HOW TO BUILD A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR MAUI: SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS
Valley Isle Excursions (VIE) is committed to the necessary and collective effort toward fostering responsible tourism across Hawaii and especially here on Maui. As residents of Maui, with many of our team having been born and raised in Hawai’i and a handful being native to the land, we are passionate about caring for our islands’ natural environment, respecting and preserving local cultures, fostering social justice and helping our local economy to thrive.
Year after year, thousands of people from around the world choose to make Maui their vacation destination, and we of Maui are honored. Tourism makes up a significant part of Hawaii’s economy. In addition, those of us fortunate to call this place home find joy in sharing the uniqueness of local and native culture.
However, to facilitate tourism at unsustainable levels with little thought and even less action to address its negative impacts is a selfish approach and ultimately, a dire mistake. As we at Valley Isle Excursions (VIE) engage with hundreds of Maui visitors on a daily basis, we strive to use our platform and role in tourism to serve both the community that we live in as well as our guests.
As a tour operator on Maui it is our kuleana (responsibility) and our purpose to raise awareness on the importance of working together to mālama (care for) Hawai’i so that our beloved island home remains a beautiful place to live and visit.
Supporting Local is an Important Part of
‘Supporting local’ is a fun and easy way visitors can contribute to a sustainable Maui, so why not start there! Make it a point to taste authentic local flavors, submerge in culture and history, participate in local events, and purchase unique “Made In Hawaii” products.
Sometimes it can be hard to decipher how ‘local’ a business or event truly is. There are a wide range of businesses here that are technically ‘local’ but to what extent does the business engage with the community, elevate Hawai’i culture, practice sustainability, care for the island environment, and integrate with or support other local Maui businesses? Who are the business owners? Are they rooted in Maui? How invested are they in our community? Take some time to ask these questions the next time you are considering how to ensure your money has the most impact in supporting local Maui families and Maui’s economy.
Swap Meets, Farmers Markets, Craft Fairs, and Cultural Festivals are generally great places to shop local products and vendors. There are many small businesses and local brands to discover at these marketplaces and they exist all over the island. Some are open weekly, while others might be monthly or once a year events.
There are tons of local Maui brands to point out to visitors, but that will have to be a blog of its own. Stay tuned for a piece down the road on brands that were born and built right here on Maui by Maui folks.
We are a tight knit community and there is likely a fundraising event every weekend on Maui. From an elementary school’s ho’olaule’a, to the visitor industry’s charity walk (Maui’s largest single day fundraiser that benefits Maui nonprofits), there are a myriad of events that can make for a fun and interactive day on Maui while supporting the community. Take the time to look into them. These fundraising events may very well provide the very unique Maui experience you are looking for!
When dining out look for restaurants that are not only locally owned, but that prioritize sourcing from local farmers, ranchers and fishermen as well. Chefs and restaurants that make it a point to source locally, usually identify local products on their menus.
There are many locally owned and operated restaurants we can recommend, but that too will need to be a blog of its own!
When at the grocery store look for indications of “locally grown” produce. Approximately 85-90% of Hawaii’s food supply is imported, so locally sourced food may be hard to find, but the more people inquiring about it the better! There are efforts statewide to improve Hawaii’s food security. A demand for local supply by the end consumer is a vital piece to strengthen that collective effort.
Check out the Links below to see what local events might be happening during your next visit to the Valley Isle.
Calendars for local MAUI events and activities:
- https://mnbg.org/calendar/ – native cultural activities at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens
Marketplaces on Maui:
- Maui Swap Meet – Weekly – https://www.mauihawaii.org/maui-shopping/swap-meet/
- Maui Sunday Market – Weekly – https://mauisundaymarket.com/
- QKC Morning Makeke – Weekly – https://queenkaahumanucenter.com/event/morning-makeke/
- Farmers Markets around Maui – Weekly – https://mauicountyfarmbureau.org/maui-farmers-markets/
- Maui Friday Town Parties – Monthly – https://www.mauicounty.gov/2392/Maui-Friday-Town-Parties
Entertainment Venues on Maui:
- Maui Arts & Cultural Center – https://mauiarts.org/events.php
- Queen Kaahumana Center – Kamaaina Nights (3rd Fridays) – https://queenkaahumanucenter.com/events/
- Pro Arts Playhouse – https://proartsmaui.org/shows-events/
Monthly picks for FUN Fundraisers and Cultural Events on Maui:
Buy Back the Beach benefit Luau – https://www.hilt.org/events/buy-back-the-beach
Maui Whale Festival – https://www.pacificwhale.org/mauiwhalefestival/
Maui 5K (for Maui schools) – https://www.maui5k.org/
Hoʻomau – (Cultural focused vendors, food, entertainment) https://mnbg.org/calendar/
East Maui Taro Festival in Hana – www.tarofestival.org
Celebration of the Arts – https://kapaluacelebrationofthearts.com/
Maui County Charity Walk – https://www.charitywalkhawaii.org/maui-county
Maui Ag-Fest and 4 H Livestock Fair – www.mauicountyfarmbureau.org
Maui Huliau Foundation Food & Film Festival – https://mauihuliaufoundation.org/huliau-food-film-festival/
Festivals of Aloha – https://www.festivalsofaloha.com/events.html
Maui Fair in Kahului – www.mauifair.com
Kula Country Farms Pumpkin Patch – http://kulacountryfarmsmaui.com/pumpkin-patch
Made In Maui County Festival – https://www.madeinmauicountyfestival.com/
Hula o na Keiki – https://www.kbhmaui.com/hulaonakeiki
Watch for Holiday concert specials and tons of pop up craft fairs in December!
Haleakala Waldorf Schools Annual Holiday Faire – https://www.waldorfmaui.org/75/fundraising-events