Kanu Hawaii: 2010
Due to Hawaii’s geographical isolation, shrinking local agriculture and heavy dependence on imports, the state’s food supply is vulnerable. If barge and air service were interrupted, the islands would have food supplies to last only 12-14 days. Since the 1960s, nearly half of Hawaii’s best farmland has been lost to development.
Kanu Hawaii’s Eat Local Challenge encourages Hawaii residents to eat strictly local for one week and actively participate in supporting the state’s local food system. Kanu Hawaii wanted to get more participation for the Challenge’s second year, so contracted with Hastings & Pleadwell (H&P) for an integrated public relations strategy to reach local communities across the state.
H&P worked with Kanu Hawaii on an effective, yet low-budget communication plan. H&P crafted a general press release that included a detailed calendar listing and featured film descriptions. H&P scheduled interviews with local television media to advance the Eat Local campaign. Members of the H&P team reached their social networks with the message and/or hosted eat local dinners.
The overall coverage of the campaign was significant. The Eat Local Challenge was the featured story in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Today section and received media exposure from the newspaper six times. Joleen Oshiro’s feature story kicked off the Star-Advertiser’s coverage, encouraging readers to support the challenge. Dave Koga joined the conversation, writing about the larger problem of food sustainability in Hawaii. World Wide Ed made a plug for the campaign and editorial writer Vicky Viotti wrapped up coverage with a detailed account of the challenges and recipes she personally encountered while trying to eat local. The Eat Local Challenge also made front-page news in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in Hilo.
The state’s three major televised news stations featured an Eat Local story. The campaign was a featured story in KHON 2’s Be Green 2 segment, airing during Hawaii News at 5. KITV aired a segment during their 6 p.m. broadcast and Hawaii News Now featured a live in-studio cooking demo during their Sunrise program.
The subscription online news outlet, Honolulu Civil Beat, ran a daily column by Michael Levine, which outlined his attempts to “eat local,” followed by an analysis of the challenges. Levine also wrote three pieces on local food production: the role of grocery stores, how our schools don’t measure up on the local food meter, and the challenges facing local farmers.
The campaign’s coverage was most prominent in the use of social media. Blogs across the state took part in featuring the Eat Local Challenge and some dedicated multiple entries to the cause. Bloggers wrote about supporting the challenge, personal experiences trying to eat local and shared recipes made completely with local ingredients.