head, a longtime coconut palm farmer and landscaper, also talked about a vision of reforesting the whole island with thousands of coconut palms in lands below 1,000 feet in elevation, with adequate rainfall. This development could create self-sufficient/independent local economies, insure long-term food security and employment for coming generations, he said.

The presentation before 30 people also included information about newly developed tools for opening coconuts (instead of machetes), removing the kernel and making milk, cream, flakes and oil.

The duo speaks on behalf of the Coconuts for Kohala action campaign, part of the Sustainable Kohala organization. They call for a “coconut revolution,” referring to a major shift in the island economies toward coconut production by thousands of “small holders.”

Head said that there are millions of coconut farmers in the Pacific Islands and South Asia where the average size of a “plantation” is five acres. He said that processing co-ops located throughout the Big Island could keep ownership and control of the coconut business in the hands of residents, rather than waiting until big corporations come in and take over.

The Big Island is in a unique position, he maintains, because coconuts grown here can nourish the entire state and be very competitive with imports from thousands of miles away.

Why bother with planting thousands of acres of cocos?

Because the nut’s fiber and oil provide more support for human health and wellness than any other single food on the planet, explained Mondress.

Visit the organization’s web site,, and check out the blogs, for more information. Or telephone 889-5641.


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