Wrong. Total food security for Maui actually means we produce enough to sustain the present and future populations and our visitors without having to depend on off-island resources.
But somewhere down the line, most of us surrendered to the mainly Mainland-produced convenience of Costco. We are dependent on the corporate food regime to provide us with access to a variety of cheap foods. Now, just like infants, we aren’t able to feed ourselves. It’s time to grow up and grow our own.
At present, our lush tropical forests, sparkling waterfalls and deep, rich volcanic soils produce less than 15 percent of our locally consumed food—we import the other 85-plus percent, which translates into over $3 billion leaving our state to support agribusinesses elsewhere.
And according to varying reports, we have between three and 10 days’ worth of food stockpiled on grocery store shelves in the event that the importation of supplies stops for any length of time.
While we will probably continue to import most of our food supply, we should not overlook the value of increasing the production and purchase of more locally grown foods, which keeps the money flowing through our community and secures more supplies during emergency situations. A reduction in dependency on imported food is a public policy goal that we shouldn’t ignore.
Hundreds of small, diversified farms and gardens would help provide a truly local food supply. But in order to grow, they need the support of our local government officials, who have the ability to positively and negatively impact local agriculture.
In this week’s “Spotlight on Local Agriculture” series front page story, we have asked our candidates to share their vision for food responsibility, security, self-sufficiency and ecosystem health.
Then in the following issue, candidates have been asked to discuss their positions on topics such as land use, water, energy, waste management, the local economy, job creation, environmental stewardship and land preservation. Their written plans and policies will also help to ensure accountability.
If you are hungry for answers, read these Maui Weekly articles in which candidates (have been asked to) respond to these important questions and concerns.