Tag Archives: Hawaii Ag-Tourism

TedxMaui January 13, 2013

It’s time for TedxMaui 2013. When I first heard of Tedxtalks I hadn’t a clue. I’d heard they were going on all over the United States and the world. People were giving the twenty minute talk of their life about technology, education and design. They were meant to inspire, enlighten and make this world a better place. I watched a few talks, one about vulnerability, how it was okay to be vulnerable human beings, others by inventors and designers of amazing sculptures that intrigue and shock one to move and rescue as it appears to fall and then rights itself. A twelve year old talked of sustainability and neighborhood gardens in New York City. Award winning journalist Amy Cortese spoke about Locavesting and how a community could be transformed by investing in the local businesses within a fifty mile radius. All this inspired me to support and  bring attention to local farmers on Maui and to dream of ways to grow food on our island by representing Ag Tourism and sharing Maui’s Agricultural Beauty. Dr. Arthur Medeiros taught us about Auwahi: Hope on a Hawaiian Volcano.  Together with Ulupalakua Ranch owner Pardee Erdman, he is doing a restoration project of our native Hawaiian plants. We can do our part to continue the restoration project. It’s a ten year old forest that is truly inspiring and hopeful.
The opening act TedxMaui2012  TAIKO DRUMMERS took the stage.
I was blown away. It was exciting and beautiful. We took our seats in the lovely Castle Theater at the Maui Arts and Culture Center with all our friends from Social media. The word had spread through Twitter and Facebook.

The very first speaker Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey was captivating and beautiful. Her talk “Ancient Wisdom For A Modern World” made us realize that in our busy, rushing about world we miss so much. It is important to slow down and feel and just be.

When I arrived at Tedxmaui2012 it was with eager anticipation to hear two of my favorite ladies, Lani and Pomai Weigert, speak. Lani is Co-Founder of the Ali`i Kula Lavender Farm and Pomai is her daughter who practically grew up on the farm. She had turned in her glamorous life of travel and tourism for the country chic life of the Lavender Farm. Together they coined the phrase “Sustainable Aloha” and with Ali`i Chang, who passed away in 2011, they created the renowned farm in Up-Country Maui. Nothing like it had ever been done. By partnering with local product makers of jellys, jams, gelato, scones, chocolates, coffees, teas, they enhanced our community and with Lani’s marketing genius they put Ali`i Kula Lavender on the map all over the world. Ag-Tourism has become a new phenomenon and they became my inspiration to become a part of the farm to table movement on Maui.

These are the three talks that stand out in my mind. The amazing Paula Fuga, singer, songwriter and once the face of homelessness told her story of being a young girl living with her parents on the beach at Sand Island in Honolulu with nothing…nothing but a tarp to cover themselves with when it rained. I was moved to tears. She was asked once “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and she saw herself on a stage performing for a crowd with a blue light shining on her as she sang, but she replied “A teacher.” She kept her dream to herself so no one would try to destroy it. She knew the importance of keeping negativity out of her life. Even though it appeared to be a hopeless situation she knew somewhere deep inside herself there was hope and she must believe that she was here for a much bigger purpose. There was a dream and to achieve that dream one must have a plan, and pursue it with all their heart.  Then she sang and played ukulele for us and again at the after party for TedxMaui 2012. I downloaded her CD “Lilikoi” and fell in love with her music. She is such a talented writer with soul and feeling. Her voice is deep and moody and jazzy with a melancholy that can’t be denied but still so beautiful.   The mood was hopeful, exciting and happy for Katie Mac and Sara Tekula the producers of TedxMaui 2012. The after party which was included in the ticket was fantastic. Catering was by Dana Pastula of Cafe o’ Lei. The music, dancing and mingling in the afterglow of all the inspiration is difficult to describe. I can only say I was changed and I know everyone was.


Google TedxMaui to see all the amazing speakers and get your tickets for January 13, 2013


Hawaii Ag-Tourism News

Philadelphia Flower Show 

Big things are happening for Ag-Tourism at this very moment. Did you hear about the largest flower show in North America happening right now in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania? Its the Philadelphia Flower Show and the theme is Hawaii.

The Maui Visitor’s Bureau arranged for over a dozen booths to share the Aloha to an expected 300,000 visitors over nine days at this huge event. Our Dania Katz of Edible Hawaiian Islands is there to advise our Maui participants with expert knowledge from previous shows. See the web-site for the full list of participants including the Maui Coffee Association, Hawaii Island Visitor’s Bureau, Oahu and Kauai Visitor’s Bureau.   Melanie Boudar, the Sweet Paradise Chocolatier is there and Chocolates are flying off the shelves!

Love this picture of Melanie at The Philadelphia Flower Show and hey that’s my T-shirt design lower left of photo. 😉

Imagine nine days of this exposure for Hawaii. Our proud flower growers are there from Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. I’ve seen photos of thousands of our unique Proteas and tropical flowers being shared with the world. I’m sure the show will inspire many visitors to plan their trips to the flower farms in the Hawaiian Islands.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012 HATA (Hawaii Ag-Tourism Association) meets via tele-conference Poly-com on all islands at ten AM to discuss the future of Ag-Tourism in Hawaii. Topics will include Governmental affairs/Update on Ag-Tourism Ordinance on Hawaii Island, How the legal process is going to be permitted to offer Ag-Tourism, membership, marketing, funding, finance and Education. I’ll be there at Maui Community College to contribute what I’ve learned over the past year about creating Maui Country Farm Tours and learn from the experience of Lani Weigert, Charlene Kauhane and farmers from outer islands.

See you on TV, Lani for the HATA teleconference Wednesday March 7, 2012

Up-Country Photo Farm Tour

Up-Country photo Farm Tour at Maui's WineryWe recently did a very personalized tour for guests on Maui and Lynn Erfer (senior marketing director) of the Maui Visitor’s Bureau was along for the ride. We had a blast. The cruise ship passengers were farmers from Illinois and what did they want to see? Farms on Maui. Now these were big farmers of 1200 and 3500 acres of corn and soybeans, yet they were thrilled with our Surfing Goat Dairy, Ulupalakua Ranch, Maui’s Winery, Ali`i Kula Lavender Farm and learning about the sugar cane on Maui. When Lynn asked if we could pull over on Omaopio Road for a photo opportunity, the first thing our farmer did was to scoop up some of our red dirt. He wanted to feel the soil. His wife laughed and said she was surprised he didn’t taste it. (At Surfing Goat Dairy he did chew on alfalfa)

They loved the little back road journey that Rick surprises us with and stories of his Portuguese family in Kula and Hali`i Maile, Maui.

As an added treat we stopped by the Hui No`eau Visual Arts Center to check out Maui Open Studios and had the pleasure of introducing Toby Neal author of Blood Orchids. Lynn is an art enthusiast and was so excited to stop at the Hui.

Carolyn Quan, the creator of Maui Open Studios was here too! Her art was displayed in the beautiful solarium.

Maui Ag-Festival
Next up is the Annual Maui Ag-festival coming April 7, 2012 to the Maui Tropical Plantation.
Follow Maui County Farm Bureau for the Grown on Maui Chef Series and Slow Food Maui for the Taste Education Series.
Sharing Maui's Agricultural Beauty
Ka`anapali Fresh

There’s a big event in the works for Ka`anapali that involves farmers, chefs and all the hotels in Ka`anapali, Maui. I met with executive director Shelley Kekuna of Kaanapali Resorts and event planner Toni Rojas “Sterling Performance” who are putting together a three day event for Labor Day Weekend bringing Ag-Tourism to delight everyone with an in-depth experience getting to know the land of Maui.

There will be Chef tastings at several resorts, classes, tours of farms, entertainment of course, a three day series with choices for everyone that truly celebrates the food and farms of Maui. Just minutes above the sea are many cottage farms abundant with coffee, fruits, nuts, vegetables and added-value products which are the future of Hawaii. Friday August 31, September 1 & 2


See you at the Farms… Call me anytime for more info and tour ideas. We’ll personalize a day for you in the country.

~ Marilyn 808 283-9131