Categorized | Agriculture

Local food system news for West Hawaii

Special to Hawaii 24/7 by Marcy Montgomery | One Island’s Sustainable Living Center

How local is your food? How fresh and how nutritious? With more 85 percent of Hawaii’s food being imported, these issues impact everyone in the islands.

How do we develop access to more local foods and support local farms? It all boils down to the food-smart practice of increasing our food security – something we can work together to solve from the ground up.

Keeping small farms alive and in family hands will generate positive health, cultural, and economic benefits rippling through-out every community and we each have a role we can play, whether we are consumers or producers – or both.

One Island’s Sustainable Living Center is a non-profit education program based in Honaunau that is hosting a campaign to help local residents reclaim control over our local food system.

This West Hawaii campaign addresses issues of food access, affordability, production, and is opening opportunities from soil building all the way up the food system to farmer’s markets, CSA food groups, and farmer-to-chef dinners.

Fresh, fabulous food on your plate? You bet!

Campaign Efforts Underway

One Island recently launched a co-op farm booth at the South Kona Green Market ( held above Choice Mart in Captain Cook, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays) and our interns are selling local farm’s aquaponic lettuce, bok choy and onions, exotic jams, fresh fruits – figs, pineapple, papaya, lilokoi, limes – and are actively sharing resources about farm learning opportunities (Garden Workshops, WWOOFing, Weed Dating, etc).

We also have had requests to begin a Food Share at our free Wednesday night potlucks where food abundance will change hand in $5 trade increments. Food Shares are 4-6 p.m., potluck at 6 p.m. and special presentations at 7 p.m.

Potlucks feature a different theme each week, as announced at www.one-island.org/hawaii

There is growing interest from West Hawaii consumers and producers to launch the CSA (community supported agriculture) food basket project that we are planning to begin in the fall, directly connecting buyers to farms, including pick-up locations in rural and town locations.

We are hearing increased interest in a fruit and veggie gleaning project where our enthusiastic volunteers will help you maintain your garden or farm by gathering fresh foods that will be harvested by volunteers and sold to raise funds for sustainability education programs – including school field trips to local farms.

Action Opportunities

We are now inviting gardeners and farmers with abundant or specialty crops to let us know what they have and we’ll help get the food out to West Hawaii residents.

We are also hosting gardening and farming workshops at our facility in Honaunau to help residents learn to grow their own food.

When it’s ripe, let’s get it on plates rather than the ground!

Consumers

If you are a supporter of local foods, here are some food-smart options:

* Support our farmer’s coop at the Green Market on Sundays – look for us under the Honaunau Now! banner.

* Get ready to start ordering fresh local foods using an online order form each week for custom food baskets that will be ready for pick up on Wednesday afternoons.

* Join One Island for ‘Potlucks with a Purpose’ on Wednesday evenings where you can purchase our local produce and products, or trade excess fresh fruits and vegetables you have in $5 value increments at our Food Shares on Film and Green Living nights. Details are posted on our Calendar.

* Email us the types of fruit trees or produce you have an abundance of in your backyard or garden that you would like to invite volunteers to come glean as a fund raiser for non-profit programs, including local school field trips to farms.

Growers & Producers

If you are a grower of fresh local foods or make local food products:

* Send us a list of products you can deliver to us in Honaunau on Tuesdays, understanding that each week it will be different products, just send a list of the possibilities. Include your wholesale pricing (by pound for fruits and veggies, per piece for products).
These will be considered for inclusion in the CSA baskets. Open to growers in South Kona and Ka’u Districts.

* If you are in Honaunau between Napoopoo and Hookena, let us know of products you would be interested in having us sell at the Sunday South Kona Green Market under the Honaunau NOW! co-op banner.

* If you find you have an abundance of fruit or vegetables you would like to share with the community, either as a direct food trade, or as a donation to our gleaning project, let us know.

* Farm Help support group – if you would like to share strategies and even benefit from pre-vetting of guest workers, we are forming a support group for farmers to help us attract and retain quality, eager, learners.

Support Local Farms and Reclaim our Local Food System … you can enjoy a better quality of life and make a measurable impact on your community’s health and well being.

Summer Workshops

Upcoming grow-your-own workshops are encouraging gardeners and farmers to overcome the obstacles our rocky soils present.

* Introduction to Biochar Workshop will help you gain more nutrients for your soil and grow more abundant foods – 9 a.m.-noon Saturday July 30 ($10 donation suggested).

* Introduction to Aquaponics Workshop will help you conserve both soil and water by using an innovative scalable growing system where fish provide the nutrients you need to grow healthy food crops – 9 a.m.-noon Sunday Aug. 14 ($10 donation suggested)

* Natural Farming is a 2-day weekend workshop to help you learn how to build healthier soil where plants will thrive and increase production by increasing the helpful microbes in the soil – 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 20-21. $50 for both days ($35 scholarship available for low-income families).

For further information, call 328-2452 or email hawaii@one-island.org

— Find out more:
www.one-island.org/hawaii

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