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Building local, sustainable food communities on Hawai'i Island
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Based on West Hawaii Today Food Ads from Sept. 2011 to Sept. 2012
From 2009 to 2012 I have tracked the weekly food ads to discern any trends or major changes in the percentages of local produce to imported produce advertised in West Hawaii Today. The Big Island stores monitored include: KTA, Choice Mart, Foodland and Safeway.
Matt Thoman, Kitchen Manager, and Krista Donaldson, Sustainability Supervisor
Kona Brewing Company, Kailua-Kona, North Kona
Kona Brewing Company was founded in 1993 by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa with the philosophy of “living aloha.” Their company has grown to become the 13th largest craft brewery in the U.S. and their Kailua-Kona restaurant alone reaches $3.5 million dollars in gross revenue per year. With a policy of providing quality food and supporting the local community, about 65% of their produce comes from local sources. “To reach our sustainability goals, we can’t just rest on our successes. We are constantly looking for new produce sources and ways to innovate,” says Matt Thoman, kitchen manager.
I was recently invited to attend a Farmers & Chef Symposium and Lunch held at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka'upulehu in North Kona. This is the 3rd Annual event of its kind held at the hotel and serves as a way for Executive Chef James Babian and his staff to show their appreciation to the farmers, fishermen and other local purveyors who are the source of most of the food served by the hotel. The event started with a welcome from Robert Whitfield, General Manager, and Chef Jim then introduced several key people in the hotel's Food & Beverage Department.
Breadfruit Festival Goes Bananas 2012 slideshow
Hawai‘i Homegrown Food Network, the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden presented Breadfruit Festival goes bananas at the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in South Kona on Saturday, September 29, 2012 from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. This festival had all the breadfruit-related activities of the previous two festivals, including cultural and horticultural presenters and practitioners, story telling, cooking contest and demonstrations, youth crafts, 'ulu buffet and snacks, tree sales, fine art contest, and music. Recognizing 'ulu's traditional role in mixed agroforestry, the festival also highlighted 'ulu's Pacific-wide companion, mai'a (banana), with presentations by Angela Kay Kepler and others, as well as banana plants for sale. The Festival was free and open to the public—an estimated 1,900 people attended.
Mulch is a layer of decaying organic matter on the ground. Mulch occurs naturally in forests; it is a nutrient rich, moisture absorbent bed of decaying forest leaves, twigs and branches, teeming with fungal, microbial and insect life. Natural mulch stores the nutrients contained in organic matter and slowly makes these nutrients available to plants. Mulch also protects soil from desiccation by the sun and wind, as well as from the erosive effects of rain and run-off.
Mulch forms a necessary link in nutrient cycling vital for our soils. When mulch is absent for whatever reason, the living soil is robbed of its natural nutrient stores, becomes leached and often desiccates. Natural terrestrial environments without a litter layer are usually deserts. Non-desert plants grown in bare soil require constant fertilization, nutrient additions, and water, not to mention the work required to keep the soil bare.
It is encouraging to see the different ways individuals are taking on the challenge to make locally grown and produced food available in their own districts of the island.
About six or seven months ago, Michael Scott of Ocean View, a member of the e-mail Yahoo group Big Island Self Sufficiency (BISS), in which I am also quite involved, mentioned that he and his wife, Melanie Baca, were working on plans to open a location next to their own Aloha Dreams computer business to sell produce and other fresh goods in Ocean View.
After doing research, obtaining permits and procuring the use of a commercial kitchen, Home Grown Hawai’i opened its doors on Saturday, September 1st with a Grand Gala featuring music, an owner hosted barbecue and displaying produce and product from 12 different sources. Local vegetables, greens, herbs, fruit, coffee, eggs, homemade breads and other baked goods, jellies, jams, preserves, raw local honey, butter and feta cheese are just some of the items that can be found in the store.
- Build personal relationships with customers: Emmerich Grosch
- Bananas in Hawai'i Today
- Kea'au Natural Foods Store, with owner Wes Fujii
- Persevere through challenges: Roy Y. Honda Farm
- Mountain View Growers -- Strawberries
- Create strong relationships with customers: Adaptations
- Supporting homegrown food
- Factors in pest and disease prevention