"Ingredients Hawai'i" Feeds the Mind

April 12, 2012

The Chapel courtyard took on the air of a farmers market as several hundred people turned out for the latest installment of Punahou’s “Food for Thought” series, noshing on tasty local food before heading inside to watch the documentary “Ingredients Hawai‘i,” followed by a discussion with director Robert Bates.


The April 4, 2012, event kicked off with Hawai‘i farmers offering free samples of their local products, which included goat cheese, fresh oranges and pineapple, wheatgrass juice, cacao beans, popcorn, salad greens and roast pork. The festive atmosphere and great food encouraged topical conversation among the attendees, which included current students, alumni, faculty and staff, Punahou School retirees and members of the broader community. The importance of healthful diets, sustainable agricultural practices and Hawai‘i’s food security were just a few of the many topics discussed.

“There’s really no reason that we can’t grow all our own food here,” said Gina Hara ’87, who is particularly interested in permaculture, the design of sustainable human settlements and agricultural systems based on natural ecosystems. “It’s really cool that Punahou puts on these kinds of events. It’s just so Punahou.”

After the tastings, folks headed into Thurston Memorial Chapel to watch “Ingredients Hawai‘i,” a 2012 documentary that highlights the local sustainable food movement. The film features interviews with school, backyard and rooftop gardeners, chefs and restaurateurs, Hawaiian cultural practitioners and commercial farmers — all committed to a sustainable future for the islands.

As Bates said during the discussion period following the film, “we have a relationship with the land here by living in Hawai‘i.” Supporting the local food movement not only preserves the environment and puts healthier food on the table, but also helps restore and build awareness of ancient Hawaiian food-production systems that coexist with the natural world, he said.

Initiated in 2008, “Food for Thought” offers a forum for dialogue centered on the School’s sustainability initiative, creating opportunities for us to shape a more sustainable world together. This edition of the film-and-discussion series was co-hosted by Slow Food® O‘ahu, the local chapter of an international group that supports sustainable agriculture and the rediscovery of the pleasures of the table.


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