My interest in food goes beyond eating it. I have a part-time obsession with the politics and policies behind it; shockingly despite my blog name I really do think we should eat less meat, buy local and move toward organic sustainability.
So coming to Maui is fascinating because it is secluded and isolated and getting anything here means a 7 day freight or a very costly flight.
It’s also why Maui is comparatively expensive. People are shocked to see $9 gallons or milk or $6 loaves of bread. These aren’t pricing mistakes. Costco recently entered the picture and have become a savior to some and a source of resentment for local competitors trying to make a living.
In just a few days here it I’ve noticed that many people in Maui are starting to rethink things and local is becoming increasingly important to support local business and keep prices competitive.
But there is one major problem.
The average age of a local farmer is 61. At a time when expertise and experience is most needed, an entire generation is moving toward retirement. The younger generation may be interested in food but being a farmer isn’t as sexy as an executive chef, which also opens opportunities on the mainland.
And so the community created the Maui’s Agricultural Festival. It’s not like any other food festival I’ve attended before because it’s not just a celebration of food it is so much more important:
- Introducing the public to the farmers, artisans and local business. Helping people put a name to their food.
- Promoting farming opportunities to a younger generation.
- Acting as a center for networking between food producers and restaurants.
It’s really an exciting time for Maui, entering a new direction where food and wine events become food, wine and farmer events, much like Jamie Kennedy’s Open Kitchen.
It’s important that people understand where their food really comes from as the answer shouldn’t stop at Costco.