Maui hosts Indigenous Crop Biodiversity Festival


WAILUKU, Maui, Hawaii – In September, Hawaii will be host to the International Union of Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress where more than 160 nations will gather to address some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time.

Maui County is answering the call with the Indigenous Crop Biodiversity Festival (ICBF), August 24th-30th – a week of festival, film, arts and culture, music, food, site visits, workshops, talks and talk-story on Maui and Moloka’i.

The ICBF shines a spotlight on the role of indigenous crop biodiversity in local food security and healthy communities. It is part of the common ground we share in the race to preserve the biological and cultural uniqueness of our world in the face of rapid climate change globally. Learn about native and invasive species, explore Maui and Molokai’s unique conservation efforts, and solutions for our islands.

Indigenous crop biodiversity is the rich collection of plant varieties that are found at the core of ancient cultures and were selected and refined by farmers and Indigenous People’s specific to the places they lived throughout the world. Indigenous crops have fed, healed, sheltered, clothed and inspired us for thousands of years. It is the foundation of Hawaiian agriculture, the source of our most island-adapted staple starches, and the cultural wealth of the Hawaiian people. Biodiversity conservation strives to preserve the millions of unique species and ecosystems of the planet in connection with the cultures that have evolved with them.

The festival includes both free and ticketed events open to the public, as well as special events for World Conservation Congress participants. Two competitions will challenge our local businesses and hotels to ‘Make it Native’ to showcase their native plants landscaping, and local families to bust out their best recipes for the ‘Make it Ono’ family recipe contest. Start the week by giving back to the aina through a county-wide Volunteer Conservation Workday. Join in the conversation of the Special Lecture Series.

Deepen your cultural connection with a night of hula and chant at “Papa ‘aina – gathering on the eating mats of the ali’” at the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. Participate in one of the many workshops, including the Art and Kuleana of Lei Making at the Bailey House Museum. Make it a date night at the ICBF Opening Ceremony and Evening and take the whole family to the big Festival Day at the Maui Tropical Plantation, and much more.

The theme of the festival, E Kumupa’a, calls on all of us in Maui County to restore a firm foundation for our islands! Together we plant a forest, a breadfruit tree, a taro patch, rebuild a fishpond, protect a reef, recall the names and languages of our ancestors and restore a firm foundation for our future. We are far more together than any one of us alone.