(Civil Beat Q & A) Hawaii’s economy has been hard hit with the outbreak of the coronavirus and measures to prevent its spread, mainly because of the collapse of the tourism industry. Should we continue to rely largely on the visitor industry for economic vitality? What concrete steps would you take to bring tourism back? What else would you do to diversify the island’s economy?
This pandemic has shown us our vulnerability to tourism. It’s not if, but when another pandemic will happen. We need to turn inwards to our own local residents for economic survival and food security. When Kaua’i’s 72,000 residents decide to spend their dollars locally on businesses owned and operated by Kaua’i residents, we move our island economy from a non-sustainable linear one to a sustainable circular one. Our local economy can be improved by supporting our local farmers and ranchers.
• Create food hubs for local produce and dairy goods at major population zones.
• Support local food hubs by creating a farmer’s network online order and delivery system.
If we were to utilize marketing effectively to promote a local farmer food hub, we could change the way we shop and feed our families. This would:
• Decrease reliance on tourism by assisting to diversify our economy.
• Increase custodial land use.
• Increase employment opportunities in farming, delivery, distribution, marketing and environmental management.
• Decrease non-recyclable plastics from Big Box Stores in our landfill.
• Keep money on Kauai by circulating the dollar.
• Support a circular economy rather than a linear one.