Let’s dream of a better ag future.
Image: Courtesy Cab Spates

Festivals / There’s a reason people retreat to the country for refuge from the feverish city life. Besides providing leisure, the country has also long been a hub for those who practice sustainable agricultural methods. The 7th Annual Optimysstique is a daylong food and educational festival devoted to sustainability, held in Haleiwa at Uncle Matsu’s Farm. Through guest speakers and interactive learning, Optimysstique seeks to further the momentum of spreading knowledge about growing, eating and continuing the food cycle responsibly.

Host of Optimysstique, event planner and small-business owner of an organic, farm-to-table catering business, “Brother” Cab Spates says, “Festivals, such as this one, highlight what is in the backyard that is largely overlooked, due to loss of information and a hurried way of life.” He adds, “People love coming to the North Shore or other less-developed areas . . . [They are] seeking refuge in nature.”

Refuge-hunters can seek and find hourly yoga classes and presentations by speakers Jonathan Fritzler of the Aloha Movement Project and Dr. Wayne Warrington, a triathlete who focuses on fitness and health. North Shore Organic Gardening will sell plants and seeds, as well as host a plant exchange. Also planned is live music and entertainment from Jerome James, Jah Seeds Band, Paul Izak and others; artwork from Drew Toonz and Lindsey Nobel; a fresh produce sale from Uncle Matsu’s Farm; and food provided by Foundation Cooking, the Beet Box Cafe food truck and other chefs yet to be announced.

This year’s festival theme references Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Normalcy, Never Again” speech, or as we know it, “I Have A Dream”–prompted, Spates says, by his dreams of a better future for our agricultural lands.

Spates says “Opti” refers to “best,” or “optimal,” while “mysstique” alludes to everything mystical and magical, and likes to think that the festival’s name can be interpreted as an “optimistic, positive approach to the future.” With all the hands and minds involved in putting together this festival, it’s actually not so much of a stretch to imagine a brighter future for our agricultural prospects.

Uncle Matsu’s Farm, 66-351 Paalaa Rd., Sat., 1/19, 10am–10pm, [optimysstique.com], $15–$50