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Building local, sustainable food communities on Hawai'i Island
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Below is a letter I wrote to a Hawaiian homesteader several years ago. He was interested in farming, but for some reason he had a difficult time understanding what he needed to do in order to create a farm business, and also wasn’t realistic about his goals. He was looking for solutions such as setting up a farm to teach others how to farm without having a basic knowledge of farming, or networking with others to get his farm started when he didn’t have any production.
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.
- Sam Choy's Kai Lanai 2014 Rancher’s Dinner
- Breadfruit Publications
- Intelligence, Culture, Food
- Sarah Ili: Hot Chili Pepper Water
- Locally Processed Foods by Honolulu Gourmet Foods
- Teeny Tiny Laupahoehoe Farmers Market
- Hyperlocal frozen dessert by OnoPops
- From tree to nib: making a small batch of cacao