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Farmers unenthused about Kauai food hub idea

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LIHUE, Hawaii >> A majority of Kauai farmers surveyed say they aren’t interested in a food hub, a concept that would create a centralized processing facility.

Seventy percent of the 23 farmers who responded to a survey in a county-funded study said they weren’t interested in collaborating with other growers to promote their products.

The concept for a food hub arose out of two studies to determine if it’s feasible for the county to boost the island’s food and agriculture industries by subsidizing a community kitchen and mobile or modular slaughter, chill and processing facility, the Garden Island reported Monday.

“Our rationale was that it makes sense to combine activities because you have a lower overhead instead of having it rely on one entity to carry all of the fixed costs — you can share it among four different components in a food hub,” said Jerry Ornellas, president of the Kauai Farm Bureau.

The $50,000 study was conducted by Auburn, California-based consulting firm Claggett Wolfe Associates.

“What appeared to be on the surface a really good idea — and I thought it was a good idea — apparently, after interviewing a number of farmers, including myself, by the way — did not end up being the consensus among farmers,” Ornellas said.

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