On May 7, 2013, Seeds of Hope was screened before an audience of approximately 30 people on the lanai of Whole Foods, Kailua, O‘ahu. Presented by the store’s marketing manager Dabney Gough and introduced by Hawai‘i Rural Development Council Board Chair Alan Murakami, regular clients of the health food chain and residents of Kailua town enjoyed dinner as they watched the film in the store’s breezy outdoor space.
After the film, there was a question-and-answer period in which viewers brought up concerns dealing primarily with the access to healthy, local produce. As Gough pointed out, it’s not always easy to know where and how to support local growers and although Whole Foods does its part, there are many other points of connection between Hawai‘i farmers and the general public, including farmers markets and CSAs like that run by MA‘O Farms in Wai‘anae. Joe Franke, visiting from the mainland, pointed out that companies like Walmart had made use of electronic information systems to connect buyers with retailers in a way that has not been fully explored in the local food movement.
The HRDC was honored by the presence of respected taro farmer and educator Paul Reppun and his wife Laurie, whose work protecting traditional farming practices and community-based economic development was featured in the film. Reppun stressed the importance of every individual taking part in this movement: from utilizing the thousands of unused acres of land in private homes to grow edible crops even for private consumption, to voting with food dollars to support local farmers. Both Paul and Laurie are advocates of the local Slow Food movement and their diversified farm on the Windward side is a highly-recognized example of how diversified farming can thrive in the Islands.
Murakami, in response to a question about the difficulties in accessing resources for food production, gave an overview of the legal and legislative battles to preserve prime agricultural lands and especially water for local farming. His work with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation have provided a sobering background to the tension between development and food production that is currently being played out in Hawai‘i. “We need positive examples to inspire people, in addition to the resistance to development and economic ineterests,” he stressed. “It’s important to have both sides of the coin so that people can see what is possible and get motivated by that.”