The 4th Annual Hawaiʻi Island Community Food Summit took place July 29 through August 1 with the theme of building a circular food system economy: empowering collective action for sustainable change. Presented in a hybrid format by the Hawaiʻi Island Food Alliance (HIFA) with funding from the Department of Health, SNAPEd, and County of Hawaiʻi, participants were given the opportunity to hear from organizations and community members doing food systems work across the island and to participate in their local food system through farm tours and a school garden volunteer workday. 

The Food Summit highlighted the island’s resiliency by showcasing food hubs and meat producers and their COVID-19-influenced pivots, underscored the importance of island sustainability by featuring two food rescue projects, sharing about the feed mill, and featuring agroforestry producers and educators, and invited residents to take action on their own by hosting the Director of Planning who answered zoning questions and by bringing together a backyard agriculture panel who spoke on how to fit self-sustaining agriculture into the small-scale of one’s own backyard. The keynote presentation, offered by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Professor of Hawaiian Studies Kamanamaikalani Beamer spoke to the importance and potential of a circular economy.

The well-attended event was a hit with community members and food systems workers alike, and HIFA invites anyone who attended to fill out the Summit Evaluation. If you missed it, keep your eyes out for the summit recordings at hifoodalliance.org and HIFA’s YouTube channel.

HIFA would like to thank Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute – Hawaiʻi Island Healthy Eating + Active Living, Kamehameha Schools, Hāmākua Institute, Hawaiʻi Island Agriculture Partnership, and the County of Hawaiʻi for putting the ambitious event together.

For more information about the Hawaiʻi Island Food Alliance, please visit hifoodalliance.org.