DEUTSCHE WELLE: Hawaiians swapping big sugar for green sugar

Deutsche Welle: Written by Larry Buhl. April 14, 2017.

With the closing of the last industrial sugar plantation in Hawaii, sustainable agriculture activists see an opening to go back to Hawaii's roots and build a model for profitable organic farming.

Only a few years ago, Hawaii produced more than a million tons of sugar a year - or 20 percent of all sugar produced in the United States. The closure of the last sugar mill on the second-largest island Maui in December 2016 marked the end of an era of big agriculture there.

A&B was one of the handful of companies controlling sugar and associated businesses, commonly known as the "big five." Established by missionaries or descendents of missionaries in the 1800s, they have dominated Hawaii's economy, land and politics for more than 150 years.

Some have seen them as economic drivers. Others see them as usurpers of the land - there was no concept of land ownership before missionary families arrived - and a living symbol of Hawaii's colonized past. Sugar monocultures have also had a tremendous environmental impact.

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