On February 23 and 24, 2013, in collaboration with the Maui County Office of Economic Development (OED), Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC), Ala Kukui Retreat Center – Hana and the Kipahulu ‘Ohana, HRDC produced two screenings and forum discussions in Hana and Kahului.
The event in Hana, on the evening of Saturday, February 23, was attended by approximately 50 people representing a broad mixture of the small Hana town. The audience included local Hana farmers, malihini farmers and general community members. In addition to HRDC board member and Seeds of Hope Executive Producer Kevin Chang and filmmaker Danny Miller, John Lind was a featured guest speaker. Lind is cofounder of Kapahu Living Farm in Kīpahulu, Maui, dedicated to educating residents and visitors about the ways of ancient Hawaiians through cultural demonstrations and hands-on activities, hosting hundreds of visitors each year locally and from around the world. Kapahu is a four-acre organic farm—with 30 taro patches as well as sugarcane, banana, breadfruit, coconut, and kukui—is located within Haleakalā National Park.
On the afternoon of Sunday, February 24, Seeds of Hope was shown at the McCoy Theatre in the state-of-the-art MACC, one of Hawai‘i’s premiere cultural venues. Attended by an audience of 200, the film was followed by a lively discussion introduced by Maui County OED Teena Rasmussen, who described her own family farming background and the dire need to make local agriculture an economically viable and publically supported industry. The screening was also attended by Maui County Council Member Elle Cochran.
A panel discussion moderated by HRDC’s Catherine Mariko Black shared the perspectives of Chang, Miller, Kupa‘a Farms founder Gerry Ross and Ulupalakua Ranch owner/Hawai‘i Water Commission member Sumner Erdman. Ross underscored the need for small-scale, independent and sustainable farming initiatives (Kupa‘a Farms is a biological, sustainable farm in Kula) and the importance of educating the next generation of farmers through innovative programs in schools and community organizations. Erdman touched on the importance of reviewing and revising our regulatory system so that farming initiatives can grow and thrive more easily. Various audience members emphasized the need to circulate these stories and create awareness in the broader public, especially schools and educational institutions.
Below are the results of the audience exit survey taken in Kahului.