Hawaii State Agriculture Conference

On September 23rd and 24th, I attended the Hawaii State Agriculture Conference at the beautiful Ko’Olina Resort. For two days, I thoroughly enjoyed and took in as much of the information as possible, and here is my interpretation and summary of the issues for you:

  • We as a nation and world are in completely uncharted territory in terms of CO2 emissions and are in dire need of innovation and new ideas.
  • The most critical issues facing the islands seem to be the price and/or availability of energy, land, water, and the number of farmers. In addition, financing and transportation are important issues. ‘Energy’ and ‘Agriculture’ may see some big fights to come. The main recommendation is for everyone (conventional and organic farmers and ranchers) to try to “get along” and to communicate well regarding our shared issues.
  • UH’s College of Tropical Ag is working on aquaponics to meet some of the new sustainability standards set for 2050. Aquaponics helps solve problems of access to land. Some of the components of farming this way are expensive, so they are looking at ways to source items locally (e.g., fish food and fertilizers).
  • We currently have 90% of our energy shipped to the islands in the form of oil. There is a big push to move to biofuels (and I was sitting between someone from the Department of Energy and another person from the Navy who were both asking lots of questions and taking many notes), but farmers and ranchers are losing their land so that biofuels can be grown and produced. Although it was left unsaid, it was implied that the biofuels are GMO crops.
  • It’s critical that we all move to organic and sustainable methods of production. For health reasons in particular, organics were strongly recommended. We heard from ex-conventional farmers who have completely changed their methods and yielded some incredible crop results.
  • Consumers need to educate themselves that food doesn’t come from a store, it comes from the farmers. We all really need to stop shopping at places that offer “cheap” food and start prioritizing local producers. Buying “cheap” creates more long term systemic problems.
  • Ranchers and farmers are people on whom we all currently rely every day (so we really need to value and respect them).
  • Ranchers are moving toward grass fed beef. The cow is becoming a key part of the biofuel industry. It’s predicted that perhaps the ranchers will start building some bio-refineries and when this happens, they will be selling energy back to HECO. (Seems like we really ought to be nice to our farmers!)
  • Cows and worms are some pretty valuable creatures.
  • Korean Natural Farming Methods and biochar are a couple of things to seriously learn about and incorporate into current farming.

Although the mood was hopeful and optimistic, I came home concerned about our food and energy security.

Photos from the Lunch: Wraps & Spreads cooking class



Thanks again to Ruth for sharing her photos from the afternoon cooking class! I had some help rolling everything up for everyone so that we could move on to the next recipe. Looking forward to next week’s class, Lunch: Gourmet Bento Box Items

Recovering Your Health

From The Book of Macrobiotics by Michio Kushi

In order to recover and develop our physical, mental, and spiritual health, we need to reorient our way of life in the following ways:

  • we should reflect upon our own daily life, whether we are pursuing only sensory pleasures and emotional comfort, and thus forgetting our native potential for greater happiness and higher freedom
  • we should reflect further upon our daily food and drink and consider whether our meals are really balanced to produce the best quality of blood and cells as well as to secure the best mental and spiritual conditions.
  • we should also reflect upon our thought and behavior toward our family, friends, and other people and consider whether our respect and love are really dedicated from the heart and whether our behavior toward them is really serving for their health and happiness

The beginning of self recovery from all personal unhappiness, including physical and mental disorders, is our understanding of the perceptual order of yin and yang. In order to release ourselves from all physical and mental disorders changing our degenerative tendencies towards health and happiness, we must first apply our understanding of yin and yang to our daily dietary practice, how to choose, prepare, and take our food and drink. Through proper eating, our blood and body will become sound and whole. Mental and spiritual well being will naturally follow. food is creating us. If the nourishment we receive is proper, we are naturally more energetic physically, more comfortable emotionally, and more elevated spiritually than when our way of eating is imbalanced and disorderly. If our daily food is improper, our health declines, our emotions are disturbed, and our spirit becomes chaotic. Personal feelings, social relations, and our approach to any problems are influenced by what we eat. When we feel any frustration and disturbance, we should first reflect upon what we have been eating. Our physical and mental habits, as well as tendencies in our thinking and capacities of our consciousness all depend upon what we have been eating for a long period, from the embryonic stage through childhood up to the present. To change our food is to wholly change ourselves. Through food, consciously or unconsciously, we shape our destiny.

Kanu Hawaii Eat Local Cooking Class

Date: October 1, 2010
Time: 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm

As part of the Kanu Hawaii Eat Local Campaign, I will be teaching a class emphasizing local produce and how we can use it in quick, easy, nourishing, and delicious meals. This class is great for anyone who wants to use more local produce and even for those who use local produce often, but may want new recipe ideas.

Location: Pan American MOA, 3510 Nuuanu Pali Road, Honolulu, HI

Prices and more details can be found on my website:
Kanu Hawaii Eat Local Cooking Class

Dinner in a pinch

My mom and I were on our way to yoga class, and then discovered that we had the wrong day and time. We decided to go shopping instead, and by the time we were done, most of the day had slipped away. We had to come up with a meal for dinner, QUICK! My Dad was coming home, and my sister and brother in law were on their way over too. So I took the leftover black beans and turned them into a delicious and hearty soup with garlic, onion, carrot, sweet potato, cilantro, and celery and it only took about 15 to 20 minutes to cook the veggies. My family likes a little extra flavor, so I took about 2 tablespoons of salsa and stirred this in with cumin and sea salt. There was some leftover brown & wild rice so that was a great side dish, and I took the kale my cousin sent us home with and threw together a raw kale salad filled with grated carrots, sliced snap peas, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and roasted soybeans for a little bit of crunch. It was dressed with some tamari, lemon juice, brown rice vinegar, and olive oil. They had the meal with some chicken, while I skipped that part. My niece and nephew especially liked the brown rice. (The dessert is described in the next post.) All of this took from 30 to 45 minutes to whip up. It’s really possible to have tasty healthy food that doesn’t take forever to prepare leaving us time to play outside in the late summer sun.

Apple Peach Crisp

When I was with my cousin the other day, I picked several peaches off her tree, and when my sister called asking for her favorite apple crisp, we decided to make it apple peach crisp. After stopping at the health food store to buy some fresh Washington apples, I headed home to make the crisp for her. The crust is made with oats and nuts and this smells so scrumptious baking in the oven. My family enjoyed it with some vanilla ice cream, and it’s delicious by itself with tea. I meant to take a photo of the final product, but it got eaten too quickly.

Farm-to-Table living

I have been in Washington enjoying the end of summer, and loving the farm-to-table living that is part of the lifestyle here. One highlight has been spending time with my family, and also up at my cousin Sarah’s home in Skagit Valley where she lives off the grid with her family. We had two incredible meals straight from her garden including zuchinni, cucumber, tomatoes, beans, lettuce, kale, radish, celery, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, nasturtiums, and borage.

the grape arbor

my niece’s new friendone of the amazing greenhouses

zuchinni

pears not quite ripe yet
corn

I will add new photos in the next post!

Brown Rice Sushi

Today in the Healthy Back to School Lunch Box cooking class another one of the items on the menu was brown rice sushi. I brought home the leftover ingredients made up some extra pieces for my lunch on Monday – brown rice, natural ginger pickles, ume, carrots, tofu, and cucumber. I used to think that making sushi was difficult, but it’s much easier than I ever realized, once I rolled a few. You don’t need to be an expert to do this. Excited to enjoy them!

(I will be teaching how to make brown rice sushi on Sept 3rd! We’ll have a great variety of delicious sushi. More info here….)

Surprising Combinations

Frequently, people will taste a dish that I have made and say something like, “I really didn’t know what this would be like when I saw that it included x and y ingredients, but it’s actually REALLY GOOD!”

This happened today at the Healthy Lunchbox cooking class. For one of our dishes, we had a pasta salad that included tofu, cucumbers, ume, onions, and basil. You’d never realize how well ume and basil go together!

Can you challenge yourself to try some new things? How about peanut butter and sauerkraut on a rice cake. You’d be surprised 🙂 (Seriously, I was!)