Keith Ranney Talks Story – Volunteering & Greening

We’ve been programmed to believe that a throw-away society is sustainable, but the truth is, it’s not.  -Keith Ranney, Volunteer Manager

Keith Ranney is the Volunteer Manager for the 21st Annual Haiku Ho’olaule’a & Flower Festival. He is passionate about helping the community, whether it’s coordinating volunteer efforts or making efforts toward a “zero waste” event. He is a treasure for our Maui community, and if you have the opportunity to volunteer for the festival you will soon find out what a wonderful person he is to serve alongside! Enjoy this recent interview with Keith (then sign up to volunteer). 🙂

1. Tell us a little more about your role in the festival this year:

As Volunteer Manager I’m responsible for documenting all volunteer needs before the festival according to requests by the event and committee chairs. Those needs are input into a volunteer management database system called Volunteer Impact which is used by several other major organizations on Maui that host large events (Maui Film Festival, SeaburyHall’s Crafts Fair, Pacific Whale Foundation). Secondly, I make sure volunteers register and create a profile and affiliate themselves with the Haiku community event. Once registered and processed, volunteers can create their own schedule from the list of volunteer activities (shifts). Part of my job is to help people who are new to the system, but once they’ve tried it a few times they end up saving me and the host organization a great deal of time. For the event itself I’m one of the first to arrive in the “wee hours” and then spend the day supporting each committee chair by inquiring about any volunteer needs.


2. What are your hopes for the volunteer crew? Any particular areas that need extra coverage? How would one volunteer for this event?

 The Ho’olaule’a & Flower Festival has become a community treasure – way bigger than the school itself can manage on it’s own. So I’m hopeful the community will participate. We need parking help, food servers, security, runners ready to drive for supplies as needed, and help with setup on Friday and breakdown after the event. It’s easy to register as a volunteer and self schedule from the Art of Volunteering website:


3. Can you tell us about the festival efforts to be even “greener” this year? 

 Events provide the opportunity to see how much waste is generated by humans. We’ve been programmed to believe that a throw-away society is sustainable, but the truth is, it’s not. For our future generations we must make greening all events on our precious island “zero waste.” All that’s required is that people take responsibility and bring their own shopping bag, bowl or plate, utensil and refillable water bottle. Patrons can purchase refills. Waste is also the responsibility of the vendors since they choose whether to provide compostable containers. In our third year of greening the Maui Film Festival our Waste Stream Management crew diverted over 1200 lbs of food waste from our finite Maui Land Fill into a backyard composting operation. I’m reaching out to the Maui chapter of the Hawaii Farmer’s Union United to help supply and pick up bokashi buckets and recruiting volunteers to help educate patrons and supervise the separation of trash, recyclables and compostables. (See more green tips here for the festival)


4. Why is it important for us to make an effort to be green? How does our waste affect the island, in your opinion?

 The Maui Landfill is expected to reach capacity in 2030. I would like to see events on Maui adopt South Sea Islander practices of using banana stalks for bowls and banana leaves for plates and a network of local farmers receiving tons of soil nourishment from our local events. Our generation is witness to the folly of an economy that focuses primarily on growth with our ecology taking the hit. Wasteful packaging may be great for marketing but we’re choking on plastic. It can be found in nearly every newborn’s umbilical chord and plastic particulate is more plentiful in our oceans than plankton. When our economies become aligned with our ecology, we’ll know that we haven’t thrown future generations under the bus.


Mahalo, Keith, for your tireless efforts in making the 21st Annual Haiku Ho’olaule’a & Flower Festival another memorable one for our community and keiki. May future generations in Maui thank you for leading the way to “zero waste” events as well!


Here’s a quick checklist for you to help make the festival a “zero waste” event:

  • Bring your own water bottle.  You can refill your bottle for $1-2.00 at our water stations.  Proceeds will benefits the Haiku Boys and Girls Club.
  • Bring your own shopping bags.  Then shop, shop, shop at our Marketplace full of wonderful Crafters, and our Silent Auction.
  • Pack plates and cutlery in and out.  We will have plates and cutlery available, but be a dear and consider packing in and out your own plates and cutlery, to help our Restaurant Row Vendors and PTA Kau Kau Committee reduce their use of paper products.
  • Bring used books to the festival.  You can donate them on the spot to our Book Swap which benefits Haiku School Library.
  • Bring old phone books to the festival.  Bring them to the Community Center Scrip Booth, and we will recycle them in the “Think Yellow, Go Green” recycling campaign by The Berry Company.
  • Bring your kid’s clothing.  Bring clothing that your child doesn’t need anymore to exchange for clothing they do need at North Shore Church’s Community Exchange, happening in the Haiku Field House.
  • Carpool out to Haiku!
Finally, we’re still in need of volunteers to cover 2-hour shifts before, during & after the event. Will you bebe willing to volunteer? Here’s a quick link to sign-up: It’s easy to register as a volunteer and self schedule from the Art of Volunteering website:
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