Canoe plant celebration

KILAUEA — History lessons come with a tasty twist this Sunday at the first annual Canoe Plant Festival, where the entire day will be dedicated to the foods that came with the first settlers of the Hawaiian Islands.

The festival, set for 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Malama Kauai Community Farm in Kalihiwai Ridge, north of Kilauea, is a gathering meant to celebrate the hearty plants that survived the voyage.

“The Hawaiian culture, as with nearly all indigenous cultures, has numerous stories and bits of knowledge around the care and use of their native plants,” said Keone Kealoha, co-founder and executive director of Malama Kauai. “Sharing the stories and knowledge about them gives us context to who we are in this place and time.”

At the festival, you can taste dishes centered on taro, coconut, and breadfruit — just to name a few, and watch cooking demonstrations that will shed some light on the secrets of cooking with canoe plants.

Canoe plant bingo, sweet potato planting, canoe plant crafts, ti lei making, entertainment by slack key guitarist Pancho Graham, and nonprofit vendors will also be at the festival.

In addition to celebrating canoe plants, the festival also celebrates National Farm-to-School Month and the keynote speaker, Robyn Pfahl, Department of Agriculture’s farm-to-school coordinator will be sharing information on statewide efforts to get more local food in school cafeterias.

“Feeding the children in one’s community is a great opportunity for town-scale pride and assurance,” said Kealoha. “Having the knowledge and ability to feed your own families provides a sense of self-reliance and security that should never be completely outsourced.”

Keiki admission to the Canoe Plant Festival is free and adult tickets are $15. To purchase tickets, call 828-0685 ext. 12 or go online to www.malamakauai.org.

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