Eat Local Maui Challenge

I began the Feeding Hawai’i Project in the spring of 2020, realizing how vital food security is in these times. I began interviewing stakeholders across Hawai’i’s food system to document their challenges and pivots due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Some things haven’t changed since then; we’re still importing 85-90% of our food, resulting in limited emergency supplies, development on farmlands, and societal disconnect from our food system.

Recently, an official said, “COVID shows us how connected we are,” regarding community transmission of the virus. In parallel, my interviews show how our connections and collaborations have kept our community fed in these times.

The Feeding Hawai’i interviews also reverberate that Hawai’i’s food future begins with our keiki to heal generations of disconnect from ‘aina. Eating a seasonal local diet not only incorporates fresh, nutrient-dense foods but also connects us through sharing resources and getting to know your farmers and neighbors.

Today, a silver lining of the pandemic has been the increase in interest in eating local. Our EAT LOCAL MAUI Facebook group quadrupled membership as residents facing empty shelves sought out food security. In addition, a multitude of new resources, businesses, and value-added products have emerged, which are sure to make this year’s EAT LOCAL MAUI CHALLENGE the best one yet. To top it off, this time around, we’re focused on engaging Maui’s keiki through activities designed for the whole family (see graphic across), and designed to plant the seeds for our food secure future.

Learn more about the EAT LOCAL CHALLENGE September 12-18 at and the issues facing Hawai’i’s food system at

Below is a 100% locally sourced version of a classic Fall soup. 

Kabocha & Pear Soup

While we try to eat 100% local during the EAT LOCAL MAUI CHALLENGE, any ingredient in your diet that you can swap with fresh local is a win! 


1 Maui grown kabocha squash peeled and cubed

2-3 Kula Pears diced, set aside half of one pear for garnish

1 medium Maui onion finely chopped

Maiden Hawai’i Naturals Sunflower or Macadamia Oil

Homemade chicken or vegetable stock

Kupa’a Farms All Spice and local Pa’akai (Sea Salt)

Local fresh herbs finely chopped (i.e., sage, thyme, oregano)


• In a large pot, at med-high, heat local oil. 

• Add kabocha, cook for a few minutes, stir occasionally. 

• Add onions and cook for a few more minutes, stir occasionally. 

• Add pear, herbs, all-spice, and pa’akai, cooking/ stirring for a few more minutes. 

• Add stock to cover and add water if needed. 

• Bring to a boil, then simmer until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and blend until smooth. Serve with reserved pear sliced thinly as garnish. Roast squash seeds in local oil for garnish or snack. Add pa’akai to taste. Enjoy!

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Lauryn Rego, mother of a toddler, is a 20 year resident of Maui. Artist, activist, community advocate, she finds ways to use her creativity to advance the missions of multiple local non-profit organizations, with a focus on attachment parenting and bonding as well as protecting our keiki from pesticide exposure.


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