Maui Food and Dining

‘Rising Up during COVID-19’ Virtual Event Celebrating National Ag Day in Hawaiʻi on March 23

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The virtual panel and hosts at the March 23 “Rise Up” event to celebrate National Ag Day includes (top right, clockwise): Keynote Speaker Kristin Frost Albrecht, Noʻeau Peralto, Dean & Michele Wilhelm, Kyle Reutner and Devon Nekoba.

To celebrate National Ag Day on March 23, Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival and Kamehameha Schools are presenting a virtual Talk Story and Pau Hana with #HFWF featuring Hawai‘i organizations that are helping the community rise up during the COVID-19 pandemic through agriculture, education and culinary.

Kristin Frost Albrecht, Executive Director of Hawai‘i Food Basket, will be the keynote speaker of “Rising Up.” Other contributors include: Megan Fox, Executive Director of Malama Kaua‘i; Noʻeau Peralto, Executive Director of Hui Mālama i ke Ala ʻŪlili; and Dean and Michele Wilhelm, Executive Co-Directors of Hoʻokuaʻāina.

“With the impact of COVID-19 disrupting our lives, we’ve had to help each other to survive,” said Denise Yamaguchi, CEO of Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival. “By taking care of one another, we become stronger even though the odds have been against us.


“Even before the pandemic, grassroots families and communities, like the organizations and individuals featuring in our Talk Story panel, were rising up to take care of one another. The correlation between feeding and nourishing our families and that connection to our ancestral heritage and traditions has never been stronger.”

Event sponsor Kamehameha Schools embraces its role in Hawai‘i’s food system. 

“As part of its stewardship of ‘āina, which is core to Native Hawaiian identity and well-being, Kamehameha Schools aspires to provide abundance for future generations,” said Lauren Nahme, Vice President of Kamehameha Schools Strategy and Transformation. “Our work in uplifting agriculture, farmers, food systems and community resiliency aligns nicely with the vision of the Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival.

“Focusing on strategic partnerships that raise the voices and good works of ‘ōiwi leaders who strengthen our communities, Kamehameha Schools is proud to sponsor this event.  These featured leaders have demonstrated their commitment and willingness to rise up during such a critical time.”  

Moderated by Devon Nekoba of 94.7 KUMU, the panelists will engage in candid conversations about their initiatives that have sparked change and unity in the community. The event also will feature a virtual “Pau Hana” with KōHana Distillers’ Kyle Reutner teaching attendees how to craft a cocktail with KōHana Kea Hawaiian Agriole Rum. Registered attendees can purchase the ingredients in advance to participate from home.

The virtual panel will be via Zoom on Tuesday, March 23, at 5:30 pm. Event registration is available via for $10 with all proceeds benefiting the Kokua Ag & Culinary Fund, a program of the Hawai‘i Ag & Culinary Alliance that supports the agricultural, culinary and hospitality industries in Hawaiʻi.


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