Sourcing With Intention

Alison DiFiore
Published Feb 01, 2021. Read time: 1 minute
There are a lot of reasons why we wanted to work with Chef Gida Snyder, founder and owner of Slow Island Food & Beverage Co. We love that Slow Island Food and Beverage Co. is a black woman-owned business. We also find alignment with Slow Island’s mission to “uplift farmers, support and mentor other women in the food production space, and to celebrate the diversity and abundance of incredible ingredients grown in Hawaii”.

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

There is a small but building movement in the islands led by community focused food professionals like Gida to support and uplift local farmers by not only sourcing locally, but to create products and meals that showcase and share the beauty of Hawaiian agricultural bounty. The result is a stronger food economy and amazing products that wouldn’t exist without chefs like Gida and the skilled farmers that she sources from.

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