A decade ago, an initiative was born that would ignite a movement toward sustainability and foster a deeper connection to the land we call home. Ashley Lindsey, a proud Kānaka Maoli, and Lauryn Rego, a settler to Hawaiʻi met in 2013 during the inaugural EAT LOCAL MAUI Challenge to eat only food grown in Hawai’i for seven days. Little did they know that this would mark the beginning of an incredible journey.
At the start, Ashley wanted to reconnect with her cultural foods and language. Embracing traditional Hawaiian foods and language is a way to honor her ancestors while preserving and revitalizing cultural knowledge. Ashley shares, “Hawaiians need to eat Hawaiʻi’s food. We need to recreate that connection to what feeds us (this ʻāina), in this language (ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi.)”
For Lauryn, the challenge represented a powerful stand against the vulnerability of an island reliant on imported food. Supporting local farmers and producers ensures access to fresh and nutritious food while strengthening the island’s food security. Lauryn emphasizes, “Every bite we take from our local farms is a step towards a more resilient and sustainable future for Maui. We’re nourishing our bodies, supporting our community, and safeguarding our environment.”
When Lauryn and Ashley embarked on motherhood, they realized that the challenge had taken on an even deeper meaning. Nurturing their children with wholesome, locally sourced foods became a priority, intertwining their personal journeys with the evolution of the challenge. Enriched by the incredible spirit of sharing within the community, through an abundance of recipes and invaluable advice generously contributed by participants, the journey towards eating local has become accessible, inspiring, and truly community-driven.
Over the past decade, administered by their non-profit initiative Project Locavore, the group has grown from a small gathering of passionate individuals to a thriving community of over 6,000 members. Project Locavore has been a catalyst for individuals and families to reevaluate their food choices and embrace the abundant offerings of Hawaiʻi’s agricultural products, including both women. They have experienced personal growth, connected deeply with their community, and embraced a commitment to food security and sustainability.
Embark on your own EAT LOCAL MAUI adventure this fall, celebrating the abundance of Hawaii-grown products, fostering connections, and cultivating a sustainable future for generations to come. Take part in any way that works for your family. Whether embracing the full 7-day challenge, dedicating one day to local eating, or using the challenge’s bingo card (see p._), the goal is to create awareness and inspire mindful food choices that align with each family’s unique circumstances.
Learn more about Project Locavore’s EAT LOCAL MAUI Challenge (Nov.12-18, 2023) at projectlocavore.com.