For Immediate Release: August 13, 2021
Contact: Brynn Foster
Hawaii Farmers Union Executive Board Meet To Integrate Wellness Into Annual Strategy For 2021-2022
Kohala, Hawaii – Hawaii Farmers Union executive board members held their annual strategy meetings at Starseed Ranch on the Big Island this week and are committed to incorporating wellness and mental health into farmer support and events going forward.
Chapter residents from all 13 statewide chapters joined the executive board at the
Starseed Ranch, Kenny Loggin’s estate, now owned and operated by HIP Agriculture. The annual strategy meetings allows Farmers Union board members and decision makers to plan the next year’s objectives and to discuss issues important to family farmers and ranchers.
Our Body and Soil conventions incorporate wellness and will increase offerings with the newest addition of The Hive piloted at our 2019 convention. The Hive was created to be a social support group for farmers of all backgrounds, centered on a gathering place after educational events, a time to hold space for any and all to ground themselves and connect with each other. Education on mental health in the ag community is essential to help farmers understand they are not alone in their struggles, thus the imperative nature of having a gathering spot at our conventions for these important discussions.
Convention attendees will be able to visit the Hive at any of the (3) conventions (2 Mini-conventions: Oahu, Big Island and at the Annual Convention). This will be a gathering place, where we will have speakers and short workshops centered around facilitated and peer-to-peer discussions on mental health stressors
Agricultural stressors have increased over the years, especially in the recent COVID-19 pandemic and created a lapse in mental health importance in the agricultural world. Due to often harsh temperatures and high cost of living, farmers in Hawai’i often struggle without any support.
Farmers are the first to experience the adverse effects of climate change and are among the most vulnerable populations affected by economic stressors due to weather changes. HFUU believes that through education, cooperation, and legislation, we can support our farmers and bolster their well-being. We believe that we can combat climate change through carbon sequestration, and we can combat stress through impactful relationships and networks
The pivot to online networking due to the COVID-19 pandemic has increased our outreach tenfold. Our bi-monthly online speaker series results in dozens of live members each session learning from our esteemed speaker on a regenerative agriculture topic as well as local professional music. Each session is then uploaded to our Youtube channel, which has garnered in some cases thousands of views. This library of free community events will be kept online to aid in the resources that HFUU offers. Our 2020 convention was completely online and is complete with over 60 sessions and value added components that are available online for a small cost to any of our members or non-members. Esteemed speakers from the ag world like Paul Stamets and Dr. Zach Bush graced us with their knowledge and workshops that we can give access to forever.
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The Hawaii Farmers Union United (HFUU), a chartered member of the National Farmers Union (NFU), has been working to support a regenerative, locally based agricultural system since its inception in 2009. The mission of HFUU is to grow farmers, build community, and promote the future viability of agriculture.
The Hawai’i Farmers Union United and its Chapters is a nonprofit corporation formed under Hawai’i law. It advocates for the sovereign right of farmers to create and sustain vibrant and prosperous agricultural communities for the benefit of all Hawai’i through cooperation, education and legislation.