"Chefs & Farmers Facing Future" forum focuses on Hawaii food sustainability

Leeward Community College
Tommylynn Benavente, (808) 455-0298
Marketing Officer, Culinary Arts Program
Kathleen R. Cabral
Marketing Officer, Chancellor's Office
Posted: Mar 31, 2011

Food forum at Leeward Community College
Food forum at Leeward Community College

Creating a more sustainable, food-independent Hawaiʻi is the focus of “Chefs & Farmers Facing Future,” a forum presented by Leeward Community College Culinary Arts Program. The daylong forum is presented on Friday, April 15 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the College Theatre. Chefs join with farmers and ranchers to find ways to move Hawaiʻi’s food independence forward.

Sessions range from Hawaii Regional Cuisine to protein security with discussions on aquaculture and Hawaiʻi’s beef industry, and opportunities to talk with industry professionals and culinary students about the future of food in Hawaiʻi. The forum is designed for chefs, culinary students, farmers, ranchers, other food industry professionals, and community members interested in Hawaiʻi’s sustainable future.

Hawaiʻi is the most geographically isolated community and heavily dependent on imported food and fuel. Roughly 85 percent of the food consumed in the island state is imported, which makes Hawaii highly vulnerable in times of crisis. The tragedy in Japan and rising cost of oil is a wake up call for Hawaiʻi to take serious steps toward becoming more food self-sufficient.

The list of chefs committed to engage in the conversation include renowned Hawaiʻi Regional Cuisine chefs such as Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi and Peter Merriman—along with culinary professionals representing Oʻahu’s top resorts: the Halekulani Hotel, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the new Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina.

Participating food producers include Big Island rancher Michelle Galimba of Kuahiwi Ranch, Alex Franco of Maui Cattle Company, Richard Ha of the Big Isle’s Hamakua Springs Country Farms and aquaculturist Norbert Sporns of Seattle’s HQ Sustainable Maritime Industries.

“The amount of talent gathering under one roof to address increasing local food production is unprecedented,” says the college’s culinary arts program director, Tommylynn Benavente. “An event such as this has never been staged before and we expect creative solutions and action to come out of this forum.”

The impact of food import replacement is significant. According to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, replacing just 10 percent of the food Hawaiʻi currently imports would amount to approximately $313 million. Assuming a 30 percent farm share, $94 million would be realized at the farm-gate, which would generate an economy-wide impact of an additional $188 million in sales, $47 million in earnings, $6 million in state tax revenues, and more that 2,300 jobs.

Joining the Leeward’s Culinary Arts Program in staging the event are the co-founders of She Grows Food.

Limited seating is available to the general public with a $20 admission fee, which includes a locavore tasting. To register visit www.shegrowsfood.com. For more information contact Dan Nakasone at (808) 622-4032 or email at ad-venture@hawaii.rr.com.


For more information, visit: http://www.shegrowsfood.com