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Innovation, Excellence, Ingenuity and the Environment

Innovation, Excellence, Ingenuity and the Environment
October 6, 2019 Heather Poole
Up-close photo of sunflowers.

If you’ve ever driven on Maui, you most likely have seen the glowing field of yellow sunflowers that are growing here. Have you wondered what they are there for, besides being beautiful? There is a lot more to these beautiful flowers than enchantment.  Planted by Pacific Biodiesel, the sunflower field is the largest biofuel crop in Hawai’i and the first on Maui. 

A sustainable crop is an agricultural crop or operation and is produced in a way that supports the environment, biodiversity, and the immediate and long-lasting life of the crops and the land. The intention is to work in harmony with the land and farm in a way that nourishes the soil rather than depletes it.

Kelly and Bob King founded Pacific Biodiesel in 1995 as the first biodiesel fuel pump in the nation.  Biodiesel fuel is fuel which is sourced from the recycled cooking waste from restaurants throughout the state and is a renewable form of energy. The company began planting sunflowers in 2017 as a sustainable crop on the 115-acre piece of land. In 2019 hemp was added as another sustainable crop by Imua Engergy, a state-licensed company and the first commercial hemp venture here on the island.

          Sunflowers, Helianthus, mature in approximately 110 days when their unmistakable stalks bloom and flower.  They’re aptly named sunflowers because of their ‘sunny’ look and how their flower head follows the sun until petals appear. There are over 70 species which originated in the Americas

The Kings flowers are being used for cosmetic and culinary oil as well by Maiden Hawai’i Naturals. Consider that any product used on your skin goes into the body.  Using natural products nurtures the body and well-being.  Always check the list of ingredients as not all ‘natural’ products are sustainable or from completely natural sources.

The fields and flowers themselves are also being used as photo props from both locals and visitors who are stopped at the side of the road by the beauty. These crops are adhering to the model of zero-waste agriculture and energy. This consists of food, fuel, and fertilizer. You can learn more about this on their website.                            

The Kings and their company are innovative in their thinking and the actions they take in making prosperous and positive impacts on the land, community and lives of the islands.

For more information :  https://www.biodiesel.com/hawaiis-largest-biofuel-crop/

Heather Lea Poole

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