Food, Form and Substance

I noticed a brightly painted sign on the side of the road: Mana Ohana, community owned, community grown. Vivid papayas, cheery pinapples and luscious mangoes crowded out the cheerful text: local produce, locally grown, organic!

I was intrigued, so I followed the signs to a huge old restaurant space. As soon as we walked in a haole woman jumped up and shook our hands, and launched into an energetic monologue about the virtues of the fruit stand, of vegetarian, GMO free lifestyle, her many community projects, and how we too could become a part of the coop for only $500, or equivalent labor!

As she talked she filled up the back of a name card with a list of all of her projects:
Malama kauai
Kohala Center
KKCR 90.9
Wed 7-9 9-11
kane i ono uma

Her blue eyes were shining as she talked about her triumphs with protecting Hawaiian gravesites from developers and sending a charter for indigenous rights to the UN, and writing grants, and getting rid of Monsanto, and working with everybody, absolutely EVERYBODY on the island. And it is going to be this space, this ACTIVE space! An open space! A community, and with potlucks, everyweek, and we will open another one on the other side of the island, and incorporate art and music! She pumped my hand and punctuated her talk with fist-pounds, and gave me a stack of business cards to pass around, and a mango.

I have been furious about this all week.


The store was empty.

There was a low bucket of cracked and spotted mangoes. There was a bag of spidery Rosemary. And some bruised basil. There were a couple of coconuts, and several small jars of honey for $10. Some tiny pipinala and some wilted lettuce.

All those ideas, ideals, plans. All that purpose and zeal and excitement.

And no food. No actual local, organic, delicious produce. No actual ability to DO anything besides fill up the air with talk.

We need more local food, more enthusiasm for local production. But you have to have something to SHOW for it! Something worth buying! Ideals are great! But all that activism is just noise if you cant produce anything.


  1. Talk to my aunt. She lives on Oahu and is pretty involved in these things there... she has her own green house thing right now, she sometimes teaches classes on cooking with solar power, and using only native foods... and how to grow organically...

  2. I'm seriously blessed! Ba Ha Ha Ha!!!
    You are so cool! I look forward to knowing your soul (a term a soul mate of mine coined as the friends that come into your life and lift you up!) Funny our chat last night about houses and fashion, you've got more going on inside, awesome to find such a beautiful friend.


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