Pineapple Fields Forever

Sustainability is: Making decisions today so our grandchildren’s children
can enjoy what we have, tomorrow. 

~ Chef Alan Wong

Sustainability is a topic of crucial importance at Alan Wong’s Restaurants. In the video below, Chef Alan Wong discusses the need to increase Hawai‘i’s consumption of local produce and the positive effect it will have on the state. Chef Alan has made it his personal mission to encourage Hawai‘i’s people to increase consumption of local-grown items by 10% in order to boost production here in the Islands — it may not seem like a large amount, but it can have a big impact on our economy. If we were to replace just 10% of the food we currently import with locally-grown and manufactured products, it would generate:*

  • 2, 300 jobs;
  • $94 million for local farmers;
  • $188 million in sales;
  • $6 million in state taxes

How do we get to that 10% change? Supply increases with demand — we need to increase the demand for Hawai‘i-raised food. Chef Alan believes that each of us, by asking our parents, our schools, our restaurants, our grocery stores to buy more locally-grown food can bring about at least this much change. Supporting our farmers and asking them to grow more food means their farms keep going.

What are some simple steps you can take toward that 10% increase?

  • Replace one fruit or vegetable on your shopping list with a locally-raised version. Instead of buying bagged pre-cut, pre-washed lettuce from a Mainland packager, purchase a head or two from a local farmer. Pick up sweet, local vine-ripened tomatoes instead of hard, grainy-textured imports. This Thanksgiving, try serving locally-grown Okinawan sweet potatoes in place of yams or regular sweet potatoes.
  • Purchase Hawaiian coffee—nearly every island produces coffee, many of them award-winning and reasonably priced—try something new each month!
  • Speaking of milk, buying a gallon of Hawai‘i milk will cost you a bit more, but you may notice it stays fresher longer. Local products travel just a fraction of the distance, so they arrive at your home fresher and, in the case of produce, riper.
  • Switch from buying imported ground beef to local ground beef. You can find it (even 100% grass-fed) at markets like Foodland or Whole Foods on O‘ahu or KTA SuperStores on the Big Island. Check the farmers’ market schedules, too. Local ranchers find it an economic challenge to raise cattle when all anyone wants to buy are steaks. A high-end cut of beef accounts for just a small part of the cow; raising one to sell only steaks isn’t sustainable. Purchasing ground beef or the simpler cuts allows ranchers to make use of the entire animal.

We invite you to share your suggestions for effecting 10% change with us here!

*Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial by 4 Ag Hawaii, a partnership to raise agricultural awareness in Hawaii, Nov. 6, 2009.

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