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Hui Holomua Business Fest to examine Hawaii’s food security 

By Staff | Sep 27, 2018

Chef Sam Choy will be the keynote speaker at the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce’s 12th annual Hui Holomua Business Fest.

KAHULUI – The Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce’s 12th annual Hui Holomua Business Fest, entitled “Ko koa uka, ko koa kai – Those of the upland, those of the shore,” will examine the interdependence between those who grow, manufacture, prepare and consume food.

This business conference is slated for 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the King Kamehameha Golf Club in Waikapu.

Over the past 30 years, Hawaii’s ability to produce its own food has steadily dwindled. The state now imports 90 percent of its calories from elsewhere.

According to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, by 2045, Hawaii will need to feed 1.65 million people. An agricultural revolution here and now is the best way to prevent future famine in the islands.

“With some 36,000 acres of HC&S former sugar plantation lands now lying fallow and the loss of nearly 2,000 acres of pineapple cultivation, Maui finds itself at an agricultural crossroads,” said MNHCoC President Teri Freitas Gorman.

“The bare supermarkets shelves following Hurricane Lane demonstrate how dependent we are upon other places for our food. With the right vision and leadership, Maui can capitalize on a rare opportunity to become the state’s bread basket.”

The first presentation, “‘Aina Momona (productive land),” will demonstrate how Hawaii’s largest private landowner, Kamehameha Schools, is repurposing much of its land for agricultural use based in Hawaiian traditions.

State Sen. Brickwood Galuteria will moderate a discussion by leaders of the state’s four Native Hawaiian Chambers of Commerce about how the business of food must change to properly feed our people.

The luncheon keynote speaker, Chef Sam Choy, will talk about his bumpy road to success as one of the influential leaders of the Hawaiian Regional Cuisine “farm to table” approach.

The afternoon will focus on the farmers themselves. Farmer and state representative from Molokai, Lynn DeCoite, will moderate a multigenerational panel of farmers to explore what it will take to grow the farmers who will grow our food.

Another panel, moderated by Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, will focus on those who have established successful careers in food, including manufacturing, chefs, food service managers and restaurateurs.

Hawaiian cultural practitioner and popular speaker Ramsay Taum will summarize the day’s presentations through a Hawaiian cultural lens.

Event sponsors underwrite scholarships for up to 50 high school students to attend the conference at no charge.

Hawaiian cultural protocol is always featured at the festival. Traditional Hawaiian music by Auntie Alexa Vaught will welcome attendees to the continental breakfast.

Opening protocol is under the direction of the Royal Order of Kamehameha. Students from Kamehameha Schools Maui will provide traditional pule and oli throughout the day.

And because education is central to the mission of MNHCoC, a charity auction will benefit Punana Leo O Maui Hawaiian Language Immersion School.

Seating is limited to 350 guests. Admission is $75 for members and $85 for non-members.

RSVP and pay in advance at www.mnhcoc.org/businessfest/, or pay by phone by calling (808) 757-3045. Guests should register early, because this conference always sells out.

MNHCoC’s mission is “to promote and sustain Hawaiian values and culture, and enhance the socio-economic status of Native Hawaiians in business and as individuals.” Membership is open to anyone with an interest in perpetuating the spirit of aloha through commerce, culture and community. For more information, go to www.mnhcoc.org.