Post Pineapple

I was recently reading Central Oahu Sustainable Communities Plan and at first, I thought it was funny how often the plan used the word “pineapple.” The plan, which is  a continually work of progress, crosses out but leaves in previous editions of the plan. In 2006, Del Monte left central Oahu, due high land and labor costs. Today, perhaps the most iconic food of Hawai’i is no longer grown commercially. Pineapples are not native to Hawai’i, but much like sugar served a vital role in the development of Hawai’i. Both pineapple and sugar interests played out sized roles that ultimately led to the annexation of Hawai’i.


We often talk about how cities lost manufacturing and how that has left out a hollowed a center, often times tied to the rise of Trump. As plants move to cheaper cod733f3b46f1ff127fb816a4458a90b63untries, cities like Detroit are often left behind. When a farm leaves for cheaper land, it’s a different story, though. In our grocery stores aisles, we can see the effects of this movement: fresh strawberries in December, new exotic South American fruit, blueberries from Chile. Much of this loss has been due to urban growth and sprawl.

What happens to land though that is just no longer profitable? The need for migrant labor does not just come from simple penny-pinching, but also the difficulty and seasonality of the work.  What does land look like after farms leave? In Central Oahu, the city continues to support agriculture – pushing “seed crops, potatoes, melons, and other crops.” What happens next? Maybe this time next year, I’ll be buying some O’ahu grown melon.

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