Warren K. Watanabe, Executive Director of Maui County Farm Bureau (MCFB), was especially delighted at the 2022 Maui AgFest and 4-H Livestock Fair. Maui’s signature agricultural festival representing the island’s farming and ranching industries was held at War Memorial Special Events Field. Canceled for the last two years due to the pandemic, the event in 2022 brought together the entire local agricultural industry to share what each group does in the county for the collective good, and to showcase the vital role of Ag in the economy, environment, and lifestyle of Maui.
“The importance of Maui AgFest is to educate the public about agriculture,” said Watanabe. “We have everyone here in one place, such as support agencies, farmers, ranchers, and the 4-H clubs representing the future of agriculture. I am thrilled to have the event back in person. People missed it. Most importantly, we were able to honor the legacy of the farmers and ranchers on Maui for both their contribution to Ag on our island and their influence during the time when agriculture was the number one industry Upcountry.”
To educate our future generation, MCFB has teamed with Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) to establish a certification program, Educate the Educator, which introduces Maui school teachers to the many opportunities for viable careers in agriculture. Throughout the year, MEDB works closely with teachers to plan field trips, in-class farmer presentations, and agricultural internships. Additionally, MEDB organizes use of resource tools including GPS (Global Positioning Systems), microscopes and much more.
“In 2006, MCFB launched Ag in the Classroom for second graders,” Watanabe added. “This is a 10-month series of in-class farmer presentations and on-the-farm activities, titled: Where Would We Be Without Seeds. The program, now extended to middle school and high school students, provides the opportunity to learn about the significant role local agriculture plays in our islands. Ag in the Classroom may plant a seed in our keiki that a career in agriculture is a positive choice. The possibilities range from in-the-field management and engineering to environmental and food sciences, biochemistry, agricultural economy, technology, research and public policy.”
Warren Watanabe, MCFB, Executive Director
MCFB and our partners offer students educational opportunities to learn about agricultural issues and their impact on our day-to-day lives.