Over 170 people came together to discuss "Big, Hairy, Audacious Ideas for a Hawai‘i Food Revolution" at Kapiolani Community College on Tuesday. The topic of conversation was how to make locally grown food accessible for everyone.
Speakers brought forward local solutions like accepting EBT (aka "food stamps") at farmers markets, having CSA (community supported agriculture) subscriptions paid for by health care companies, bringing fresh food into communities through mobile farmers markets and having schools sell produce they grow right on school grounds. A major thread throughout the night was the importance of taking direction and leadership from within communities themselves, ensuring that those who are most impacted are at the table to determine the best ways forward. There is a great deal of interest in community participation in determining food policies - including access to agricultural land, and policies affecting small local farmers, distributors, restaurants and markets.
Videos from the Forum:
Lisa Asagi, co-founder of She Grows Food & co-manager of O‘ahu farmers markets for the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, speaks about her own experience and perspective from growing up and living in lower Kalihi, the effort to accept SNAP benefits at farmers markets, and "phase 2" of taking mobile farmers markets into food deserts and low income communities
Kamuela Enos, Director of Social Enterprise at Kauhale, speaks about the Kauhale model — an indigenous community redevelopment corporation comprised of a merger between MA`O Organic Farms, Searider Productions and Makaha Studios, and the opportunity for reconnecting to the 'aina, redefining sustainability, and reclaiming the food system.
Dexter Kishida, School Food Coordinator, Kōkua Hawai`i Foundation, ʻĀina In Schools Program, speaks about sparking innovation in island schools: empowering students, parents, teachers and administrators to re-define what they eat, how food is prepared on campus, who provides it and where it comes from.
Ed Kenney, Chef/Owner, Town/Downtown Restaurants, turns the cliche of having the audience throw vegetables at the speaker on its head. He also brings an entire pig on stage to demonstrate a chef's responsibility for creating new business models that value people, planet, and profit. "There is no conflict between a better meal and a better world."
Ashley Lukens, Department of Political Science, UH Manoa, actually manages to make food policy sexy talking about the role each of us can play weilding the policy weapon to empower our businesses, farmers, and communities to create a sustainable food system in Hawai'i.
All questions from audience members are being written up and will be posted soon. We closed the forum with an invitation to make a commitment to take action in support of a healthy, sustainable, secure local food system. This forum was the first in a series of collaborations between the Hawai‘i Food Policy Council, Kanu Hawaii and The Culinary Arts Department of Kapi‘olani Community College.
A special thanks to all the farmers who donated local produce for the event and CHEFS Hawaii, EAT Cafe and Sweet Home Waimanalo for preparing the incredibly ono, local food that fed our spirits as well as our bellies!
See more photos of the Forum.
About the Forum Partners:
The Culinary Institude of the Pacific at Kapi`olani Community College
The mission of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific (CIP) is to offer to Hawaii and the global community career, technical, cultural, and culinary education and training. Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF), the Kapiʻolani campus offers a world-class learning environment that includes ten instructional kitchens, a 130-seat demonstration auditorium, as well as on campus restaurants and banquet rooms. The CIP's culinary education program excels in blending the techniques, traditions, and influences of Asia and the Pacific with the classical styles of Europe and American regional cuisine.www.culinary.kcc.hawaii.edu
Hawai`i Food Policy Council
The vision of the HFPC is empowered communities driving a healthy sustainable food system. The mission of the HFPC is to engage communities and ignite change across Hawaii's food system through education, analysis, and project facilitation. www.HawaiiFoodPolicyCouncil.org
The Kaiser Permanente Foundation
Kaiser Permanente exists to provide affordable, high quality healthcare services to improve the health of its members and the communities they serve. Kaiser’s vision is to be the model for quality health care in the nation by being the best place to work and the best place to receive care. www.kaiserpermanente.org
Kōkua Hawai`i Foundation
The Kokua Hawai'i Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports environmental education in the schools and communities of Hawai'i. Their mission is to provide students with experiences that will enhance their appreciation for and understanding of their environment so they will be lifelong stewards of the earth.www.kokuahawaiifoundation.org
Kanu Hawaii is a movement of everyday people drawing on island strengths to make Hawaii a model of environmental sustainability, economic resilience and compassionate community. Kanu pursues this vision through an "island style" activism that starts with changing ourselves before pointing any fingers; trying to lead by example, then asking others -- including our neighbors, businesses, and government -- to change with us. www.kanuhawaii.org