First International AgriTourism Symposium
Hawai‘i’s First International AgriTourism Symposium was held on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, by the Hawai‘i AgriTourism Association (HATA) at Ka Haka ‘ula o ke‘elikōlani, College of Hawaiian Language, at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus.
“Saturday’s Symposium was an exciting illustration of our community’s willingness to respectfully discuss complex issues, discover common ground and collaborate through problem-solving, in support of healthy economic growth and Hawai‘i Nei’s agricultural future,” said Christianna Kistler, HATA secretary.
Participants had the opportunity to meet with experts and influencers, network, learn and explore new ideas, tactics, tips and perspectives. Attendees also had the opportunity to create change and integrate new ideas into their own planning.
“The objective of the symposium was to create a hub event of information and open communication for the community and the agritourism community to share their knowledge, stories and resources with each other, said Pomai Weigert, HATA research and marketing coordinator.
“We really wanted to provide a platform where those who paved the way, those who are currently starting up and those who want to start something in agritourism could come together and inspire each other,” said Weigert.
The symposium included expert panels, workshops and a sense of place tour.
Frank Haas of Hawai‘i, Andrew Te Whaiti of New Zealand and Mitsue Varley of Japan shared perspectives and trends in the agritourism industry worldwide during the global trends panel discussion.
Hawai‘i County Planning Director Dwane Kanuha, Hawai‘i County Council Rep. Margaret Willie and Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey shared their knowledge during the rules and regulation panel.
The local partnerships panel included Derek Kurisu from KTA and creator of the Mountain Apple Brand; Sam Choy, chef, restaurateur and television personality; and Lani Weigert, HATA’s executive director, who discussed quality of products with the made in Hawai‘i label, bringing personal experience and laughter to the room.
Workshop rotations included a presentation by Kanuha, who discussed rules, regulations and liabilities. Pomai Weigert spoke about global trends and media strategies in the agritourism field. A “Sense of Place” Tour at Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani the College of Hawaiian Language by Ka’iulani Carvalho emphasized the importance it places on visitors’ experiences.
Gretchen Miller, the Hawai‘i Island sales representative for Edible Hawaiian Islands attended the symposium “hoping to connect with local farmers, local businesses and to learn what they are working on.”
Among the vendors was Madeine Longoria-Garcia, representing Kau Specialty LLC and Mauli Ola Festival, said she and her supervisor, Malian Lahey came to the agritourism symposium t, “see how we can all work together.”
Pomai said that for participants branding their specialty, knowing where they fit into the agritourism industry and exploring niche markets were among the top takeaways from the day’s symposium.
According to HATA, agritourism provides the opportunity to support local farms, farmers and people, increase profit by selling directly to the consumer, increase revenue and create a legacy of multi-generational family farms.
HATA is an organization that combines the agriculture, visitor and residential industries for mutual economic viability and development. In addition, HATA provides leadership training, educational opportunities, creates agriculture tours, as well as, fosters future and current generations in agriculture.
HATA members have access to education about how to get a farm ready for visitors, learning how to add services and products, marketing support, advocacy, business development, leadership programs and support for economic development.
For more information go about agritourism in Hawai‘i, go online.
For more information on the HATA board and event organizers go online.