Write-in for the Weidenbachs

UPDATE: Mahalo for Helping the Weidenbachs!  They Got Their Lease!

It was do-or-die for Lita Weidenbach’s family farm when their lease application went before the State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) on Thursday, July 8. The Weidenbachs pulled out all the stops. Twenty years of developing this pristine farm was at stake.

They had asked She grows food for testimony support and we put out a call for others to do the same. “We read the letters and we were touched by the outpouring of community support for you and your farm”, said the BLNR spokesperson, “You are exemplary members to your community”. The board members voted unanimously to approve their lease application.

A BLNR land agent said that testimonies just kept coming in. We want to thank those of you who answered the call on the Weidenbach’s behalf. Your action not only helped this one farm, it also demonstrates that each of us can be part of the solution. And if we can do it for one farm, we can do it for others.

A few days ago I got the call from Dan. Lita and Ron Weidenbach’s farm was in danger.

A few weeks ago we interviewed Lita and planned to feature her story and video in mid-July for the official launch of She Grows Food. But after learning that their lease renewal was in jeopardy and might be denied, we decided to forego sleep to get her story up as soon as possible.

When you hear about healthy farms closing, it nearly always comes down to a crisis of land or water.

After thirty years of building a pristine aquaculture farm and raising a family, the Weidenbach’s may be facing their toughest challenge next week and there’s something we all can do to help.

Dan has put together a call for testimony support with highly interesting data on this situation and what it might mean for the state of Hawaii. This is an action alert. Please do what you can to help.

WHY:
The Weidenbach family have been farming fish at this location for nearly twenty years without any threat to public safety or the environment. But because the farm is in close vicinity to the Dillingham Airport, the current director of the Department of Transportation has raised safety concerns as well he should.

Public Safety: The concern is that the farm will attract birds that may pose a safety hazard for the airport. Both the State Department of Forestry and Wildlife (backed by the FAA) and the USDA Wildlife Services have documented that the farm poses no risk to public safety. Again, no incidents in twenty years.

Environment: The farm is compliant with both the State Department of Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Increasing Hawaii’s and the World’s Food Security:
Do you remember the cost of food when oil spiked to $147 per barrel in 2008? In a recent Lloyd’s of London white paper -Sustained Energy Security, a researcher predicted that the cost of oil could spike to $200 per barrel by 2013. We need to accelerate our move toward Hawaii’s food independence and provide a higher degree of food security. The denial of the lease will be a set-back for Hawaii.

Do you eat fish? One out of five people in the world depend on fish as their primary source of protein. According to the Monterey Aquarium’s Seafood Watch 70% of the world’s fisheries are now exploited, over exploited or have collapsed. The world consumed 110 tons of fish in 2006. Researchers estimate that by 2030 the world would need an additional 37 million tons of farmed fish per year to maintain the current levels of consumption.

The Seafood Watch recommends U.S. farmed Tilapia as a “Best Choice” for sustainable seafood.

Please act now in support of this valuable and viable farm.

HOW:
Please email or post a letter that will act as testimony support on behalf of the Weidenbach family and their Hawaii Fish Company aqua farm. Their lease application goes before the Board of Land and Natural Resources on July 8, 2010.

Your email or letter can be short or long, and simply state your support for the renewal of the Weidenbach’s lease for the land their farm currently occupies.

Please write the following in subject header of your email or to start your letter: Re: Hawaii Fish Company aquaculture lease of the former Dillingham quarry site, Mokuleia, O’ahu, Hawaii.

Address your testimony to:
Laura H. Thielen, Chairperson and Board Members
Board of Land and Natural Resources
P.O. Box 621
Honolulu, Hawaii 96809

or Email to:
Barry Cheung
O’ahu Land Agent
barry.w.cheung@hawaii.gov

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2 Responses to “Write-in for the Weidenbachs”

  1. […] A few days ago, Dan and I got word that the Weidenbach’s farm is in danger. Please lend your help by emailing a brief testimony of support for the renewal of their lease so that they may continue to operate their farm. They not only strengthen our local food system by being our largest land-based aquaculture operation, but they are also leaders in this community. Here’s a link to the Acting Up Call to Action. […]

  2. […] Write-in for the Weidenbachs! Deadline July 5th. Lita and Ron Weidenbach need your help to protect their 18 year old tilapia farm’s land lease. Send in your testimony. Find out how here. […]

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