Food and Power in Hawai‘i: Visions of Food Democracy

Paperback: $28.00
ISBN-13: 9780824876784
Published: May 2018
Hardback: $70.00
ISBN-13: 9780824858537
Published: September 2016

Additional Information

236 pages | 10 b&w illustrations
  • About the Book
  • In Food and Power in Hawai`i, island scholars and writers from backgrounds in academia, farming, and community organizations discuss new ways of looking at food policy and practices in terms of social justice and sustainability. Each of the nine essays describes Hawai`i’s foodscapes and collectively makes the case that food is a focal point for public policy making, social activism, and cultural mobilization. With its rich case studies, the volume aims to further debate on the agrofood system and extends the discussion of food problems in Hawai`i. Given the island geography, high dependency on imported food has often been portrayed as the primary challenge in Hawai`i, and the traditional response has been localized food production. The book argues, however, that aspects such as differentiated access, the history of colonization, and the neoliberalized nature of the economy also need to be considered for the right transformation of our food system.

    The essays point out the diversity of food challenges that Hawai`i faces. They include controversies over land use policies, a gendered and racialized farming population, benefits and costs of biotechnology, stratified access to nutritious foods, as well as ensuring the economic viability of farms. Defying the reductive approach that looks only at calories or tonnage of food produced and consumed as indicators of a sound food system, Food and Power in Hawai`i shows how food problems are necessarily layered with other sociocultural and economic problems, and uses food democracy as the guiding framework. By linking the debate on food explicitly to the issues of power and democracy, each contributor seeks to reframe a discourse, previously focused on increasing the volume of locally grown food or protecting farms, into the broader objectives of social justice, ecological sustainability, and economic viability.

  • About the Author(s)
    • Aya Hirata Kimura, Editor

      Aya Hirata Kimura is associate professor of women’s studies at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa.
    • Krisnawati Suryanata, Editor

      Krisnawati Suryanata is associate professor of geography at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa.
    • Christine R. Yano, Series Editor

      Christine R. Yano is professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
    • Robert Ji-Song Ku, Series Editor

      Robert Ji-Song Ku is associate professor of Asian and Asian American studies at Binghamton University of the State University of New York.


    • Krisnawati Suryanata
    • Kem Lowry
    • George Kent
    • Lilikalā K. Kameʻeleihiwa
    • Monique Mironesco
    • Neal K. Adolph Akatsuka
    • Benjamin Schrager
    • Aya Hirata Kimura
    • Mary Mostafanezhad
    • Saleh Azizi
    • Nicole Milne
    • Hiʻilei Kawelo
    • Michelle Galimba
    • Chris Robb
    • Dean Okimoto
  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • After the introduction, which includes a brief history of food production in Hawaii, welcome and compelling narratives from practitioners are interspersed with high-quality analytical essays from diverse disciplines—geography, political science, history, anthropology, sociology, and agriculture. The result is a multi-faceted look at a complex food system leading to a plea for participatory food democracy.
    • This book provides an analysis of the food and agricultural system of Hawai‘i, offering insightful historical details, personal stories, and research results that give a well-rounded synopsis of on-the-ground issues that are affecting farmers, local residents, and native peoples. [It] is highly recommended for students (both undergraduate and graduate), scholars, and professionals who are teaching and engaging in discussions on the issues of food justice, democracy, and security.
      —Celize Christy, Rural Sociology, 83:2 (June 2018)
  • Supporting Resources