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Talking Story

Talking Story





Revitalizing Breadfruit

Revitalizing Breadfruit

"The Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu Project.“

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. 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.

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Newsletter 28 - June 2011


This month features five articles from across Hawai'i Island and Kauai. We hope you enjoy their stories about growing food, medicine, and community.

Please remember to send us your local & sustainable food event announcements, which are posted to our events calendar in real time.


Enjoy eating locally & sustainably!

Mahalo nui loa,

Craig Elevitch and Pedro Tama
for the Hawai'i Homegrown Food Network
visit us on Facebook

Breadfruit tree in South Kona.


Every Thursday, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm, Hilo
Raw Food Made Easy

Every Friday, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm, Hilo
Vegetarian Cooking Made Easy

Every Saturday, 3:30 pm – 7:00 pm, Oahu
Organic Gardening Workshop & Dinner

Saturday, May 28, 2011, 10:00am, North Kona
Farmer & Chef Presentation

Wednesday, June 01, 2011, 03:30am - 05:00pm, South Kona
Selecting Verticals on your Pruned Trees - Whats Up with That?

Friday -Tues, June 03-07, 2011, 07:00pm, Hilo
Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?

Saturday, June 04, 2011, 09:00am - 12:00pm, South Kona
Summer Garden Workshop Series: From the Ground Up

Saturday, June 04, 2011, 09:00am - 12:00pm, South Kona
Summer Garden Workshop Series: Sustainable & Edible Landscaping

Saturday, June 04, 2011, 10:00am - 03:00pm, Oahu
Introduction to Permaculture Workshop

Sunday, June 12, 2011, 01:00pm - 03:30pm, South Kohala
4th Annual Art & Sol

Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 06:00pm - 08:00pm, Hilo
Natural Farming Meeting

Wednesday, June 15, 2011, 11:00am, Puna
Mountain View Growers Farm Tour and Potluck

Wednesday, June 15, To Wednesday, July 13, 2011, Puna
Permaculture Community Internship at La'akea

Saturday, June 18, 2011, 09:00am - 04:00pm, Puna
A Huna Perspective on Living Sustainably

Monday, June 20, 2011, 07:00pm - 09:00pm, North Kona
Hawai'i Tropical Fruit Growers Meeting

Saturday, June 25, 2011, 10:00am, North Kona
Farmer & Chef Presentation

Saturday, June 25, 2011, 10:00am - 03:00pm, North Kohala
Kohala's First Community Harvest Day

Saturday, July 09, 2011, 01:00pm - 05:00pm, Hamakua
Beginning Organic Beekeeping

Wednesday, July 13, 2011, 04:30pm
Hawai’i Tea Society Quarterly Board Meeting

Saturday, July 16, 2011, 09:00am - 12:00pm, South Kona
Summer Garden Workshop Series: Building Healthy Soil

Saturday, July 30, 2011, 10:00am - 05:00pm, North Kona
Healing Garden & Mango Festival 2011

Monday, September 12 -- Thursday, September 15, 201, South Kohala
Western Apicultural Society Conference & Tours

Saturday, September 24, 2011, South Kona
Hawai'i Breadfruit ('Ulu) Festival

Friday, September 30, 2011, South Kohala
Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival

Saturday, October 29, 2011, 09:00am - 03:00pm, Hamakua
5th Annual Hamakua Alive! Festival


View events calendar


Written by Tane Datta

Tane and Maureen Datta tend their certified organic micro-greens.
Tane and Maureen Datta tend their certified organic micro-greens.

Several times a week I get asked the question: “What should I grow?”

There are so many ways to answer. Some answers are trite but true, like ”Grow what you like to eat and what you can”. Other answers include a quick list of wanted plants: basil, beans, peaches, potatoes and on and on. Some of these could be grown here in Hawai‘i, depending on your elevation, rainfall, soil, etc., and others….well, not so easily.

Usually, I answer with a set of questions, the first and most important being, “Why?” There is no wrong answer, but the more deeply and honestly this question is answered, the better the choice of crops will be. People often have several reasons for growing plants, sometimes at cross purposes to each other. For example, a person may want to buy a farm, put in a large garden to become self sufficient, improve their health and make $2000/month land or mortgage payments. The self-sufficiency and health crops may have a very different agroeconomic profile than the profit-making crops. For self-sufficiency, the crop value may be measured in meals per hour and reliability of the harvest. Crops that fit this bill include bananas, breadfruit, coconut, squash and yams. These crops provide high food value for low care or time allotment. They may sell, but not at a high dollar per hour value.



Written by Sonia Martinez

Ohia Fields Farm packed CSA bag with newsletter.
Ohia Fields Farm packed CSA bag with newsletter.

Ohia Fields Farm is unusual in that it is located in two separate locations. The current home site and animal husbandry part of the operation is located on 4.5 acres of pasture above Honoka’a in Ahualoa, with beautiful views of Mauna Kea. The crop part of the farm is roughly 15 miles southeast on about 3/4 acres of their eventual home site farm. This consists of 22 forested acres up in the O’okala mauka area of Hamakua.  Both properties share approximately the same 2500 foot elevation.

Miliana and Jeff Johnson started by raising sheep and chickens for about 5 years. Miliana had gained previous animal husbandry experience while working at another farm, and it is only in the last year and half that they have raised vegetables and decided to operate the farm as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) business.

Although not organic, Miliana and Jeff do practice sustainable growing methods and do not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Soil samples are sent periodically to be analyzed and the soil is amended when needed using organic supplements such as K-mag, gypsum, OMRI Sulfate of Potash, dolomite and phosphate as well as composted chicken, horse and cow manure as well as their own composted waste from the fields. 



Written by Colleen Carroll

Everyone is welcome to chip in and help. Pastor Mary's daughter picks some tomatoes for an afternoon snack.

Just imagine what kind of world we would have if everyone grew gardens instead of lawns.--Leez, Kekaha community gardener

In the tiny little town of Kekaha, far on the west end of the island of Kaua‘i, a visionary preacher, church congregation and small group of dedicated gardeners have banded together to start the Kekaha Community Garden. While one intention is to create a place where locals can grow fresh, healthy, affordable food, the underlying philosophy is really to grow a stronger more connected community. The setting is quite informal (you might wonder, what could be formal in a garden -- but gardens and landscapes like homes, churches and public buildings have their own sense of place, and spoken or unspoken rules of order). In Kekaha Garden there is a sense that all are welcome. On Sunday evening when we entered the gate I was instantly greeted by a very large well-mannered dog and a few children gathering tomatoes and exploring the bounty.



Written by Andrea Dean

‘A‘ohe ‘ulu e loa‘a i ka pōkole o ka lou
No breadfruit can be reached when the picking stick is too short
[There is no success without preparation]

'Ulu trees are loaded with fruit in Kona this summer.
'Ulu trees are loaded with fruit in Kona this summer.

The first Hawai’i Breadfruit Festival will be happening September 24, 2011 at Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in South Kona, but will there be any mature breadfruit available in Kona at that time? This is the question that came up last month when Festival co-director Craig Elevitch and I met with Chantal Chung of Kids of Kona. The Kona ‘ulu trees had been loaded with fruit for the past three months, meaning that another big Kona harvest may not happen as soon as September.




Written by Barbara Fahs

Neem trees (center) growing within a Kona coffee orchard for shade, insecticidal properties, timber, and medicine.
Neem trees (center) growing within a Kona coffee orchard for shade, insecticidal properties, timber, and medicine.

It’s great that so many people are jumping on the homegrown food bandwagon. There is nothing more delicious and healthful than your own fresh fruit and vegetables grown with love without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers.

But for me, homegrown also means making my own medicines from plants in my garden, from the wild and from friends’ yards. And also using locally sourced materials -- like neem -- to improve soil fertility and food production. Recently I was brought into a discussion about a number of neem trees growing on the Hamakua Coast. The property owner had wanted to tear out his 70 or so trees in favor of fruit such as lychee and longan. Although I wasn’t directly involved in convincing him of their value, I am very happy that this valuable resource is now being preserved.




Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?  is a new, magnificent feature  film about colony collapse disorder of the honey bee and the need for sustainable agricultural systems. It will be showing at the Palace Theater in Hilo from June 3rd to 7th, at 7 pm, with the Sunday showing a matinee. "A remarkable documentary that's also one of the most beautiful nature films I've seen."-Roger Ebert.  “Stunning.. as soulful as it is scientific, as uplifting as it is alarming.”  See and our Calendar of Events for June 3rd.

Cindy Walsh of Kona Ulu nursery in her 7-year-old orchard of 'Ma'afala' breadfruit trees.
Cindy Walsh of Kona Ulu nursery in her 7-year-old orchard of 'Ma'afala' breadfruit trees.

Breadfruit trees will be available in quantity from Honaunau nursery Kona Ulu starting the middle of June. The variety of the trees is 'Ma'afala', a Samoan favorite that grows shorter and broader than the Hawaiian variety. At the nursery location in Honaunau, 'Ma'afala' has a track record of producing high-quality fruit for up to 9 months out of the year. Kona Ulu's breadfruit trees will also be available for purchase at the Breadfruit Festival on September 24, 2011. Field-ready trees in one gallon pots sell for $35.00. Email Cindy Walsh at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to order trees or visit Cindy at the Green Market in South Kona in June. A percentage of proceeds goes to the Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu - Revitalizing Breadfruit project.

Send your local and sustainable food announcements to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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