Why Food Sustainability in Hawaii is Possible

August 8, 2019

Hawaii is the most remote and isolated population center on earth. The Hawaiian Islands are 2,390 miles from California, 3,850 miles from Japan, and 4,900 miles from China. Imported goods — including food — are needed to sustain the state’s population of 1.4 million. But distance makes it very expensive. Since the 1930s, much of the food for sale in Hawaii has come from elsewhere. According to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, six million pounds of food arrive in Hawaii every day. Ninety to 95% of the food consumed by Hawaiians comes from other places.

This practice has worked for a while. But in today’s world with rising shipping and production costs, its time we look for other solutions. There are also negative environmental effects of shipping goods long distances. Shipping nearly everything we consume to Hawaii is not sustainable, nor wise.

Many people who study Hawaii believe that more sustainability is possible. They are making moves towards making it a reality. Some items will always have to come from elsewhere, but even just eating locally, the more sustainable life in Hawaii will be.

Grower’s paradise

Hawaii’s climate and conditions invite farmers to grow all sorts of tasty fruits and vegetables. Rich soil and frequent rainfall are common in Hawaii. Along with lots of sun, The Aloha State provides a year-round environment for agriculture. Bananas, pineapple, mushrooms, sugarcane, coffee and tea, and macadamia nuts all thrive in Hawaii. Prior to the 1930s, all the food consumed by people living in Hawaii was harvested on the islands. Of course, there were far fewer people in Hawaii back then, but this memory helps to give hope for the future.

Work together

The people and legislators of Hawaii know that change towards more sustainability is possible. Governor David Ige has set a goal to double the amount of state-wide food production by 2020. The state is well on its way. Land reform will help to open up more space for farmers. New educational programs will help train farmers about sustainable farming practices. A move towards more renewable energy will further help farmers to do their jobs in a way that is both affordable and environmentally sound.


Everyone must work together to reach sustainability goals, but it’s possible. Currently, the people of Hawaii want to buy more local food. But, according to one survey, only 20% are actually willing to pay more for it when there are cheaper alternatives for sale. Local food will become more affordable as more of it is available to consumers. It is a matter of time before more Hawaiians are eating Hawaiian-raised foods.

The future of food sustainability in Hawaii

Many people are working towards the collective goal of a sustainable Hawaii. Eating and living a sustainable lifestyle is good for your health. It’s what the world needs as we look towards the future.

Valley Isle Kombucha values sustainability. We source our products from local and sustainable farmers. When you drink our kombucha, you are drinking a little piece of Hawaii, and a little piece of the future. Together, we can help make a more sustainable Hawaii and a more sustainable world.

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