New course at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resource Management: Agritourism

The course explores how Hawai‘i can move forward by integrating the rise in tourism, the interest of farmers to diversify, new markets, and the wildly popular foodie movements.

Brooke Hansen holding young coconut sprout.
Brooke Hansen

Brooke Hansen, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, is piloting a new agriculture course this semester geared toward the rapidly growing field of agritourism: Agricultural and Food Tourism (AG 194). The course explores how Hawai‘i can move forward by tapping into and integrating the rise in tourism, the interest by farmers to diversify and explore new markets and the wildly popular foodie movements (farm-to-table, locavore, Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine, food festivals, etc.).

With hands on activities, tours of local farms, and knowledgeable guest speakers, Hansen hopes to inspire students to explore careers in the field from marketing, consulting and entrepreneurship to value added product development.

Guest speakers for the course include Audrey Wilson (acclaimed food writer), Tom Menezes (senior vice president of Hawaiian Crown), Pomai Weigert (Hawai‘i AgriTourism Association), Luisa Castro (master preserver and food safety expert), Winnie Law (Hawai‘i Ecotourism Association), Nancy Ginter-Miller (Produce to Product, Inc.), and Tim Merriman and Lisa Brochu (tourism consultants, authors and founders of Heartfelt Associates). Topics include examining international and local trends, intersecting with sustainability and food security, cultural tourism and heritage plants, rules and regulations, and single commodity agritourism ventures (coffee, chocolate, tea, and more).

Brooke Hansen

Hansen has been teaching edutourism courses on Hawai‘i Island since 1999 focused on agriculture, food and kānaka maoli revitalization. Her specialties include food, tourism, sustainability, integrative health, indigenous studies and experiential learning.

In the fall, Hansen was a member of the Hawai‘i AgriTourism Association (HATA) planning committee for the Oct. 15 First International AgriTourism Symposium that featured international tourism experts, legislators, farmers and renowned chefs. She currently serves on the UH Hilo Blue Zones Committee, the UH Hilo Sustainability Committee and is the co-advisor of SOS (Students of Sustainability) along with Norman Arancon, associate prof. of horticulture. Inspired by Arancon’s work on vermiculture, Hansen has adopted a 100 percent food scrap composting policy at home and is making her own compost.