A few weeks ago, looking through a stack of old magazines at the hatchery, we came across a December 1958 issue of the Hawaii Farm Bureau magazine and found this.
1958. We were still at Damon Tract and we were still a farm. A real farm that could hatch and grow chickens and vegetables. Where people could come to buy not just chicks, but eggs and chicken freshly dressed for that night’s supper.
It was a year before statehood. A year before the Tract was sold to a realtor for developing, resulting in not only our family’s farm’s closure but the clearing of an entire community of residences, shops, farms, orchards, nurseries to make way for industrial plans near the airport. Our grandfather, Mike, decided that even at that time, farmland was way too difficult to acquire. Egg and pig farms were being run out of Hawaii Kai and Waialae. He decided to stay in agriculture, in a way that used the least amount of land, he decided to hatch eggs. The hatchery was a part of the nation’s industrial growth, and now is part of the aftermath of the corporate growth that metastasized from it.
A great article was recently published in the Washington Post, questioning why small businesses have in the recent years become so endangered. It was a valuable and serious look at how during the beginning of the 20th century, our government leaders knew the importance of protecting small businesses in communities across the country, that it was the only way to build healthy communities. And interesting how in the last two decades of that same century, government leaders chose to remove those protections.
Since then we have all witnessed what that led to. Here at the hatchery we have a Honolulu Advertiser article taped to a wall in our office about the closing of Hamada Store in Kaka’ako. In our hearts we carry a string of similar closures: Wisteria Restaurant, Honolulu Bookstore, Flamingo. And more invisibly, the continuous closures of our farms. There are a few more dairies left in the state.
The article mentions something we have gladly recognized as well, however. This is the resurgence of everyone’s growing awareness of the critical importance of supporting our local businesses and farms. A key and measurable sector of the market has involved the growth of artisan food purveyors who partner up with local farmers and farmers markets.
We feel that there is a movement underfoot.
Like all movements, it will not get anywhere unless we make a commitment to help each other.
Coming across the article inspired us to talk a little bit more about the intent and inspiration behind the growing of the country store part of the hatchery.
We will continue to do everything in our power to keep our hatchery alive. It has been difficult and we are not out of the woods yet, but we are committed. The country store component will grow organically alongside the hatchery, and may even be able to fund some very creative food-growing and supportive projects that we hope are in the hatchery’s future.
We’ll keep you posted. And as always, thanks for being here. There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t feel lucky for having such great customers!