Candidate Forum to Focus on Local Ag

July 25, 2016, 2:00 PM HST · Updated March 26, 10:40 AM
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Geoff Haines and staff from Waipoli Farms in Kula will be in the Farmers Market tent at Ag Fest. Courtesy photo.

Geoff Haines and staff from Waipoli Farms in Kula will be in the Farmers Market tent at Ag Fest. Courtesy photo.

The three Maui chapters of the Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United are hosting an election candidate forum for Maui County Council candidates, and the public is encouraged to attend. This candidate forum is an opportunity to learn more about each candidate’s platform as it relates to sustainable agriculture and food self-sufficiency.

  • The forum is for candidates running for Maui County Council, and will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 27th at the Baldwin High School Multipurpose Room in Wailuku.

Who is invited? Admission is open to anyone who is concerned about the future of agriculture on Maui. The forums are free, although attendees are encouraged to arrive early as space is limited. Light pūpū and drinks will be available.

How the forums work? The candidate forum format will allow candidates to receive questions posed by the Maui Chapter members of HFUU in advance. A team of moderators chosen for their impartiality will ask questions of small panels made up of candidates competing in the same district or in the case of the County Council race from the same areas.

Focusing on the current strategic goals of the Farmers Union:

  • to grow new farmers,
  • create regional nutrient cycling centers,
  • build regional food hubs,
  • affordable farm land trusts, and
  • truth in labeling – Hawaiʻi’s Origin Products Protection
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The forum will feature a debate format on these and other issues.

What’s at stake? The primary election will be on August 13, 2016, and the results will determine the candidates from each party who will advance to the general election. For the non-partisan County Council election, the top two candidates in each race will advance to the ballot for the general election.

The forums will be only for those candidates (with a few exceptions) who compete in the primary on August 13th to determine their place on the ballot for the general election in November.

HFUU Haleakalā President Simon Russell explains that, “The Maui Haleakalā Chapter stands with our two newest chapters on Maui, Mauna Kahalawai and Hāna in the mounting of this candidate forum as active participants in a fair democratic process. Our organization works in the creation of agricultural policy that honors whole systems of regenerative and sustainable agriculture. We stand nine chapters and 891 members strong across the state in support of vibrant and prosperous agriculture communities in our districts through education, cooperation and legislation.

Phyllis Robinson, Campaign Forum Chair and Vice President of the HFUU Haleakalā Chapter adds that hosting this primary election forum focuses our candidates attention on agriculture.

“Our farming community and the majority of the Maui community at large are understandably concerned about agriculture right now,” she says. “With the closing of Hawaii Commercial and Sugar, we are all wondering what will happen to 27,000 acres of prime Maui ag-land and the water permits that go along with. Food self-sufficiency and food security are also high on the political agenda across the state.”

Robinson adds, “The Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United represents small diverse farmers who want to grow food and fuel healthily in microbe rich soil without harsh chemicals, protecting our ʻāina and our keiki for generations to come. We are interested in how we can work with our elected officials in moving that vision forward.”

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