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Locavore Dinner

locavore_dinner_2010at Annual Hawai'i Sustainable Education Initiative Fundraiser

On the evening of December 10th the Hawai'i Sustainable Education Initiative (HSEI) held its Third Annual Fundraiser in our one-room school house in downtown Honoka'a amidst children's toys, student artwork, musical instruments, desks, chairs, overflowing bookshelves and a teacher's very messy desk. Over a hundred friends, parents, and students descended onto the scene to applaud student musical and hula performances, participate in a silent auction and sale of students' arts and crafts, listen to homegrown music, and most of all, whet their appetite and satisfy their stomachs on a complete locavore dinner.

This year's fundraiser was conceived to be a true island-style celebration. The immediate goal was to raise funds for HSEI's rent. But the deeper intention was to share our lovely space with our school and garden family, friends and supporters, for a special evening together enjoying healthy, tasty, locally-grown food, good music and comraderie, while keeping the dollars circulating in our Hamakua community.

For all you foodies out there, check out our locavore dinner menu. Our chef, Stephen McPeek, a committed parent at HSEI, did a fabulous job of recruiting the foods and crafting the menu from what is locally available:


  • Salad with Friendly Aquaponics Lettuce from Susanne Friend and Tim Mann in Pa'auhau, drizzled with a Guava Vinaigrette and roasted Macadamia nuts (guavas and nuts from Kukuihaele).
  • Colorful Sweet Potato Salad with five kinds of Sweet Potatoes from Christopher Carter at Kapulena.
  • Luau Stew with beef raised by Jill Andrade in Honoka'a, taro leaves from the Kula o Mala Community School Garden in Honoka'a and from the Keolamauloa Family Farm in Paauilo, breadfruit from Caleenah Lawrence in Kukuihaele, and coconut milk from island coconuts.
  • Tilapia from Friendly Aquaponics with ginger from Susan Horie in Paauilo.
  • Vegetable stir fry: carrots and broccoli from Kyle and Kellie in Paauilo; green beans, pipinola, and herbs from Kula o Mala; other herbs from Caleenah; chives, shallots, and green onions Susan; Mac nut oil expelled from mac nuts from Kukuihaele; Hawaiian sea salt, onions and garlic from Neighbor islands.
  • Fruit salad: Poha Berries from Kula o Mala; 2 kinds of papaya and 2 kinds of lilikoi from Christopher; and apple bananas from Ming Wei and Bobby's farm in Paauilo.
  • Organic Mamaki tea sweetened with Honey from Jenny and Jio in Laupahoehoe and sugarcane juice from Christopher.
  • Coffee from Ka'u
  • Roasted green tea from Mauna Kea Tea Gardens in Ahualoa.

From this wonderful fundraising celebration I came away with three equally wonderful lessons:

  1. Laughter is essential.
    Whenever I called Steve to check in with him about his prep and cooking, all I could hear in the back ground were peals of laughter from the wonderful helpers working with him. They were building their own community around the food.
  2. Food is medicine.
    We fed 102 children and adults last night on food grown on this island (except the onions and garlic from Maui). And we still have leftovers. I think I was the only one hungry (too nervous to eat!). My dear farm apprentices and garden assistant who have hollow legs had THREE helpings or more each.
  3. COMMUNITY is everything.
  4. When it is darkest and almost hopeless, community holds you in a warm embrace and gives and gives. With community we can feed, and thus heal ourselves.
Mahalo for everyone's support!

*picture above: Serving an all-local dinner at Hawai'i Sustainable Education Initiative (HSEI) in Honoka'a on December 10, 2009.

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