October 1, 2022

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How this Hawaiian food competition is offering back to the island community

The Hawaii Food stuff and Wine Festival allows guests discover about the oceans, land and sustainability

Ocean look at from Kuoloa Ranch — Image courtesy of Marla Ciimini

Pulling weeds in the scorching sun was never a single of my preferred routines, but which is accurately what I was executing on the island of Oahu in Hawaii final fall. Additional accurately, we had been “clearing land,” as our manual defined to us throughout an immersive volunteer activity on the sprawling Kualoa Ranch, a 4,000-acre personal nature reserve.

This academic (and surprisingly enjoyable!) knowledge was arranged by the Hawaii Foodstuff and Wine Competition. So, my partner and I, together with a little team of cooks, food stuff gurus and attendees, participated in an early early morning hike in which we figured out about taro cultivation even though functioning together to re-direct a small stream and re-plant seedlings in stunning pure environment. Overall, it was a unforgettable finding out working experience with spectacular views – and it turned out to be an enlightening and motivating way to start our working day.

Blending culinary occasions with immersive volunteer encounters, The Hawaii Food and Wine Pageant (HFWF) is inspiring pageant company to come to be more actively associated with sustainability and learn about how to treatment for the ocean as nicely as the land. By remaining actively included in the group, this corporation reveals they are about much a lot more than sophisticated dining situations showcasing earth-course chefs.

Now in its 12th calendar year, the HFWF was launched by CEO Denise Yamaguchi along with award-successful cooks Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong. This robust organization’s once-a-year event draws in chefs and food-lovers from Hawaii and across the earth – and most importantly, provides back to the islands on an ongoing basis.

HFWF CEO Denise Yamaguchi and HFWF co-founder chef Roy Yamaguchi with volunteers in the taro patch at Papahana Kualoa — Picture courtesy of Hawaii Food items & Wine Pageant, Makaha Studios

As the Hawaii Food and Wine fest progressed, the business has determined strategies to link cooks, food stuff and beverage professionals, and festival members immediately with neighborhood culinary society. In 2021, as people designed a a lot more mindful return to Hawaii in the course of the pandemic, the festival’s organizers designed various new academic, culinary-concentrated volunteer pursuits. They center on the value of caring for the land and ocean, as perfectly as supplying again via linking culinary expertise with marketing numerous agricultural abundance and the purely natural setting.

“At the core, our festival is about sustainability,” describes Denise Yamaguchi. “The Hawaiians were being the moment 100% sustainable, so it was vital that we tell that story from a cultural and historical viewpoint. Around the many years, we have viewed how the competition and its contributors can have a positive impact on assisting these organizations. This sensibility is grounded in the exact values we have always held – advertising and marketing our assorted agricultural abundance, outstanding culinary talent and spectacular natural atmosphere.”

Chef Alan Wong wheeling the invasive species out of Mālama Loko EaChef Alan Wong wheeling the invasive species out of Mālama Loko Ea — Photograph courtesy of Hawaii Foodstuff & Wine Competition, Makaha Studios

In 2021, the festival’s Mālama ‘Āina theme aligned flawlessly with Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s personal marketing campaign, “Mālama Hawai‘i” that debuted past calendar year. It encourages visitors to actively discover about sustainability and take part in volunteer experiences to preserve and uplift the islands. Components of these pursuits across the islands involve planting new seedlings, eradicating invasive species of crops, fishpond get the job done projects, harvesting crops, learning about lifestyle, seaside clean-ups and much more.

Jay Talwar, Main Promoting Officer for Hawaiʻi Tourism United States, spelled out, “Our Mālama Hawaiʻi initiative aims to catch the attention of guests who care about perpetuating the beauty and society of the position they are going to. It is a trigger that resonates throughout our islands and sector, and we are very pleased of companions like the Hawaii Food and Wine Competition that have incorporated voluntourism chances within just their programming.”

A handful of of the distinctive ordeals made by the Hawaii Foodstuff and Wine Competition this previous slide concerned a number of organizations, together with Papahana Kuaola and Paepae o Heeia, two nonprofits that have been longtime HFWF partners. The two are Hawaii-primarily based academic-focused agricultural organizations with a multitude of programs.

Below are some examples of these experiences:

  • Doing the job with Papahana Kuaola, an entity that connects the group with the natural setting. This working experience involves prepping, weeding and harvesting taro.
  • Becoming a member of Paepae o He’eia, a team committed to rehabilitating the historical He’eia Fishpond on Oahu. The volunteers learn about the pond’s ecosystem, redistribute rock and coral, take away invasive mangrove and limu (seaweed), and help to reconstruct the fishpond wall.
  • Volunteering with Kuleana Coral, a team devoted to restoring coral reefs all over Oahu. Contributors study how to label coral for preservation while finding the importance of restoring reefs.

Marla Cimini (author) with Chris Grova volunteering at Kuoloa RanchMarla Cimini (writer) with Chris Grova volunteering at Kuoloa Ranch — Image courtesy of Marla Cimini

Yamaguchi discussed, “It was wonderful that this 12 months we were being equipped to lover with so lots of other individuals performing wonderful function to market and more foodstuff, conservation and environmental sustainability all over the islands. We, alongside with our cooks, attendees and stakeholders received so considerably by means of the volunteer activities in the lo’i (drinking water taro patch) and on the shorelines. Our chef associates are the bloodline of the pageant and we appreciate their willingness to find out a lot more about our islands. With firsthand experiences like Mālama ‘Āina, they turn out to be advocates for food sustainability and our ambassadors for Hawai’i.”

She extra, “Mālama ‘Āina was a substantial good results and highlighted our main values of sustainability, education and duty. For 2022, the festival designs to continue its volunteer actions. We want to create on what we reached this previous year of fostering a greater appreciation for Hawaii’s natural resources by educating people and readers about our collective responsibility to care for the land.”

In the fall of 2022, the Hawaii Food stuff and Wine Pageant will be supplying a number of new and fascinating volunteer ordeals. Company can signal up in advance. The festival’s functions are scheduled for late October and early November on 3 of Hawaii’s islands: Maui, Hawaii and Oahu. Be positive to check the festival’s web page for updates.

The taro fields at HoʻokuaʻāinaThe taro fields at Hoʻokuaʻāina — Photo courtesy of Hawaii Food items & Wine Festival, Makaha Studios

Fascinated in volunteering? There are a number of resorts in Hawaii that present volunteer plans for friends to master about sustainability, such as: