Kids of Koa`e 4-H Club Take On Local Food Challenge

Sep 20, 2011 by Kids of Koa`e 4-H Club


September 20, 2011

Kids of Koa`e 4-H Take On the Eat Local Challenge

Kids of Koa`e 4-H Club members will eat 100% Big Island grown food for the 3 days they meet during the last week of September as part of Kanu Hawai`i’s Eat Local Challenge. “It’s cool,” says Wai`ele, a fifteen year old Club member, “because it shows we don’t have to import our food from the mainland and everywhere else.” “And,” says Kumsa, “our food is fresh. We know where it comes from, and we even helped to grow a lot of it!”

The ten kids meet at Dragon’s Eye Farm outside of Pahoa. Almost all of what will be harvested comes from the farm and the surrounding neighborhood.

What’s planned for the gourmet menu? Fresh-caught fish from Green Lake and tilapia from Dragon’s Eye Farm aquaponics. Wild pork. Island salt. Fruits and nuts from the neighborhood. Honey, harvested by the kids’ very own bee leader, Jen Rasmussen of Paradise Nectar. Sugar cane juice pressed right on the farm. Local greens at every meal--kale, chaya, katuk, lettuce, chard, collards, taro greens. Grated green papaya salad. Home-churned butter and farmer’s cheese. Lilikoi juice. Lemonade. Coconuts. Pepper and spices from Evening Rain Farm next door. Cold-pressed coconut oil and naturally-farmed chicken eggs.

“My favorite is the ice cream for dessert,” says Ilianthi. The fresh cream is given by Sweetheart, the Holstein grazing outside the Clubhouse, and flavored with vanilla beans from Ann down the road and cacao from Tom of Hawaiian Harvest. And why not serve on woven coconut frond platters, with bamboo chopsticks and coconut bowls? “We’ve got one week to prepare. Let’s get started!” says Diga Kern, one of the Club’s leaders.

The Club has big plans for the year, including putting together back yard food growing systems and miniature models of those systems to take on the road and show others. “We’re looking to raise $5,000. So far we have a $1,000 discretionary grant from the County of Hawaii, and private donations of $75. The more we raise, the more we’ll get to do,” says Kaika, the Club’s assistant Treasurer. Backyard gardening, chickens, grub and worm culture, aquaponics, and bee keeping are in the works.

The 4-H Club is a 3-day-a-week program where youth pursue their interests through “learning by doing.” The Club is run as a hands-on democracy, with majority rules decision-making, a participatory judicial system, and a comprehensive list of individual rights and responsibilities. Enrollment is on-going for ages 4 to 18.

Members plan to deepen their skills at video editing by producing a documentary of their Eat Local experiences. Some of their other work, like “Restoring Wai `Opae” and the national award-winning “The Future of 4-H” can be viewed at Call 965-9371 for more information. Send donations to Dragon’s Eye Learning Center 501c(3), 4-H, c/o Kaika Welch, RR2 Box 3307, Pahoa, HI 96778.

Kanu Hawai`i is a movement of everyday people drawing on island strengths to make Hawaii a model of environmental sustainability, economic resilience, and compassionate community. According to their website, model of environmental sustainability, economic resilience, and compassionate community. According to their website,, members pursue this vision through an “island style” activism that starts with changing ourselves before pointing any fingers; trying to lead by
example, then asking others—including our neighbors, businesses, and government—to change with us.


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