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Ag convention going virtual

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Lanipo Farms’ offering at the Farmers Market at The Shops at Kukui‘ula include freshly-harvested fruits and vegetables.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kelvin Moniz, the executive director for the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank, shops and supports a farm vendor for produce that will be part of a community food distribution at The Shops at Kukui‘ula.

HONOLULU — Celebrating Hawai‘i’s Agriculture is the theme for this year’s Hawai‘i Farmers Union United convention that is intended to be a regenerative exploration of our environment and how it inter-relates to our well-being as individuals and as a species said a spokesperson for the Hawai‘i Farmers Union United.

“Ten years ago, Hawai‘i’s farmers planted a seed with the intention to bring the agricultural community together by sharing knowledge and experience, while representing existing and future food producers,” said HFUU President Vincent Mina. “Collectively, we can improve our state’s agricultural future, promoting food security through a resilient whole systems approach to a diverse farm economy.”

The convention that will be held between Nov. 12 through 15 will feature a video series highlighting the stories of Hawai‘i farmers who are innovating during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with interactive question-and-answer sessions and networking opportunities.

Presented on an interactive virtual platform, the convention will offer sessions for anyone who values local food systems, including farmers, gardeners, and foodies in Hawai‘i, and around the world. Live-streamed keynote sessions and panel discussions will be led by renowned regenerative agricultural experts, including Paul Stamets, star of the film “Fantastic Fungi,” Dr. Elaine Ingham who mapped the soil food web, Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farm, Sandor Katz, author of “Wild Fermentations,” agro-ecologist Ray Archuleta, Dr. Zach Bush of “Farmer’s Footprint,” and Jeff Moyer, CEO of the Rodale Institute, and Don Heacock of Kaua‘i.

Discussion topics by more than 50 presentations will spotlight regenerative farming techniques, soil food web health, our gut microbiome, composting, cover crops, as well as aquaponics, hemp and mushroom production, and more.

The convention will also feature farm tours including Kaua‘i’s Moloa‘a Organica‘a Farm, and bring together acclaimed Hawai‘i chef demonstrations and questions and answer sessions from the field that includes LeeAnne Wong, Jeff Scheer, Lee Anderson, Marc McDowell, and Angel Green.

Entertainment sessions will include nearly two dozen national and locally-based performers including Willie Nelson and the Boys, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson, Edie Brickell, Michael McDonald, Ricky Lee Jones, Pat Simmons Jr. and Sr., Daniel Lanois, Rocco De Luca, Gail Swanson, Josh Klinghoffer and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Emily Turner. Hawai‘i-based artists include Makana, Jack Johnson, Mike Loove, Tavana, Marty Dread, and Paul Izak.

Interactive sessions start at $10 and can be purchased ala carte through the HFUU.org website. Full registration for the three days is $65 for HFUU members, and $125 that includes membership and viewing of all presentations for up to a year.

Support for the convention is through a grant from the County of Maui and a number of individual sponsors.

The Hawai‘i Farmers Union United is a leading statewide agricultural organization and chartered chapter of the National Farmers Union. HFUU is celebrating 10 years serving Hawai‘i farmers and the local food economy with this special interactive virtual convention.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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