by: MARTHA CHENG
Interested in the issues that face Hawaii agriculture? Or the current state of Hawaii ag? Or just want to know how to cook with your CSA box? Then consider the Hawaii Agriculture Conference, September 20 and 21 at the Hawaii Convention Center.
While the biennial conference has always been geared toward people in all aspects of the food system, from vegan personal chefs to ranchers to organic farmers to seed companies, this year, organizers are making an effort to engage the general public, too. They're offering a "foodie pass" so that even if you don't want to engage in deep conversations about Hawaii agriculture, you can literally get a taste of Hawaii ag during a 100-percent locally-sourced lunch and chef demos which include:
- CSA inspired meals featuring Oahu Fresh and convention center chef Gary Matsumoto
- "Cooking within an ahupuaa" with Mark Noguchi of Pili Hawaii
- "Chop Block Secrets" with Alejandro Briceno of Prima and The Whole Ox Deli
"People are realizing that the future of ag in Hawaii is not just in the interest of farmers and ranchers but of everyone," says Amanda Corby, one of the conference organizers. "From tourism and fine dining to politics and healthcare, what and how we grow and produce food in Hawaii is on everyone's agenda."
Some of the speakers and panelists slated for the conference:
- Larry Jefts, farmer of one of Hawaii's largest farms
- Dutch Kuyper, CEO of Parker Ranch
- Kyle Datta of Ulupono Initiative, focusing on local food production and renewable energy and funded by Pierre Omidyar
- Denise Albano, president of Feed the Hunger Foundation, providing micro loans to farmers and food businesses
"The goal is to give all participants a better understanding of the model of the whole food system, how they fit and what they can do to participate in their own future," Corby says.
$275 for the two day conference (registration ends September 17), $100 for the foodie pass (registration open until sold out), hawaiiagconference.org
The loi at Papahana Kuaola, a non-profit in Kaneohe whose mission is to create quality education programs focused on Hawai‘i’s cultural and natural history. Papahana Kuaola will be participating in the conference as part of Hanohana Heeia.