Kimberly “Brooke” Hansen

A new course designed to help Hawaiʻi move forward in local food production and tourism is being offered this semester at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. The course on Agricultural and Food Tourism is covering the momentum of foodie movements—locavore, Hawaiʻi Regional Cuisine, farm-to-table, food festivals—to examine how they can support the flourishing tourist market.

Guiding the course are themes of sustainability, cultural respect and teaching people through the metaphors of “island as earth” and “we are all in one canoe.”

“The course is geared towards hearing from people who have already engaged with food and ag tourism and those who wish to,” says Kimberly “Brooke” Hansen, an adjunct faculty in anthropology who is teaching the course.

Guest speakers for the course include Audrey Wilson (acclaimed food writer), Tom Menezes (senior vice president of Hawaiian Crown), Pomai Weigert (Hawaiʻi AgriTourism Association), Luisa Castro (master preserver and food safety expert), and Nancy Ginter-Miller (Produce to Product, Inc.).

“We tour local farms and foodie venues and explore multiple career paths from consulting and marketing to entrepreneurial opportunities in food and ag tourism,” explains Hansen.

The students in the course are an eclectic mix of traditional students exploring career options and non-traditional students who have experience farming crops such as avocados, mangoes and lychee.

The class also has Native Hawaiian students who want to embrace cultural tourism through food and heritage plants.

“Toward that end we will have a screening on March 6 of the acclaimed film Sons of Hālawa, about a family on Molokaʻi who revitalized their relations with culture and land through a sustainable tourism enterprise,” says Hansen.

For more about Hansen and the agricultural and food tourism class, see UH Hilo Stories.

—A UH Hilo Stories article

—By Susan Enright