Slow Press – August 25, 2023

Volunteers needed for the 2023 Banana Fest

Banana Festival 2023 poster

Dear Friends and fellow Banana Lovers,

First, I would like to thank you so much for your support of last year’s inaugural Hoolaulea Maia/Banana Festival in Waimea Valley. It was a great success, in no small part due to the efforts of dozens of volunteers. Well over 1,000 people attended, more than 280 banana plants were purchased, and many happy folks went home with banana-patterned shirts and totes. More importantly, people had the opportunity to explore banana biodiversity in a big way—tasting different varieties, seeing unusual and beautiful banana flowers, and taking new varieties home to plant in their backyards

.As we gear up again for the next Fest—scheduled for Saturday, October 21, 2023— I am asking you for your kokua in making the event another grand success by volunteering. We will need help in setting up, checking people in, fixing fresh banana samples, setting up booth holders, aiding the banana fiber stampers, trash collection, and the final cleanup.

Things will be a little different this year because we don’t have a grant to cover Festival expenses. We will charge a $10 fee (thanks to the generosity of Waimea Valley, which will cover admission to the park as well) for adults and free entry to children 12 and under. This includes raw banana tastings at the big monkeypod table and chef-created samples. So far, Leeanne Wong of Koko Head Cafe and Jason Peel of Nami Kaze are on board. Folks are welcome to bring their own t-shirts or bags for banana fiber dyeing, which is also included in the admission fee.

Please let us know if you have a specific area you’d like to help with. This year, we are looking for “team leaders” for each task/area, which includes setting up, manning admissions, fresh banana tasting preparation, and final clean-up.

With gratitude and aloha,
Laurie Carlson

Support Maui’s Recovery

Slow Food family around the world! Historic #lahaina town is gone.  Over 100 fatalities, hundreds still missing, and over 1,700 buildings and 3,000 homes destroyed.

@chefwonder from @tinroofmaui has partnered with @wckitchen to feed displaced residents. You can donate to their efforts at

Chef @leeannewong of @papaainamaui has a link in her bio for a GoFundMe page created to support her staff that have lost their homes and workplaces. 

Donations can also be made to:


Slow Food USA’s annual Membership Drive

Nourish + Connect - Slow Food USA Annual Membership Drive poster

Slow Food USA’s annual Membership Drive starts in one week! This year’s campaign, Nourish + Connect, kicks off on Friday, September 1, 2023. Help raise money for your chapter, welcome new perspectives to the table, and grow the food justice movement across the US.

The Ark of Taste book is now available

Featuring a piece on Hawaii’s Gabe Sacher-Smith, banana researcher and Waialua farmer.

The Ark of Taste book poster

Slow Food USA’s book The Ark of Taste is now available wherever you love to buy books! This glorious new tome from Voracious explores the living catalog of our food heritage that preserves gastronomic treasures passed down for generations. Writers Giselle Kennedy Lord and David S. Shields and illustrator Claudia Pearson present stories of more than 70 unique and culturally significant foods, with recipes from Slow Food chefs and profiles of growers nationwide.

The Ark of Taste book cover

Explore the heritage foods that distinguish the culinary landscape of the United States in this visual encyclopedia for curious eaters and gardeners.

The Ark of Taste is a living catalog of our food heritage and a movement to preserve gastronomic treasures passed down for generations—some rare, some endangered, all delicious. Created by Slow Food, the Ark illuminates the history, identity and taste of these unique food products, many of which were revived or saved from extinction by their Slow Food champions.  The Ark of Taste book features the stories of how some of these American products almost didn’t reach our table, with recipes from Slow Food chefs and profiles of growers from around the country.

In these pages you’ll learn about the revival of some of these foods, including:

  • Carolina Gold Rice
  • Wellfleet Oysters
  • Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
  • Christmas Lima Beans
  • Tupelo Honey
  • Bourbon Red Turkey
  • Black Republican Cherries
  • And more!

These products reflect the cultural and biological diversity and storied history of our country. In learning the tales of these treasures, we can join together to keep them in production and on our plates, while also championing a more equitable alternative to industrial agriculture.

Permanent link to this article: