Picture of Lorilani Keohokalole

Lorilani Keohokalole

Hawai’i Updates: August 2021

Wēlina mai kākou,

My name is Lorilani Keohokālole, and I am the new PAN Co-Director of Organizing for the Hawaii Region. My ‘Ohana is from Wai‘anae and Kāne‘ohe (O‘ahu) Hilo; South Kona and Kā‘ū (Hawai’i Island); ‘Olowalu and Hāna (Maui) and Kalihiwai (Kaua‘i). I am currently humbled to reside on the island of Kaua‘i in the historically resource-rich community of Anahola.

I am a mother, a wife and a community advocate. My primary work has been in the fields of health, wellness and healing, Native Hawaiian cultural education, and food policy advocacy.

As a descendent of the first people on these islands, I consider it an honor and privilege to work with PAN and to bring the heart and soul of our constituents into the national circle of conversations around pesticide regulation, food safety and security, race equity, and land access.

Post-pandemic resources and employment are focused on the tourism industry and are not being used to sustain our fragile ecosystems or to provide food security. I see the loss of land access, housing and employment having a huge impact on our communities here. Even though our children have been taught to appreciate our culture and value hard work they struggle to find their place. Hunting, fishing, growing and harvesting food, and managing resources are important to us, but they are taking the largest hits.

For Native people across this planet and here in Hawai‘i, the relationship to land or ‘Āina, is at the core of our being. The food we grow does more for us than sustaining our bodies, it also “feeds” us mentally and spiritually. The work that we do at PAN is to listen to the needs of our constituents: farmworkers, family farmers, rural communities, Indigenous peoples, and children.

My work is to listen and support where and when I am invited to do so. Please reach out to me if you see an opportunity where I can help. The Hawai‘i team at PAN will work with me to provide you with information, resources, and updates on our work in each Hawai‘i newsletter.

Mahalo nui for the confidence to represent our community of Hawai‘i.

Lorilani Keohokālole
PAN’s Co-Director of Organizing for the Hawaii Region

‘Ai Pono Challenge

‘Ai: Eat     Pono:  Righteous; Right; Correct

‘Ai Pono: Eating healthy.  The modern term given when referring to something that is harvested, prepared and served for the highest benefit to your health.

The 2nd Annual Kaua‘i ‘Ai Pono Challenge or “Eat Local Challenge” begins September 12 and ends on September 18.  The event is sponsored by PAN partner the Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) and you can sign up to participate now.

Project Locavore is also running an Eat Local Challenge on the island of Maui from Sep 12 through Sep 18.  You can go here to participate in that challenge.

These Eat Local Challenges celebrate the ways Hawai‘i residents grow, catch, and raise food for themselves in our island communities.  For this 7-day challenge, participants are encouraged to eat food that is grown here, not flown here

We hope these events will inspire people to eat and support locally sourced foods in their everyday life. Let’s work together to address our broken food system, lower the percentage of imported foods we consume, and keep money circulating within our local economies.

House investigation into ADC

A Hawai‘i House of Representatives investigative committee is preparing for hearings this September after audits found that Agriculture Development Corporation (ADC) had not done enough to reinvigorate former sugar and pineapple land, and had performed “inconsistent, incomplete, and in many cases, nonexistent” record-keeping. 

The ADC was initially empowered to take the lead in converting the land to “diversified agricultural enterprises to fill the economic void” left by those industries and create new markets, including local markets, for Hawai‘i grown products. 

According to the Honolulu Civil Beat, the House investigative committee issued subpoenas to the ADC, the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture. The committee plans to start hearings with witnesses in September and a final report with recommendations is due in December, one month ahead of the 2022 legislative session.

We will continue to follow the progress of this investigation, stay tuned for more updates in future newsletters.

Take Action!

To end reliance on hazardous pesticides, we must support small and community-scale farmers. As farmers recover from the Covid-19 crisis, they need support. 

So what can we do to help? The Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act (RASFA) would forgive some federally-held loan debt for small farmers.

Urge your Senators to co-sponsor this important bill, today.

Picture of Lorilani Keohokalole

Lorilani Keohokalole

Lorilani Keohokālole is PAN's Co-Director of Organizing for the Hawaii Region and comes from the beautiful islands of Hawai'i. Born and raised on O'ahu, Lorilani currently resides on the island of Kaua'i. A wife and mother of 4, Lorilani's passion around advocacy was cultivated at a young age. The Hawaiian cultural value of Mālama 'Āina (care of the Land) is a key value that drives her passion for the protection of the 'Āina (Land). Lorilani believes that in caring and cultivating a relationship with the land, one ultimately is cultivating and caring for oneself. Lorilani was a PAN Fellow in 2020 and joined staff in 2021.

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