Hawaii has a long history of diverse endogenous economic production, with a donut hole of monocrop plantations somewhere in the middle.
The islands have tasted fertile fields of kalo and foodstuffs; wine by Don Francisco de Paula Marin on what is now Vineyard Blvd; and fine ales and lagers from the Royal Brewery on Queen St. We’ve even been the recipient of an invitation by Napoleon III – a brilliant man who widened Parisian boulevards to make it easier to put uprisings down – to showcase Hawaiian arrowroot, awa, coffee, and kamani at Paris’ Universal Exposition of Agriculture and Industrial Products in 1854.
You might notice that this brief tour of Hawaii’s 19th century industrial history looks a lot like the new economy of taro patches, microbrews, and curated brewpubs which is popping up or digging down in areas like Kaka‘ako, Kailua, or Heeia. New start-ups are updating the “Made in Hawaii” brand with a sense of urban style and global aplomb, with extensions into technology and design. These are exciting days for island industry.