The Conversation: Pandemic Hurting Hawaii Coffee

Aug 4, 2020

Coffee farmers face economic crisis; Impacts of the Jones Act; House committee seeks DOH transparency; Zero Waste composts garbage into gold

Coffee farmers face economic crisis

Harvest season is just around the corner for Hawaiʻi’s coffee farmers, but the COVID-19 pandemic has wiped out much of the market to sell what local coffee growers are producing. The plight has been particularly hard for Kaʻū coffee farmers, who have spent the last 15 years making a name for themselves in the local coffee growing industry.

Impacts of the Jones Act

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii released a study last week that found the 100-year-old federal maritime law known as the Jones Act costs the average Hawai’ family almost $1,800 a year.  The Conversation’s Jason Ubay spoke with Grassroot Institute president and CEO Kelii Akina about the study. Click here to read the report.

House committee seeks DOH transparency

Today's Reality Check looks at the pressure growing for more transparency when it comes to positive covid cases. Click here to read business reporter Stewart Yerton's story at

Zero Waste composts garbage into gold

Credit Lillian Tsang

The Windward Zero Waste School Hui was in the news last year after the program was put at risk due to an unexpected loss of state funds. Private donations and a stalwart staff has kept the group going. By diverting organics from the waste stream and following the Kaʻōhao protocol, the Hui successfully operates composting, vermicomposting and worm farms at five Kailua schools. For our Mauka-to-Makai segment, producer Lillian Tsang visited Enchanted Lake Elementary to learn how the program's doing as DOE schools are scheduled to begin on August 17. Click on the slideshow to see the full photo stream of images.

Credit Lillian Tsang