Among the winners of the different categories in the recently held 1st Annual Sam Choy Keauhou Poke Contest held Sunday, March 18th at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort was the entry by the ’Aina Life Culinary Arts Class of the Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School at Pū'āla'a in Lower Puna. Mariposa Blanco, the school’s Culinary Teacher, and Susie Osborne, School Principal and Administrator, entered the class’s ‘Ulu–‘Ahi Spicy Poke, and won First Place in the Non-Professional Spicy Category.
The first Puna ‘Ulu Festival took place Saturday, March 3, 2012 at Ho‘oulu Lāhui, the site of Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School at Pū‘āla‘a, adjacent to the ‘Āhalanui County Park warm ponds in Puna. Despite island-wide rain, the weather at Pū‘āla‘a was clear, and the event was attended by about 1,200 people.
Many people now have some sense of the importance of growing food at home. Here are a few of the benefits of homegrown food.
Taste and nutrition
Homegrown is the freshest and therefore tastiest and most nutritious you can get. There is nothing like the flavor and vitality of freshly picked fruits and vegetables. Research has shown that produce that has been on the store shelf for a few days has significantly lower nutritional value as compared with freshly harvested produce.
Homegrown gives you control over your food. Currently about 85% of our island’s food is imported by ship or airplane from distant locations, and there is just a few days worth of food in stores at any given time. Many residents are concerned about economic, ecological, or health issues that might slow down or cut off our food imports. Many of our Hawai‘i Island Community Development Plans prioritize growing more of our food locally, supporting farms, and protecting agricultural lands. An event that restricted food imports might also curtail imports of fuel, fertilizer, and chemicals that are used commercially to produce and distribute food on the island.
It shouldn't surprise us that more and more people are beginning to wake up about our food situation. Living in these islands, so far away from any other landmass, we are dependent on much of our food being imported and at the mercy of many whims of nature and man.
Farmers Markets & CSAs
Farmers Market Co-ops
We know that not all of us can farm or grow enough to maintain a booth of our own at any of the farmers markets, or have the time to do so, but here is a concept that started a bit over a year ago and now others are picking up in other areas.
There are several very enterprising people who are forming co-ops to sell whatever amount of produce/fruit/veggies you might have growing in your yards or farms w/o having to make a weekly commitment to rent or man your own booth at a market.
Remember the Food Pyramid? Well...that was recently flattened into a plate! The new "food pyramid" is now called "Choose My Plate" which is designed to help people more closely approximate—on a plate—the daily, healthy amounts of food to eat in each food group.
Here in Hawai‘i we are going one step further: we call it the "My Eat Local Hawai‘i Plate"--which is designed to help people choose healthy, locally grown foods.