Localicious: Dine Out During March to Support Ag Education

Sansei Waikiki's Localicious dish: a crab and mango roll

Eating locally has always been a delicious way to support local farmers, but this month, not only is it getting easier to find locally-sourced dishes, but you'll be helping to educate the next generation.

“We really wanted to come up with a way to recognize restaurants that supported local farmers, ranchers and fishermen,” says Denise Hayashi, executive director of the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation (HAF), a non-profit organization promoting agriculture and farming. This has been one of its goals since it started in 2007. Its board of directors include Alan Wong and Dean Okimoto of Nalo Farms.

After tossing around ideas of a certification program—too sterile-sounding and boring—HAF came up with Localicious, a month-long event to highlight restaurants that source locally, all while raising money for ag education in schools.

So for the month of March, more than 65 restaurants are offering a Localicious dish and donating a dollar per dish toward HAF’s Veggie U program. Veggie U—Hayashi credits Alan Wong with discovering it—is a national non-profit that supplies classroom garden kits as a way for students to develop an appreciation for growing food, while weaving in lessons in math, science and more.

Through Localicious, HAF hopes to launch Veggie U in 50 schools across the state this fall.

What this means for you: special dishes such as Hoku’s catch of the day served on king crab coconut rice with Griffin Twigg Farms garlic kale and passion fruit sauce (Hoku's will be doing a different dish each week, including roasted Twin Bridge farms asparagus with roasted local radish, shaved fennel and uni fondue) Also on the menu: Shinsato Farms kiawe-smoked bacon with pineapple chutney at d.k Steak House; a Maui taro burger at Neiman Marcus’ Espresso Bar; a pesto zucchini “pasta” at Greens and Vines; a Kuahiwi beef loco moco with veal jus at The Pineapple Room. Town is going all local with its dish—a preparation of local vegetables, fish, lemon and limu. And even Zippy’s—which actively sources locally, working with local producers large enough to deliver a consistent supply—is on board with a breakfast plate of eggs, Portuguese sausage and rice.


Localicious Hawaii is giving away a special prize to one Biting Commentary reader. Enter to win dinner for two at Hula Grill Waikiki by March 12!