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Articles by Brittany Lyte, Honolulu Civil Beat

Brittany Lyte is a general assignment reporter for Honolulu Civil Beat who specializes in watchdog reporting, narrative storytelling, and coverage of neighbor island and social issues.

Featured Article

Waimea taro farmers John A’ana, Wesley Yadao and Galen Ka’ōhi are the descendants of families who’ve nurtured the Native Hawaiian staple crop for generations. They worry that a proposed clean energy project would divert water that feeds their taro fields.

This story was originally published by Honolulu Civil Beat and is republished with permission.

Wesley Yadao, 71, farms five acres of taro in a region of Kauai where generations of families have tended the starchy root vegetable in wet paddies fed by the Waimea River.

His tough-knuckled hands betray the necessity of a strong work ethic, an indelible link to his great-grandparents who planted the first seeds of the family’s taro-farming legacy.  

“There’s a lot of memories in this valley,” said Yadao, who produces 900 pounds of taro a week with his wife and occasional help from charter school children. 

Demand for the staple crop of the traditional Native Hawaiian diet is growing, farmers say, and about a dozen farms in Waimea struggle to keep up — optimistic circumstances for any food producer. 

Yet today’s generation of taro farmers in arid West Kauai worry about the future of a cherished way of life. ... Read more