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Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu--Revitalizing Breadfruit

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Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu is a project to revitalize 'ulu (breadfruit) as an attractive, delicious, nutritious, abundant, affordable, and culturally appropriate food which addresses Hawai'i's food security issues.

Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu is a project of the Hawaii Homegrown Food Network and the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens.

Breadfruit publications for free download

Download new guides for farmers, cooks, and consumers. Grow, prepare, and eat breadfruit like a pro!

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Instructional videos

Handling and Preparation of Breadfruit with celebrity chef Sam Choy

Breadfruit—Best Practices for Harvest and Postharvest

The Ho'oulu breadfruit cookbook: Learn how to pick or buy fruit, cook, and prepare wonderful breadfruit dishes!

Breadfruit-cookbook-front-cover-300px2This new cookbook is essential for both novice and expert breadfruit cooks. It covers how to select fruit that will have the best taste and texture for the dish you are preparing. Then it covers the most important ways to cook breadfruit to eat plain (like potato) or use in various recipes. Finally, it presents 20 recipes selected from the last 25 years of breadfruit cookoffs and cooking contests in Hawai'i, allowing you to pick a dish perfect for any occassion. Your purchase helps support the Ho‘oulu ka 'Ulu—Revitalizing Breadfruit project.

Order the book now from Amazon.com.

Talking Trees Smartphone Apps—Learning From Breadfruit in Hawai‘i

Take a real or virtual tour around Hawai‘i's Big Island and learn about the culture and history of the island through stories of the ‘ulu (breadfruit). This resource rich map includes points of interest enhanced with Hawaiian mythological stories, interviews with local cultural practitioners, information about breadfruit and the culture and history of ‘ulu in Hawai‘i.

Download the free iPhone Talking Trees app.
Download the free Android Talking Trees app.

Why breadfruit?

It is well known that Hawai'i imports about 90% of its food, making it one of the most food insecure states in the nation. Additionally, since the economic downturn of 2008, many families lack access to affordable and nutritious food. We believe that breadfruit is a key to solving Hawaii's food security problems.

Breadfruit is nutritionally and culturally important throughout the Pacific- for Hawaiians and the thousands of non-Hawaiian Pacific islanders who make Hawai'i their home. The beautiful breadfruit tree plays a major role in the spiritual and cultural life of Hawaiians and it was a key staple food and a source of wood, craft materials and medicine. For hundreds of years before Western contact, traditional Hawaiian breadfruit groves were capable of providing the food value to sustain at least 75,000 people. Today, few of these trees remain.

Any serious conversation about food self-sufficiency and nutrition in Hawai'i should include plans to efficiently utilize the 'ulu trees that remain, to revitalize 'ulu by planting more trees together with their associated food crops, and educating about 'ulu cultivation and uses.

Simulation of Kona kaluulu region prior to Western contact.
Simulation of Kona kaluulu region prior to Western contact. The kaluulu region is estimated to have produced 36,000 tons (72,000,000 lb) of breadfruit per year.

The Project

Young 'ulu fruit.
Young 'ulu fruit.

Revitalizing breadfruit in Hawai'i requires a multi-pronged approach. Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu is currently developing a variety of projects in the following priority areas.

Culture and history

Tell the Story of the Culture and History of 'Ulu in Hawai'i: Tell the story of Hawai'i Island's long history with 'ulu with the intention of building upon this history to bring 'ulu back into common use. Breadfruit Festival 2011 was held on September 24, 2011, at Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in South Kona, and next festival is scheduled for March 2-3, 2012 at Kua O Ka La Public Charter School in Puna, Hawai'i Island.

Environmental research

Create an Inventory of Existing Trees: Create an inventory of existing trees, including locations, uses, productivity, number of trees and species. This information will be used to increase knowledge about 'ulu field systems, preserve existing trees, determine quantity and feasibility of making the fruit available for distribution, determine which varieties work best in which locations, and determine location and varieties for new plantings.

Research: Conduct and support research on adaptability of key varieties, effect on soils over time, the environmental history of the kalu 'ulu zone and productivity of a mixed agroforestry system.

Planting and establishment

Increase Island-Wide Breadfruit Population: Increase island-wide planting of 'ulu in the community by increasing access to a diversity of breadfruit varieties through community planting projects and outreach to the public, community groups and schools.

Increase Island-Wide Planting of 'Ulu—Develop as a Commercial Crop: To take 'ulu from being an underutilized resource to becoming a profitable crop by determining the most productive varieties, developing management practices, increasing the variety of plants available, increasing accessibility to plants, and developing outreach materials to support the commercial production of breadfruit. To simultaneously develop commercial farms, distribution systems and the market.

Agroforestry – Agroforestation: Utilizing the Hawaiian/Polynesian style agricultural system of mixed agroforests ('ulu, sweet potato, banana, taro) to restore the kalu 'ulu zone, other historical 'ulu groves, denuded agricultural land and demonstation agroforests.

Creating consumer demand

Public Education to Restore 'Ulu as a Key Component in the Local Diet: To reintroduce 'ulu as an attractive, delicious, nutritious, abundant, affordable, and culturally appropriate food. To reinstate 'ulu as a staple food in Hawai'i again as a regular and enjoyable part of the local palate, along with taro and sweet potato. To foster appreciation of the trees and fruits as assets in the garden.

Engage Pacific Islanders: To engage Hawaiian and Pacific islander communities who have a current cultural context and taste for breadfruit in all aspects of the project.

Elements of Market Creation: Simultaneous to cultivating farmers, a comprehensive market development plan will be implemented to develop the commercial market for breadfruit both inside and outside Hawaii.

Food security and alleviating hunger

Food Security and Alleviating Hunger: Of primary importance to both market development and food security is the harvesting of existing breadfruit to be distributed to markets and the food insecure. The development of animal feeds from local inputs is also critical to future food security in Hawaii.

Increase Access to Nutritious Food: Promote 'ulu and associated Hawaiian crops as elements of a healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate diet that helps address the root causes of obesity and related disease.

Youth engagement

Youth Engagement: To engage the youth in propagating, planting, harvesting and preparing 'ulu; as a physical activity, agricultural training, to increase nutrition, access to food and to develop a familiarity with the breadfruit as food.

Who?

Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu is a project of the Hawaii Homegrown Food Network and the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens.

Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu planning committee enjoys an all-'ulu lunch prepared by the Culinary School at UH West Hawai'i.
Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu planning committee enjoys an all-'ulu lunch prepared by the Culinary School at UH West Hawai'i.

The Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu Planning Committee is comprised of 25 key stakeholders representing 16 Hawai'i nonprofit, university, and government organizations. Initial planning for this project was funded by the Ulupono Initiative.

For more information, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. the project co-directors Craig Elevitch and Andrea Dean.