Monthly Archives: November 2010

SOWING SEEDS FOR SUSTAINABILITY

He who plants a garden plants happiness.  If you want to be happy for a lifetime, plant a garden.  ~ Chinese Proverb 

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture poster promoting victory gardens. ~ 1942

VICTORY GARDEN is not only PBS’s longest running gardening show on television.  During World Wars I & II, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, these were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort.  These gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” because gardeners felt empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown.

In 1943, 20 million private and public gardens were producing 8 million tons of food.

Today food travels thousands of miles over many days from farm to table, and the cycle of planting, fertilizing, processing, packaging, and transporting our food uses enormous amounts of energy and contributes to global warming.

Hawaii has less than a seven day supply of many foods, especially perishables. Some 90% percent of our food is imported.

Drawing from the rich history of World War I & II Victory Gardens, there is a growing movement giving a new meaning to ‘victory’.   ♦ fresher, healthier food consumption    ♦ independence from corporate food systems    ♦ self-sufficiency, sustainability, and good stewardship    ♦ more people involved in the natural environment

PLANT AN ‘ALOHA AINA’ GARDEN

 43 million American households are expected to grow their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries this year.

That’s up 19 percent over last year, according to a survey conducted in January by the National Gardening Association.  About a fifth of gardeners this year will be new to the activity, the survey says. Most — 54 percent — said they will garden because it saves them money on food bills.  A slightly larger group said they garden because homegrown food tastes better.

In recent time the self-sustainability movement has brought back the good sense of home gardening, and today ‘recession’ gardens spotlight the value of gardening during tough economic times.  Thanks to Hawaii’s mild, year-round climate, it is a fertile place that sustains many types of crops.  New gardeners should start out slow, learn as you go, and seek advice from neighborhood growers who can be most helpful when it comes to learning about the local environment.

A family that spends about $100 on a garden will save $860 -$2,500 in grocery bills over the course of a year.

HOME GROWN mo’ bettah!

LOCALLY GROWN & RAISED FOODS

  • are fresher and taste better
  • are available year-round
  • have much less environmental impact
  • preserve green space & farmland
  • promote food safety
  • support our local economy
  • provide variety
  • create community

By eating foods that are grown and raised locally, with the same air and water that we breathe and drink, we connect to this unique environment and become part of the local ecosystem.

Think you can’t taste the difference between lettuce picked yesterday and lettuce picked last week, factory-washed, and sealed in plastic?  You can.  And fresh food lasts longer too.  The fewer steps there are between your food’s source and your table the less chance there is of health-threatening contamination.  And don’t forget that those thousands of miles our food imports are shipped creates a big carbon footprint.

BUY LOCAL!

If a home garden is not for you then buy local.  Almost 60% of MAUI COUNTY land is in agriculture with 1,096 farm and livestock operations producing cattle, hogs, eggs, honey, aquaculture, sugar, pineapple, vegetables and melons, fruits, coffee, macadamia nuts, and taro.  The highest vegetable crop production per pound is cucumbers, followed by cabbage, onions, taro, Italian squash and romaine lettuce.  Other diversified crops including flowers and nursery products are rapidly expanding and account for about 70% of farm revenue.

When buying locally produced foods we’re not only eating healthier, we’re benefiting our community, environment, and lifestyle.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION VISIT

http://www.mauimagazine.net/Maui-Magazine/Think-Local/

http://www.garden.org

BEACHFRONT LIVING: Two Faces

MAUI NUI is world-renowned for magnificent beachfront, currently boasting a Makena beach property listed at $22 million.  But there is another reality to living on the beach…

According to the HOMELESS SERVICE UTILIZATION REPORT, HAWAI`I 2010, the number of Maui County persons served by Shelter and Outreach Programs has reached 1,161 — tripling since 2005.   11% of this population is employed, and 9% consist of families with children.  (www.uhfamily.hawaii.edu)

These numbers do not account for the hidden homeless, who sleep on a relative’s sofa, or in their cars, or camp in areas not as visible as the public beaches.  The housing boom and bust sweeping across the U.S. is displacing families nationwide, but the problem in Hawaii — where land costs are more than five times the national average — is particularly acute. Rents in Hawaii are among the highest in the nation. Both the inventory of public and affordable housing, and the availability of emergency shelter is limited.

 “If we don’t do something to address the crisis in affordable housing we are not going to solve homelessness.”

Nan Roman, President-National Alliance to End Homelessness

YOU CAN HELP.  Start by visiting:

http://www.hud.gov/homeless/

http://www.endhomelessness.org/

 

 

Honoring Our Warriors

“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”   ~Jose Narosky

One out of every 10 Americans is a living Veteran.

  

  

9,136 in Maui Nui   

  

  

  

  

106,310 in the State of Hawaii  

 

  

21,854,374 in the United States of America 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malama na koa!

MAKAHIKI: Hawaiian Thanksgiving

“Here is your nourishment, o gods of Wakea’s descendants.  Increase the growth of the land.  It is freed, it is freed, it is freed.”

~ Translated from the Makahiki chant “Kihapai o Lono” Written by Nalani Kanaka’ole

Na Huihui o Makali’i is a cluster of stars also known as the Pleaides, or the Seven Sisters.  It is revered in Hawaiian tradition as the place from where the first Hawaiian people came to Earth.

 In the season of Ho’oilo, at the month of Welehu (October/November), the appearance of the Makali’i cluster heralded Makahiki, a 4-month long harvest festival considered the most important time of the year.  It was  dedicated to honor and give thanks to the fertility and music god Lono who was identified with agriculture, planting of food crops, and rain.  He was one of the four gods (with , Kāne, and his twin brother Kanaloa) who existed before the world was created. 

 Makahiki celebrated the harvest and was a time of personal rest for spiritual and cultural renewal.  It was a time when all wars and battles were ceased, tributes and taxes were paid by each district to the ruling chief, sporting competitions and contests between villages were organized, and festive events were commenced.  Several of the rigid kapu (laws) were eased or temporarily set aside allowing  more freedom of activity and easy celebration.

Today many of the old Hawaiian games have been revived and are played at modern makahiki festivals and other cultural events.  Each year school children play ‘ulumaika (lawn bowling) and an array of other Hawaiian games such as heihei wa’a (canoe racing), uma (wrestling), pahe’e (javelin), konane (checkers), kimo (similar to jacks), o’o ihe (spear throwing), hukihuki (tug of war), and hu (spinning tops).

Makahiki games are played not only to develop skills and quick thinking, but to instill pride in  Hawaiian culture and keep it alive.