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Building local, sustainable food communities on Hawai'i Island
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The coconut, niu, is a uniquely life-giving tree for humans, a mainstay if you live near a tropical coast. It produces the only seed that we can open to drink vital water, eat nourishing nut-meat, and even make healthy oil. The coconut palm’s fronds, trunk, and fruit all have many uses. “Every part of the plant plays its role in the Polynesian lifestyle,” says Momi Subiono, a Hawaiian ethnobotany educator from Kona.
Kokoleka Lani Farms, at 1200 foot elevation in the Keauhou mauka area of Kona, is a 12-year-old cacao and coffee farm owned by Greg Colden.
The 5-acre farm sits on what is known in the area as Tanaka Hill, the highest elevation of what not long ago was the Tanaka Blue Rock Quarry. Greg currently has about three-and-a-half acres under cultivation.
A half-day chockfull of ‘ulu workshop was held on the morning of May 10th, at the Ho’oulu Lahui site of the Kua O Ka La Public Charter School at Pu’ala’a, located next to the ‘Ahalanui County Park warm ponds in Puna.
The presentations were aimed at backyard and commercial growers, entrepreneurs, chefs and home consumers.
Do you know if your papaya trees are GMO? I thought I did. I thought that since I raised trees from organic papaya seeds from a seed exchange or health food store, they were pretty certainly non-GMO. But I wasn’t positive, so last February I attended a “Seedy Saturday” workshop that included free testing of papaya trees. I learned about papaya genetics, cross-pollination, and how to ensure you grow non-GMO. And I learned that at least 6 of our roughly 50 trees were GMO.
With the recent sales and distribution of thousands of breadfruit trees in Hawai‘i, the production of breadfruit will grow dramatically over the next few years. This new production represents millions of dollars in potential retail sales of breadfruit in the next 5-8 years. In addition, breadfruit will play an increased key role in island food self-sufficiency, as it has been a primary staple food in the Pacific for thousands of years.
On Friday, February 28, 2014, Chef Scott Hiraishi, Executive Chef of Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai Restaurant, presented an outstanding Five Course Plus menu in appreciation of the many ranchers, farmers and purveyors that supply their kitchen with island grown bounty. Besides the farmers and ranchers present, the invited guests to the party included media and friends. All guests received a beautiful wooden handled steak knife engraved with the event name and restaurant logo and a ‘feed sack’ full of goodies.