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Why aren't there more greenhouses growing Kava in the U.S. ?

Plantacious

Kava Enthusiast
Maybe they're out there, but I never hear about them.
I was under the impression that you could grow practically anything in a greenhouse.
Even that other botanical that starts with the letter "K" and for years most people believed it could only be grown in Asian climates, is now abundantly growing in the U.S. In fact, in some U.S. regions, that plant is grown outside of a greenhouse.
What's holding back Kava, from doing the same ?
 

sɥɐʞɐs

Avg. Dosage: 8 Tbsp. (58g)
Review Maestro
It could happen, but kava takes a long time to mature, which means no quick profit and a longer chance for something to go wrong. Full grown kava also takes up quite a bit of space, it would require a very big greenhouse to be profitable, maybe several. They would be expensive and the land would be expensive, and the heating / cooling for those big greenhouses would be expensive.

Ive attempted it several times, on a small scale, and could never get anything to thrive.
I think it would have to be done by a kava enthusiast, who also happens to be wealthy and is happy to spend for the sake of trying rather than the promise of success/profits.
 

Plantacious

Kava Enthusiast
Well, since all we want is the roots of the plant, if it grows too tall for a greenhouse, couldn't it be continually pruned to keep it short enough to be contained, so long as the roots keep growing.
It's almost like growing backwards, isn't it ?
We're waiting for the plant to grow underground, as opposed to above ground ?
 

Zaphod

Kava Lover
Maybe they're out there, but I never hear about them.
I was under the impression that you could grow practically anything in a greenhouse.
Even that other botanical that starts with the letter "K" and for years most people believed it could only be grown in Asian climates, is now abundantly growing in the U.S. In fact, in some U.S. regions, that plant is grown outside of a greenhouse.
What's holding back Kava, from doing the same ?
Simple. You could grow just about anything else in that greenhouse and make a lot more money. The cost of running a green house is not cheap and it would take at least 3 years before you had any return on a kava plant. Once harvested you would have to start over again. Off hand I can probably think of a couple dozen other plants, vegetables, flowers etc that would return much more $ in months.
 

Plantacious

Kava Enthusiast
Simple. You could grow just about anything else in that greenhouse and make a lot more money. The cost of running a green house is not cheap and it would take at least 3 years before you had any return on a kava plant. Once harvested you would have to start over again. Off hand I can probably think of a couple dozen other plants, vegetables, flowers etc that would return much more $ in months.
Have you seen the price of kava lately ? :p
They're charging around 40 bucks for only a HALF pound now.
And if you could grow it in the US, there would be less cost to import it.
Seems possible that the cost of the greenhouse might be at least partially washed out by saving all that money, of having to send it on big cargo ships across the ocean.
I know I could be off-base here, and less educated on this, and kind of joking a bit, but certainly I must be at least partially right...right ? :)
 
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Michael Nielsen

Kava Enthusiast
It would be interresting to know how much revenue per acre a farmer do get when harvesting different crops, like kava or corn.
There are farms in hawaii that grows kava, if i dont mistake there was a lot more kava grown in hawaii in the 90's before the kavaban killed the market.

I dont think greenhouse is relevent before all potential land where kava grows naturally is used.
There is also the cost of labour, many kava growing nations does have a low labour cost.

Shipping do have some issues due to covid19, but in general shipping is cheap. Like they send fish that a harvested in the baltic sea, to china for processing, and then back to the consumers in the countries surrounding the baltic sea...
 

Krunʞy

Chillin @ 40g
Admin
It would be interresting to know how much revenue per acre a farmer do get when harvesting different crops, like kava or corn.
There are farms in hawaii that grows kava, if i dont mistake there was a lot more kava grown in hawaii in the 90's before the kavaban killed the market.

I dont think greenhouse is relevent before all potential land where kava grows naturally is used.
There is also the cost of labour, many kava growing nations does have a low labour cost.

Shipping do have some issues due to covid19, but in general shipping is cheap. Like they send fish that a harvested in the baltic sea, to china for processing, and then back to the consumers in the countries surrounding the baltic sea...
There is also a cultural issue. Growing kava commercially outside of the Pacific is questionable at best. I wouldn't support the vendor or distributor.
 

Zaphod

Kava Lover
Have you seen the price of kava lately ? :p
They're charging around 40 bucks for only a HALF pound now.
And if you could grow it in the US, there would be less cost to import it.
Seems possible that the cost of the greenhouse might be at least partially washed out by saving all that money, of having to send it on big cargo ships across the ocean.
I know I could be off-base here, and less educated on this, and kind of joking a bit, but certainly I must be at least partially right...right ? :)
If I recall correctly a good yield for a mature kava plant would be about 20 lbs. fresh. then you dry it and get about 25% of that, so 5 lbs. A full sized plant is pretty darn big even young at 3 years so a yield of maybe $400 for a 3'x3' space in 3 years. That doesn't sound that great to be honest. Also don't forget that the labor costs for harvesting, cutting, drying, and grinding. I think minimum wage in US vs Vanuatu is on the order of 4x in USD. That is if you can get the plant to grow. It is notoriously fickle for the environment it is grown in.
 

Plantacious

Kava Enthusiast
Also don't forget that the labor costs for harvesting, cutting, drying, and grinding.
Also, maybe the cost of the grinding machine is high ?
To go from raw root to a medium grind at least, I'm assuming that because the roots are so thick, hard, and plentiful, that it might require a heavy-duty, industrial piece of equipment, which would in turn be expensive, in order to do the job.
But I could be wrong about that aspect. The only thing I am an expert in, is drinking the kava, not the production of kava.
 

nabanga

Kava Enthusiast
Kava is one of the few commercial crops that a handful of melanesian and polynesian nations can make significant export dollars from, and some like Vanuatu are very keen on protecting their intellectual property and retaining their cultivated varieties inside their borders. There was a large backlash recently when an Australian politician visited Vanuatu and suggested growing kava commercially in Australia.

News Article - Legalizing and Farming Kava in Australia. | Kava Forums
 

Kojo Douglas

The Kavasseur
Kava is one of the few commercial crops that a handful of melanesian and polynesian nations can make significant export dollars from, and some like Vanuatu are very keen on protecting their intellectual property and retaining their cultivated varieties inside their borders. There was a large backlash recently when an Australian politician visited Vanuatu and suggested growing kava commercially in Australia.

News Article - Legalizing and Farming Kava in Australia. | Kava Forums

This might be an unpopular opinion, but here we go....

Biopiracy is when a powerful company or organization takes an indigenous plant, medicine, etc. and puts a patent on it or appropriates it to a scale that disadvantages the group who discovered it, profited from it, or otherwise used it. That's the expanded definition. The actual definition usually requires a patent that restricts the general use of that plant to the company or persons owning the patent.

That douche bag in Florida who tried to copyright "bula" is a pirate. Not a bio-pirate, mind you, but just a filthy capitalist appropriating a word from another language for his own benefit.

The problem with raising flags about biopiracy and Kava in the instance of the Australia case, or Kava grown in California, or Costa Rica, or anywhere is that Kava already belongs to too many people.

Maize was a sacred plant to the Navajo, the Anasazi, and many other Native American groups. Should maize not be grown elsewhere? At what point should the spread of maize have been stopped? Do we violate the rights of native Americans every time we bite into a tamale or grill some corn on the cob?

Who are the original owners of Kava? Papuans? ni-Vanuatu? Fijians? Hawaiians? Where is the cut off for who gets to benefit from it?

Until someone tries to patent Kava - which I have a hard time foreseeing - there is really no argument or case for biopiracy.

The most you can say about the Australia incident is that they are hypocrites. Really, really big hypocrites who should be ashamed of themselves.
 

Michael Nielsen

Kava Enthusiast
This might be an unpopular opinion, but here we go....

Biopiracy is when a powerful company or organization takes an indigenous plant, medicine, etc. and puts a patent on it or appropriates it to a scale that disadvantages the group who discovered it, profited from it, or otherwise used it. That's the expanded definition. The actual definition usually requires a patent that restricts the general use of that plant to the company or persons owning the patent.

That douche bag in Florida who tried to copyright "bula" is a pirate. Not a bio-pirate, mind you, but just a filthy capitalist appropriating a word from another language for his own benefit.

The problem with raising flags about biopiracy and Kava in the instance of the Australia case, or Kava grown in California, or Costa Rica, or anywhere is that Kava already belongs to too many people.

Maize was a sacred plant to the Navajo, the Anasazi, and many other Native American groups. Should maize not be grown elsewhere? At what point should the spread of maize have been stopped? Do we violate the rights of native Americans every time we bite into a tamale or grill some corn on the cob?

Who are the original owners of Kava? Papuans? ni-Vanuatu? Fijians? Hawaiians? Where is the cut off for who gets to benefit from it?

Until someone tries to patent Kava - which I have a hard time foreseeing - there is really no argument or case for biopiracy.

The most you can say about the Australia incident is that they are hypocrites. Really, really big hypocrites who should be ashamed of themselves.

I believe that native people in the pacific do have an opertunity to make a profit on kava, but they need to take action.

I wonder what Chinas plans are..
 

Plantacious

Kava Enthusiast
This might be an unpopular opinion, but here we go....

Biopiracy is when a powerful company or organization takes an indigenous plant, medicine, etc. and puts a patent on it
I seriously did not believe that was even legally possible - to patent just a plant alone.
My understanding is when it comes to medicinal or supplemental products, that only synthetic versions (medications) or proprietary blends of substances (synthetic or natural) could be patented.
But I have always heard that you could not patent just one, singular, natural plant by itself.
If I am wrong, could you clarify what instances that this is possible ?
 
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Alia

'Awa Grower/Collector
This might be an unpopular opinion, but here we go....

Biopiracy is when a powerful company or organization takes an indigenous plant, medicine, etc. and puts a patent on it or appropriates it to a scale that disadvantages the group who discovered it, profited from it, or otherwise used it. That's the expanded definition. The actual definition usually requires a patent that restricts the general use of that plant to the company or persons owning the patent.

That douche bag in Florida who tried to copyright "bula" is a pirate. Not a bio-pirate, mind you, but just a filthy capitalist appropriating a word from another language for his own benefit.

The problem with raising flags about biopiracy and Kava in the instance of the Australia case, or Kava grown in California, or Costa Rica, or anywhere is that Kava already belongs to too many people.

Maize was a sacred plant to the Navajo, the Anasazi, and many other Native American groups. Should maize not be grown elsewhere? At what point should the spread of maize have been stopped? Do we violate the rights of native Americans every time we bite into a tamale or grill some corn on the cob?

Who are the original owners of Kava? Papuans? ni-Vanuatu? Fijians? Hawaiians? Where is the cut off for who gets to benefit from it?

Until someone tries to patent Kava - which I have a hard time foreseeing - there is really no argument or case for biopiracy.

The most you can say about the Australia incident is that they are hypocrites. Really, really big hypocrites who should be ashamed of themselves.
You make some very good points here. I am reminded that years ago a company in Honolulu (2 brothers as I recall) began the process of patenting a method of propagating 'awa which involved using a single internode! Exacting what we'd been doing for a decade or more. I don't know if they ever followed through but it is an interesting comparison.
 

Michael Nielsen

Kava Enthusiast
I seriously did not believe that was even legally possible - to patent just a plant alone.
My understanding is when it comes to medicinal or supplemental products, that only synthetic versions or proprietary blends of substances (synthetic or natural) could be patented.
But I have always heard that you could not patent just one, singular, natural plant by itself.
If I am wrong, could you clarify what instances that this is possible ?
I think its relevant if its GMO plants.
 

_byron

Kava Enthusiast
This might be an unpopular opinion, but here we go....

Biopiracy is when a powerful company or organization takes an indigenous plant, medicine, etc. and puts a patent on it or appropriates it to a scale that disadvantages the group who discovered it, profited from it, or otherwise used it. That's the expanded definition. The actual definition usually requires a patent that restricts the general use of that plant to the company or persons owning the patent.

That douche bag in Florida who tried to copyright "bula" is a pirate. Not a bio-pirate, mind you, but just a filthy capitalist appropriating a word from another language for his own benefit.

The problem with raising flags about biopiracy and Kava in the instance of the Australia case, or Kava grown in California, or Costa Rica, or anywhere is that Kava already belongs to too many people.

Maize was a sacred plant to the Navajo, the Anasazi, and many other Native American groups. Should maize not be grown elsewhere? At what point should the spread of maize have been stopped? Do we violate the rights of native Americans every time we bite into a tamale or grill some corn on the cob?

Who are the original owners of Kava? Papuans? ni-Vanuatu? Fijians? Hawaiians? Where is the cut off for who gets to benefit from it?

Until someone tries to patent Kava - which I have a hard time foreseeing - there is really no argument or case for biopiracy.

The most you can say about the Australia incident is that they are hypocrites. Really, really big hypocrites who should be ashamed of themselves.
I just have to put my thought to this, as I know I have state it plenty of times in the zoom calls.

My first point is why? Just because it has happen in the past to other crops, why is this a solid reasoning it should happen again?

"Bowman v. Monsanto Co., 569 U.S. 278 (2013), was a United States Supreme Court patent decision in which the Court unanimously affirmed the decision of the Federal Circuit that the patent exhaustion doctrine does not permit a farmer to plant and grow saved, patented seeds without the patent owner's permission.[1]"

So what makes Kava a 3000 year old human created plant make it not the same case as Monsanto here.

is Monsanto not an organization of many people...

The area kava is grown in not know for being prosperous and not having many cash crops. Other area were kava could grow have more chances at economic development from other means so why would we take there chances at thriving in this world away.

Along with that the pacific islands are number one at risk for climate disasters in which the western nation who now wish to exploit kava caused. So at the very least the islands having kava can be there safety net for the disaster we created.

Please follow up on why I am wrong here and that we should allow kava to be stolen from the lands in which it is there intellectual property.

I do not see any reasoning behind how this is moral unless it is treated the same as Monsanto. Anything else is straight up theft. Just like any IP theft.
 
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Kapmcrunk

The Kaptain (40g)
KavaForums Founder
Lots of good points in this thread. I'm just going to post some research related to the current topic.

Lindstrom, Lamont. 2009. “Kava Pirates in Vanuatu?” International Journal of Cultural Property 16 (03): 291–308. https://sci-hub.se/https://doi.org/10.1017/S0940739109990208

Robinson, Daniel, Margaret Raven, Elizabeth Makin, Donna Kalfatak, Francis Hickey, and Trinison Tari. 2021. “Legal Geographies of Kava, Kastom and Indigenous Knowledge: Next Steps under the Nagoya Protocol.” Geoforum; Journal of Physical, Human, and Regional Geosciences 118 (January): 169–79. https://sci-hub.se/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.11.001

Ji, Fei. 2014. “Pass the Kava: Implications for Patent Protections over Traditional Knowledge in Samoa’s New Intellectual Property Act of 2011.” Hous. J. Int’l L. 36: 789. http://www.hjil.org/articles/hjil-36-3-ji.pdf
 

Alia

'Awa Grower/Collector
Lots of good points in this thread. I'm just going to post some research related to the current topic.

Lindstrom, Lamont. 2009. “Kava Pirates in Vanuatu?” International Journal of Cultural Property 16 (03): 291–308. https://sci-hub.se/https://doi.org/10.1017/S0940739109990208

Robinson, Daniel, Margaret Raven, Elizabeth Makin, Donna Kalfatak, Francis Hickey, and Trinison Tari. 2021. “Legal Geographies of Kava, Kastom and Indigenous Knowledge: Next Steps under the Nagoya Protocol.” Geoforum; Journal of Physical, Human, and Regional Geosciences 118 (January): 169–79. https://sci-hub.se/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.11.001

Ji, Fei. 2014. “Pass the Kava: Implications for Patent Protections over Traditional Knowledge in Samoa’s New Intellectual Property Act of 2011.” Hous. J. Int’l L. 36: 789. http://www.hjil.org/articles/hjil-36-3-ji.pdf
These research related papers are all excellent. Doesn't it all come down to a moral question rather than a legal question.
Even the Codex alimentarius listings will not be legally binding however I don't think you will be able to label kava as
"food/beverage" unless you are on the list of Codex accepted areas and each region can only label as food/beverage the kava cultivars of their region.
" In September 2020 the Commission formally adopted the Kava Standards which means the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and 10 Pacific Island states can now trade kava products amongst themselves as a food and beverage".
 
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