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Slow Island Food & Beverage was founded by Chef Gida as a way for her to use her love of food to strengthen the agricultural and food economy in the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii has significant small and large scale agricultural production, however the majority of the food that is grown in the Hawaiian Islands is either exported to the mainland United States, or dedicated solely to tourism by supplying the many hotels and resorts that are in Hawaii. This system creates a host of issues, but there are three big problems that really stand out:
- A lack of food security for islanders whose produce is primarily imported from outside of Hawaii. Not only is an imported food supply risky due to the geographic isolation of the islands, but it also results in a lack of access to quality produce for locals.
- A lack of stable markets for small-scale growers who don’t produce enough product to export or supply large scale resorts. Important for any community, but particularly an island community located in the middle of the Pacfic Ocean; it is vital that the Hawaiian Islands continue to host diverse and sustainable agricultural operations.
- A lack of local awareness about what is, and can be, produced within the islands. When communities get further away from understanding their agricultural history and potential, they become more reliant upon outside food sources, weakening their local food system and food security.