By Nina Wu
The 86-minute documentary, directed by award-winning filmmaker Danny Miller, tells the story of how Hawaii is returning to local and traditional methods of growing food.
For more than 1,000 years, Hawaiians produced enough food to support an estimated population of 1 million, according to the film, whereas 85 percent of the state's food today is imported. If current trends continue, Hawaii's last agricultural lands will be gone by 2040.
"The film celebrates the courageous work of farmers and educators throughout the state who are growing new ideas for increasing local food production, through traditional, sustainable and organic methods," said Miller in a press release.
Besides an in-depth look at the history of Hawaii's agriculture and the role played by the state's physical isolation, the film looks at how the rising cost of shipping food across vast oceans created incentives for communities to return to the ethic of malama ‘aina and sustainable agriculture.
More than 50 farmers, ranchers, scientists and educators who shaped Hawaii's agricultural past and future are featured in the film. They include Molokai farmer and OHA trustee candidate Walter Ritte and Robert Harris, director of Sierra Club Hawaii, as well as Larry Jeft of Jeft Farms, Monique Van Der Strom of Naked Cow Dairy, Kamuela Enos of MA‘O Farms and Shin Ho of Ho Farms.
"If we're cut off from the mainland, our food supply, we're in big trouble," says Nalo Farms owner Dean Okimoto in the film. "We're in big, big trouble. For an extended period of time, we would not be able to feed our people."
The film is narrated by Puanani Burgess, with original music by Jim Kimo West.
Miller, who is based in Pahoa on Hawaii island, is the film's writer, director and editor. The film, produced in partnership with the Hawaii Rural Development Council, took three years to complete.
"SEEDS OF HOPE" has been nominated for the Halekulani Golden Orchid Award at this year's film festival. It will be screened at 3 p.m. Oct 13 as well as at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19 at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium Theater (735 Iwilei Rd.).