Growing up in South Kona we had great parties. There weren’t too many of us around at the time, so in addition to enjoying the party, we would also have to catch all the food, prepare it, and clean up. As with many lu`au, there were always plates of food to take home and leftovers the next day. When I started working with the State on food programs I was confused, I didn’t understand how our people did not have enough food.
Well it turns out the world is not perfect. Being “self-sufficient” now requires money for guns and bullets, fishing gear and boats, four-wheel drive trucks, land to hunt and grow our food on and most importantly the time for these activities.
The County of Hawaii is only populated by 1/5 of the number of Hawaiians, according to some estimates, that once lived here. We have the largest land mass and coastline in the State. These opportunities, unfortunately, are overshadowed by our high unemployment, high poverty, and high cost of living. Our hardworking plantation parents and grandparents are now realizing the truth of retiring before the popularity of the 401 (k) and other retirement supports.
The land has not changed, and neither have our values. With proper reminder and the synthesis of ancient knowledge and modern technique, the island of Hawai`i easily has the potential to not only let us survive here, but thrive.
It will take all of us to accomplish this. The Big Island has many challenges and great potential. We are working for you and with you here at The Food Basket to ensure keiki and kupuna do not starve while fruit rots on the ground. We need to also dedicate time to eliminating shame, guilt, jealousy, and instilling pride and hope for our fellow residents.
These things will not happen overnight, and I thank you for taking the first step, visiting our website, and searching for allies in the struggle.