Kauai farm plans recovery from third flood in three years

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A few days after a storm system dumped rain across the state, some areas are still cleaning up including farms that were flooded.

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The flooding has added another challenge to an already difficult few months.

One of the farms hit hard by the wet weather was Hanalei Taro. Hanalei Taro co-owner and sixth generation farmer, Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama said the next few months will be focused on recovery. They are hoping to bounce back with the community’s help.

Hanalei Taro isn’t a stranger to floods. The farm flooded back in 2018 during Hurricane Lane, destroying their farmhouse, and again during rains in early 2020.  They were able to recover and take their sales online just before the COVID-19 pandemic, but another flood event happened

“This floodwater – even evacuated with some of the tractors on hills and into the mountains – you know, it came in pretty swift,” said Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama. “You could see a lot of the rapids in the flood water on the video you can hear how long the flood water was coming through.”

The farm is right next to Hanalei river, which Haraguchi-Nakayama said gives plenty of water to the loi, but when severe weather hits, it can be quick to flood. She said many of the seeds and loi planted up until last week got washed out.

“So at that point, you know, having to replant the fields, we’re continuing harvest, and we’re even having to sacrifice some of the fields harvesting, a little bit earlier than their prime,”

Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama

Haraguchi-Nakayama said they haven’t yet been able to assess the full damage of the latest flood, but they do know it’ll take some time before things can get back to normal.

“Having some of the fields being washed out having to replant them again,” said Haraguchi-Nakayama. “We’re looking at over 16 months at least a couple years of recovery.”

She said for local farms like them, every sale helps them to survive. She said a portion of their proceeds also go to their nonprofit museum and loi taro field restoration.

“So we’re still continuing to work every day and continue to provide food and continue our nonprofit restoration, preservation programs,” said Haraguchi-Nakayama. “However, you know, it is still journey, right and a challenge that we have to keep in mind that there’s still a lot more to go.”

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