The 5th Annual Hawaii Farmers Union United Convention

Maui Tropical Plantation is known for throwing fabulous events, and this last one was no different.  In addition to being entertaining, the 5th Annual Hawaii Farmers Union United Convention event also provided quite a bit of useful information for farmers and locals alike!

Hawaii Farmers Union United Convention

The weekend opened with a beautiful hula ceremony, followed by a ceremonious pounding of the poi.  These traditional Hawaiian customs reminded all the participants of why they were here, which is to support  the growth of the agricultural system protects our Hawaiian land for our children and grandchildren.

Hawaii Farmers Union United

Hawaii Farmers Union United Convention

The dinner on Friday night was prepared by Maui Tropical Plantation’s award-winning executive chef of the Mill House Restaurant, Jeff Scheer.  Chef Jeff has been a front-runner in supporting these farmers and using local produce.  The meal was the perfect balance of delicious and artistic.  Everyone walked away from this dinner feeling grateful that our incredible island has such abundance for artists like Chef Jeff to work with!

After dinner, Haleakala Chapter President Phyllis Robinson and member Harriet Witt took us on a narrated journey through the endurance, success and overall durability of our agriculture and the extreme importance that our micro-biome plays.  Local children assisted in telling this story by dressing up as microbes, making this one of the most charming presentations of any of us have ever seen on the significance of micro-biome.

Hawaii Farmers Union United

Our congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard and her father, Senator Mike Gabbard then spoke on the agricultural systems that support for Hawaii.  The Congresswoman also touched on the crucial factor of soil health.  The Senator emphasized the demanding need to deal with invasive species that affect local farmers.

Hawaii Farmers Union United

Saturday was the HFUU VP election, and the current HFUU Vice President Simon Russell won re-election without contest.  His dedication to the HFUU’s mission has been proven time and time again.  He has not only been a catalyst in moving the HFUU forward in their goals and made vast improvements with their website (along with the help of member Daniel Cohen), he also meticulously manages a few farms on Maui.  His wife, Kiki and two beautiful toddlers remind him daily of why his work is so important.

There was also a HFUU policy debate on Saturday that ended up lasting 10 hours over the course of 2 days.  This debate opened the floor to contributing members so they could share their thoughts while the foundation started to lay down this years foundational policies as they build another year toward the growth and evolution of Hawaiian agriculture.

Hawaii Farmers Union United

Sunday was chalk-full of presentations and award ceremonies!  We got to hear from the nine chapter presidents about the exciting advancements they are each making.  We heard about the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, which has the potential to be the world’s largest conservation event.  And seven young farm apprentices from the FAM Program were presented with graduation papers.  These shining faces are the future of our agriculture and we couldn’t be more excited to see what they’ll accomplish in the coming years.

Hawaii Farmers Union United

The weekend ended with a party on Sunday!  Great music was heard, including the well-knowns sounds of Marty Dread, deemed Hawaii’s Reggae Ambassador.  It was the perfect way to end an incredible weekend with very good company. Hawaii Farmers Union United has created an organization that spreads through nine regions of Hawaii with the purpose to support the environmentally beneficial agricultural practices that will keep Hawaii and Hawaiians thriving and healthy!

For more information on future events at the Maui Tropical Plantation, make sure to look at their calendar of events!

All photos by Neil Vonhof.  For more information on this photographer, please email him at neil.vonhof@gmail.com.
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