Kalo – Nourishing Hawaii and Sharing It with the World aims to elevate kalo locally and globally

HONOLULU, HI (June 30, 2022)—The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival® (HFWF) mission has long been rooted in supporting Hawaii’s farmers and showcasing the diversity of locally grown products through its annual epicurean events. This year, the Festival takes its mission to the next level, hosting a unique opportunity to share Hawaii’s culture through food—in particular, kalo (taro)—with the world.

In partnership with Hawaii Executive Collaborative and Kamehameha Schools, HFWF is proud to announce Kalo – Nourishing Hawaii and Sharing It with the World—a program designed to elevate kalo as a unique and important food source. The goal of the initiative is to highlight kalo’s cultural significance to the native Hawaiian people, while sharing its special nutritional and medicinal properties with the world. In joining forces, the three community leaders aim to support local kalo farmers and increase production of Hawaiian-grown kalo, making it accessible for all of Hawaii’s people.

“We are pleased to partner with Hawaii Food & Wine Festival and Kamehameha Schools on this meaningful program to bring attention to kalo and the fundamental role it plays in Hawaii’s past, present, and future,” said Duane Kurisu, chairman of Hawaii Executive Collaborative (HEC). “HEC values this opportunity as we continue to support our farmers, the creation of more kalo-cultivated spaces, and development of different delivery and distribution systems for Hawaii-grown kalo as an agricultural export to the world.”

As part of the program, HFWF is pleased to host the Kalo Recipe Contest—open to all participating and veteran HFWF chefs—to create an original dish using kalo as one of the featured ingredients. Five finalists will be selected for a once-in-a-life-time Kalo Journey presented by Hawaii Executive Collaborative this September. Here, chefs will work first-hand in the loi (kalo patches); taste different varieties of kalo; and learn from farmers and native Hawaiian practitioners about kalo’s unique properties, as well as spiritual and cultural significance.

In November, the finalists return to Oahu for a special private event as part of the Twelfth Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival®, Kamehameha Schools presents Outstanding in the Loi on Saturday, November 5 at Kakoo Oiwi—the culmination of the chef’s Kalo Journey. Overlooking the loi and beautiful Koolau mountains, guests will be treated to a unique five-course dinner featuring the winning dishes created by the contest finalists. This experiential dining opportunity puts participants at the root of the source—allowing them to get to know where their food comes from, recognize the farmers who produce it and learn among the chefs inspired by kalo.

Through the Kalo – Nourishing Hawaii and Sharing It with the World program, participating chefs will have a special opportunity to touch, feel and taste the land and ingredients grown here, while also serving as ambassadors of Hawaii’s agricultural lands and locally grown products. Ultimately, the program hopes to have chefs commit to putting Hawaiian kalo on their restaurant menus both locally and globally. Unlike any other Festival in the world, HFWF already requires all participating chefs to use a locally grown product in their dish(es).

“Through this unique program, we hope to introduce new audiences to the importance of kalo in Hawaii, while also invigorating and advancing kalo for those who were raised with it,” shared Denise Yamaguchi, Chief Executive Officer of Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. “In the future, we hope kalo will not only feed our people, but feed the people of the world,” said Yamaguchi.

Growing kalo, expanding its many uses, and inspiring future kalo farmers and entrepreneurs not only helps Hawaii remain connected to the past, but plays a crucial role in moving the state into a future of food sovereignty and food security. “As the staple element of the Hawaiian diet and as an essential element of Hawaii’s food culture, Kalo is the worthiest source of sustenance to promote in our work to support the nourishment of our minds, bodies, and spirit,” said Kaeo Duarte, VP of Community and Aina Resiliency for Kamehameha Schools.

Tickets are SOLD OUT for Kamehameha Schools Presents Outstanding in the Loi event. Each year, net proceeds from HFWF ticket purchases go toward supporting the farmers, ranchers and fishermen of Hawaii, as well as investing in up-and-coming chef talent at local culinary colleges and agricultural education for children. Since its launch, HFWF has raised over $3.1 million to support community and aina-based organizations like Kakoo Oiwi, a 2021 HFWF Beneficiary.

To purchase tickets to available Festival events and learn more about this initiative, visit hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com. Stay connected—follow HFWF on Twitter/Instagram @HIFoodWineFest and Facebook at @HawaiiFoodandWineFestival.

For Press & Media inquiries, please contact:
Kristen Lau-Grover, Director of Marketing & PR | [email protected] or 808-721-1849

The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is the premier epicurean destination event in the Pacific. The Festival features a roster of more than 150 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, sommeliers, mixologists, and wine and spirit producers. Co-founded by two of Hawaii’s own James Beard Award-winning chefs, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, the Festival showcases culinary experiences, wine tastings, cultural engagement and exclusive dining opportunities with dishes highlighting the State’s bounty of fresh, local produce, seafood, beef, poultry and spices. Since 2011, the Festival has given over $3 million to support local beneficiaries committed to culinary and agricultural education, sustainability and cultural programs in Hawaii.

The Hawaii Executive Collaborative (HEC) is a nonprofit organization that provides backbone support to CEOs and senior leaders from different sectors who want to help build a more resilient economy and state. HEC members believe in the power of acting collectively and focus their energies and resources on areas where immediate and systemic changes will benefit Hawaii and the world. Learn more at hec.org.

Founded in 1887 by the legacy of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Kamehameha Schools (KS) is a private, educational, charitable trust committed to improving the capability and well-being of the Native Hawaiian people through education. In 2015, KS embarked on a bold voyage that envisions, in one generation, a thriving lahui where learners, grounded in Christian and Hawaiian values, achieve postsecondary educational success and become leaders who contribute to their communities both locally and globally. For more information, visit www.ksbe.edu and connect via Facebook and Instagram (@kamehamehaschools) and Twitter (@ksnews).