Archive for August, 2011

Kanu Hawaii's Eat Local Challenge

August 30th, 2011
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Locally grown apple bananas at KCC Farmers' Market. Photo by Nina Wu.

Locally grown apple bananas at KCC Farmers' Market. Photo by Nina Wu.

Kanu Hawaii's monthlong Eat Local Challenge starts this coming Thursday, Sept. 1.

For the third year, Kanu Hawaii is issuing the challenge, encouraging thousands of island residents to build a more sustainable, secure and healthy local food system. This time, the challenge lasts for an entire month instead of one week.

It's challenging to eat entirely local, but it's easier than it was in past years.

We now have locally produced milk (Hawaii Fresh, sold at Foodland and Down to Earth,Eat_Local_Logo from the Big Island) and cheese from Naked  Cow Dairy, along with local eggs and local beef, but still no locally produced olive oil (macadamia nut oil could be a substitute) — and forget rice because we don't grow rice here.

But we do have plenty of choices when it comes to fruits and greens — everything from locally grown tomatoes to lettuce to apple bananas, strawberries, papayas, mangoes, arugula, eggplants, mushrooms, chard and kale. We've also got avocados, limes, lychees, and basil, some of it right from your neighbor's or your own yards.

We want to support eating local because 1) It reduces the carbon footprint of foods transported from the mainland and other countries and 2) It supports local farmers and the local economy and 3) It promotes food security.

One of the best ways to start eating local is to visit a local farmers' market (and the number of these markets are growing - you now have markets organized by various groups other than the popular ones by the Hawaii Farm Bureau). You can chat with the farmer or grower who actually grew the papaya you're buying, eliminating packaging and shipping. Remember to bring your own shopping bag, and learn what's in season.

I've become a fan of Ho Farms multi-colored tomatoes, as well as their golden grape tomatoes and cherry reds — they have so much flavor.

Here's the breakdown of the Eat Local month-long challenge:

Week 1: Education: Learn about Hawai'i's local food system
Week 2: Grow your own: Plant/harvest local foods at home and in the community
Week 3: Choose local: Find local food at restaurants and markets
Week 4: Eat strictly local: Strive to eat only locally grown foods for one week

Here's a list of events, including the grand opening of the Ala Moana Farmers Market on Sept. 3, a Schools of the Future conference at the Sheraton Waikiki on Sept. 8, Eat the Street Sept. 30 and cooking demonstrations at both Down to Earth and Whole Foods Market.

4-7 p.m., Aug. 31: “Ag in the City" at the Honolulu Farmers Market at the Blaisdell Center. Five guest chefs will partner with local farmers to serve up dishes featuring local meats and produce.

9 a.m.-1 p.m., Sept. 3: Ala Moana Farmers Market Grand Opening, upper deck by Sears. The first 100 people to sign up for Eat Local 2011 receive a shopping bag.

7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sept. 8: Schools of the Future Conference at the Sheraton Waikiki Hawaii Ballroom. Open to educators, parents and students.

You can also find a list of Eat Local 2011 partners, including supermarkets like Foodland and restaurants like Big City Diner, which will feature specials on local dishes and menus.

Backyard conservation

August 17th, 2011
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What you put in your backyard affects what goes into the water.

Hui o Ko‘olaupoko, a non-profit, is hosting a Clean Watershed Workshop for Homeowners from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 20) at the site of the He‘eia Stream Restoration Project.

Workshop topics include: simple fertilizer and pesticide use do's and don'ts, erosion control measures, useful native plants for your yard, sources of pollution and ways to reduce their environmental impacts and the benefits of installing rain barrels.

Volunteers will be working on the He‘eia Stream Restoration project earlier in the morning.

Hui o Ko‘olaupoko's mission is to "protect ocean health by restoring the aina: mauka to makai." The group works to prevent polluted runoff, control erosion, remove invasive species, restore habitats and monitor water quality.

Even though volunteers have dedicated more than 4,000 hours (since Dec. 2009) to the He‘eia Stream Restoration Project, planting native vegetation along the stream,  the stream's health depends on the support of area residents.

Space for the workshop is limited. Reserve your place by contacting Kristen Nalani Mailheau at 381-7202 or nalani@huihawaii.org.

Papahanaumokuakea

August 16th, 2011
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A saddle wrasse hangs out with a species of coral believed to be similar to the Hawaiian irregular rice coral at the Waikiki Aquarium's new Northwestern Hawaiian Islands exhibit, set to open Aug. 18. Photo  by Bruce Asato.

A saddle wrasse hangs out with a species similar to the Hawaiian irregular rice coral at the Waikiki Aquarium's new Northwestern Hawaiian Islands exhibit, set to open Aug. 18. Photo by Bruce Asato.

The new Northwestern Hawaiian Islands exhibit at Waikiki Aquarium is scheduled to open on Thursday, Aug. 18.

FTR NW Hawaiian Unveiling 243

Female masked angelfish. Photo by Bruce Asato.

It's an opportunity to get a rare glimpse of the living reef ecosystem of one of the most isolated, still pristine places on Earth — one that most of us won't ever set foot on. Here, in 4,500 square miles of coral reefs, there are plenty of jacks, Hawaiian groupers and sharks in shallow waters, as well as highly sought-after aquarium species like the masked angelfish.

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are also home to the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, threatened green sea turtle, and breeding grounds for Hawaii's seabirds. More than 99 percent of the world's Laysan albatrosses and 98 percent of the world's black-footed albatrosses return to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands each year to reproduce.

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument enjoys protections by both federal and state governments (not sure how to pronounce Papahanaumokuakea? Click here). But make no mistake — these islands are not immune to the ravages of human destruction.

Two words sum it up: Marine Debris. Over the past 14 years, some 740 tons of marine debris — we're talking fishing gear and nets — have been removed from the waters and shorelines of Papahanaumokuakea.

Even though few set foot on Papahanaumokuakea, all this debris ends up on the isles because the reefs are like a natural comb collecting it from all around the Pacific Rim. It could be that bottle cap tossed on to the beach, or the disposable plastic fork left behind after a picnic.

Check out this video by photographer Chris Jordan during his trip to Midway Atoll two years ago, sitting amidst a pile of trash, mostly plastic.

Whether a beachgoer, fisher or boat owner, everyone can do their part to prevent marine debris from getting into the ocean. Here are 10 things you can do to get involved, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). Other websites you can visit for more information on the atolls include www.hawaiianatolls.org and Kure Atoll Conservancy.

Hopefully when visitors see the new Northwestern Hawaiian Islands exhibit at the Waikiki Aquarium, they'll begin to care more about the litter they leave behind at the beach. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the aquarium will offer some family fun and keiki crafts. Color your own canvas tote bag, make your own masked angelfish hat or mask ,and visit educational booths by NOAA Marine Debris, the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

Recycle your prom dress

August 9th, 2011
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The Aloha Aina Community Cleanup Day is a one-stop shop for residential recycling. In 2009, the community rounded up plenty of newspapers and cardboard. The next one is Aug. 13 Photo courtesy Office of Rep. Blake Oshiro.

The Aloha Aina Earth Day Recycling Community Cleanup is a one-stop shop for residential recycling. In 2009, the community rounded up plenty of newspapers and cardboard. The next one is Aug. 13 Photo courtesy Office of Rep. Blake Oshiro.

The next Aloha Aina Earth Day Recycling Community Cleanup is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13 at Alvah A. Scott Elementary School in Aiea (98-1230 Moanalua Rd.). For the first time, this cleanup is accepting used prom dresses for The Bella Project.

The community cleanups — a one-stop shop for 20 different materials — were created to help residents get rid of recyclable waste while raising money for community groups. They're held once month.

This one – No. 114 — benefits the Aiea Community Association.

Besides the usual items accepted for recycling, including scrap metal, beverage containers, plastic bags, corrugated cardboard, newspapers, phonebooks, magazines and printer cartridges, the drive is accepting "new" or "like new" prom dresses, accessories, handbags and dress shoes for the Bella Project.

The Bella Project is a non-profit that collects the dresses and accessories throughout the year to donate to high school girls in the spring. Dress for Success, another non-profit, will be collecting career attire, accessories, handbags, shoes and makeup for disadvantaged women.

You can also bring bicycles, lawn mowers, used cooking oil, PDAs, cameras, gaming systems, used bath and beach towels, DVDs, CDs, all types of batteries, used eye glasses, printers, scanners and one TV per car to the recycling event.

Got an unwanted car?  You can call 306-1876 for free towing.

It's the mother of all recycling events. But there are a few things you're asked not to bring, including: tires, motor oil, paints, hazardous fluids, freezers, refrigerators, air conditioners, microwave ovens, gas tanks and green waste.

Swap two of your incandescent light bulbs for two CFLs. Canned good donations are also being accepted for the Hawaii Food Bank.

Call the office of Rep. Blake Oshiro (D-Aiea, Halawa Valley) at 586-6340 for more information about this recycling event.

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Barefoot time at the beach

August 4th, 2011
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Volunteers from a beach rescue project last year pose for a photo.  The Surfrider Foundation is teaming up with Barefoot Wine to keep Ala Moana Beach Park "barefoot-friendly." Courtesy photo.

Volunteers from a beach rescue project last year. The Surfrider Foundation is teaming up with Barefoot Wine to keep Ala Moana Beach Park "barefoot-friendly." Courtesy photo.

It's barefoot time at the beach — time for the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project, that is.

Mark you calendars. Barefoot Wine and the Surfrider Foundation are teaming up to keep 20 beaches across America barefoot-friendly, with Ala Moana Beach Park as one of their stops, on Saturday, Aug. 13.

The beach cleanups are all happening the same day — from Long Beach, Calif. to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Volunteers are invited to help clean up the park, and then celebrate afterwards at Dave & Buster's across the street at Ward.

The beach cleanup will take place from 10 a.m. to noon, while the celebration featuring Barefoot Wine and surf-inspired fare at Dave & Busters Ward starts at noon (only volunteers 21 and older are able to attend).

The rescue project is in its fifth year. If you swim, paddle, hang out at Ala Moana Beach Park, here's your chance to give back. RSVP at BeachRescue2011.com.