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Venison vs. Vegans


Faith Chase, a 49-year resident of Maui, is a mother and grandmother who has testified at many Maui County and Hawaii State hearings. Her interest in island agriculture inspired her turn from graphic design to writing.

While Hawai‘i has its fair share of agriculture problems, this one has an awkward ring, vegan bullies.

When Maui’s The Farmacy Health Bar began selling venison burgers a non-customer authoritatively spoke to dining customers telling them they shouldn’t be eating venison burgers. The young waitresses interpreted him suggesting it wasn’t healthy for them. Comments on social media have stirred negative commentary as well.

In stark comparison, The Farmacy has been awaiting and been excited to share the news of bringing this item to the market. Far more customers are buying up the menu favorite than there are broccoli swinging paleo protestors. The experience of recent online banter has been more curious than just a yelp comment, it has made the owners understand that there is a conversation to be had.

A long supporter of eco friendly shave ice serving products and an adamant supporter of the Maui County styrofoam ban, The Farmacy Health Bar owners are hosting their first community meeting. The meeting is at Haiku Community Center from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm. A Soup-Off by the two locations in Pukalani and Wailuku will be highlighted. The idea was inspired by soup fan patrons.

The back story is also not without controversy. At one point ranchers, educators, grant writers, working groups, chefs, waste stream managers, private upcountry property owners and Maui County were all in disagreement. The tri-isle issue of Axis deer had to also make individual island approach adjustments. It inspired Moloka‘i community members to gather and hash out the nitty gritty of black and white legal language of selling venison commercially.

The story of value-added venison products has bloggers inspired and popular food mags calling hunters and producers. Most ardently is MauiNui Venison, taking ownership of the supply and completing the rendering process, product making and restaurant delivery. Many other establishments besides The Farmacy Health Bar Maui are fortunate to include it on their menu.

It has been a long journey in figuring out how to find profit, assist in the over population on Maui and find an understanding with heritage hunters. At one point it seemed a daunting task and many expensive ideas got tossed around. Technology has greatly aided to the task of bringing venison to the market. The USDA inspector having the ability to remotely view Axis deer hunts via live feed. Sounds wild, it is. Field harvesting of this kind is not applicable everywhere.

Any Maui Farmacy paleo point of view has yet to be properly vetted. While ranchers and vegetarians are regularly on the other side of the table, they generally avoid each other or controversy for the most part. This venison issue has raised a market misunderstanding and markets demand.

The community meeting on Wednesday will hold space for this venison conversation as well as provide the chance to discuss other related issues. All interested in the Venison to market, Maui waste management and other conversations might find interest enough to attend. Much work is to be done and it appears that it will take both sides to keep the balance.

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