The skills that University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu Academy for Creative Media graduate Keola Iseri learned throughout the past several years as a student helped land him a key role in a new podcast about sustainable food systems, “The Thirty Percent Project,” available now on Apple Podcasts.
“The Thirty Percent Project” podcast launched in September and features deep-dive conversations about efforts to have a 30% Good Food System by 2030, centered on Hawai‘i and its Aloha+ Challenge, a statewide public-private commitment to achieve Hawai‘i’s social, economic, and environmental goals by 2030.
Iseri, who graduated from UH West O‘ahu in spring 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Media, serves as the podcast’s sound engineer. Iseri’s main responsibility is to record and edit the overall podcast, with guidance from the podcast’s creator, producer, and host, Paula Daniels — co-founder and chief of What’s Next and founding chair of the Center for Good Food Purchasing.
“I also use audio software to clean up and edit the podcast to make it sound professional — this can include things like getting rid of background noise or unwanted words or phrases,” Iseri said. “I pretty much take everything that was recorded and assemble it into one cohesive episode.”
He continued, “I am also tasked to find music and ambient sound that fits the style and message of the podcast.”
“The Thirty Percent Project” podcast invites listeners to explore systemic issues and solutions, and consider their relevance to all regions. In the podcast’s inaugural episode, “Indigenous Innovation” with Kamuela Enos, Daniels opens the program with an overview of the series.
“We are a podcast about goals to create a 30% local food system across the country, from New York to Illinois, from Brazil to Boston, and to the Hawaiian islands in the mid Pacific,” Daniels shares in the episode. “These and similar goals have been long established by state and local governments. What do these goals mean? How can they be accomplished, and why are they important? We’ll explore those issues in this series.”
Other episodes in the podcast are: “Lāhui: Valuing Community” with Dr. Now Lincoln, “ ‘Āina Based Thinking” with Mahina Paishon-Duarte, and “Land and Power” with Dr. Jonathan Likeke Scheuer.
Also involved in the project is Albie Miles, assistant professor and director of the Sustainable Community Food Systems program at UH West O‘ahu. The podcast is sponsored by the Hawai‘i Institute for Sustainable Community Food Systems at UH West O‘ahu
“This podcast is now a tool for Albie Mile’s Sustainable Community Food Systems program, where they can use this to promote UH West O‘ahu’s efforts in the area of sustainability,” noted Sharla Hanaoka, director of the Academy for Creative Media at UH West O‘ahu.
Hanaoka also emphasized the importance of Iseri’s role in “The Thirty Percent Project.”
“Keola’s work on this podcast was significant in that it had a two-fold effect,” Hanaoka said. “It showcased the transdisciplinary nature of Creative Media, and provided Keola the opportunity to gain confidence in his skills.”
Hanaoka added that Iseri is a graduate of Honolulu Community College’s “Music & Entertainment Learning Experience” (MELE) program, where he received an Associate of Applied Science in Audio Engineering.
“Keola not only has the ability to apply his skills as an audio engineer, but build the confidence to work on more projects like this,” she said.
Iseri said he has enjoyed working on “The Thirty Percent Project.”
“My experience so far working on this project has been really great because I got the opportunity to use the skills that I’ve learned over the years in college in a professional work environment,” Iseri said. “This pushed me to think critically in problem-solving and has really helped me to develop a healthy work ethic. I’m also really happy that I’ve created a workflow for producing podcasts and understanding the work it takes.”