Skip to content
Grist home
All gifts matched

Articles by Maureen Nandini Mitra

Maureen Nandini Mitra is managing editor of Earth Island Journal. A journalism graduate from Columbia University, she also writes for several other magazines and online publications in the U.S. and India.

Featured Article

Chris Kobayashi, her husband, Dimi Rivera (extreme left) and a friend harvest taro on their 10-acre farm on Kaua‘i. Kobayashi says transitioning to small-scale, agroeological farms will be a lot of hard work, but will lead to a vibrant local economy.

Ian UmedaChris Kobayashi (right), her husband Dimi Rivera (extreme left), and a friend harvest taro on their 10-acre farm on Kauai. Kobayashi says transitioning to small-scale, agroeological farms will be a lot of hard work, but will lead to a vibrant local economy.

For Chris Kobayashi and her husband, Dimi Rivera, it all started with Japanese cucumbers. “In 1997 we said, ‘OK, let’s grow Japanese cucumbers, but let’s grow it organically,’” Kobayashi tells me as we walk around her farm in Hanalei Bay on Kauai’s North Shore. “You know, because they are crispy, crunchy, and yummy and you can eat the skin and everything,”

The couple knew that it would be a tough vegetable to grow. Cucumbers are prone to extensive damage from fruit flies in Hawaii. So they covered every single cucumber that came up with plastic bags. “We’d charge a dollar for each at the farmers market,” says Kobayshi. “We set up a sign on that said ‘Japanese Cucumbers, $1.’ We offered samples and people got hooked because it’s so crunchy. Then they started asking, ‘Do you have any kale?’ I was like, ‘Kale? What is that?’ So that’s how w... Read more