Letter Of Aloha – Spring 2015

MHH_2026Last Fall, I had the privilege to be sent to Italy by Slow Food Maui as a delegate to Slow Food International’s Terra Madre and Salone De Gusto conference. The lessons and connections made there were innumerable and the infl uence of this event seems to grow with each passing day.

The driving focus this past year at Terra Madre was family farming. Throughout the week the importance of the family farm to a thriving community was communicated in a variety of ways. Smaller sustainable farms feed the specifi c and diverse needs of a particular community and land, and also serves to nourish and perpetuate a unique culture and sense of place. This is something that we see more of in countries where cuisine is very specifi c to the land and environment people live in. In the U.S. where so many different cultures converge, it’s much different and we rarely see cuisine that is purely regional and tied to the land.

I carried this idea with me as we ventured into our GROW issue this Spring and became acutely aware of the unique circumstance we have here on the islands of Hawai‘i. Not only does our remote and separate location provide us with very specifi c food sustainability needs, it also creates a very real potential for us to grow exactly what we need and want to eat.

This issue takes us through a new but ancient way of growing greens in Hydroponics and Aquaponics, the creation of a new generation of farmers in our Meet Your Farmer department as well as our interview with Jack Johnson about the work he does with children and farming in his foundation, Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation. We’ve also included our 2nd Annual Farm Guide. It’s a gorgeous insert designed to be pulled out and taken with you as you tour farms in your area.

You’ll also notice a very intentioned focus on the crops that are natural to our land. Scott Hiraishi created four amazing recipes for us using canoe crops in our Cooking Fresh department. And for our features, we couldn’t resist highlighting the growing Cacao industry we are developing here in Hawai‘i and sharing a very special look into W.S. Merwin’s new partnership with Hawai‘i Island Land Trust to create a conservancy of his gorgeous palm tree collection in Ha‘iku. There are also a handful of delicious drink recipes using locally sourced coconut and a variety of fruits.

This issue is both about the diversity of the foods we have on this land as it is about connecting all of us consumers, to the farms and its farmers. We are a community tied by land and sea in a very special way. I invite you all to join us on Saturday May 23rd for Edible Hawaiian Islands Statewide Farm Day.

We’re heading out to meet our growers and you’re invited! Join the fun by visiting a farm, taking a farm tour with your family or shopping at a farmers market. Share your experience on social media using the hashtag #EHIFarmDay15. We’ll be tracking Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for great photos and stories.

Let’s come together and celebrate food and those who grow it for us!

Elena Rego