Saturday, September 21, 2013

La'akea Seed Exchange 2013

La'akea intentional permaculture community is figuring it out and passing it on. They grow much of their own food as well as teach classes about tropical permaculture. Today they hosted a seed/cuttings exchange, local foods cooking contest, and potluck. Teaching people about and building community around locals foods was clearly the goal. Dozens of people participated on this sunny and rainy Puna day, and the energy of kids and dogs running around created an infectious excitement.

La'akea's panel of local food experts

The morning's activities included a panel of knowledgeable and informative local food experts. Led by Stuart Blackburn, the panel included:

Dija of Dragon's Eye Learning Center walked us through the steps of making yogurt and yogurt cheese from raw milk.

Jen of Paradise Nectar talked about the need to let bees defend themselves against their newest foes: hive beetles and mites. She keeps bees using natural methods, without chemicals or antibotics, with great success. She discussed types of bee products and her newfound hobby of mead-making.

Tracy of La'akea has been experimenting with local-growing grain four substitutes. Her favorite finds so far are taro, cassava, and peach palm flours. She finds that mixing these flours can produce a balance between good nutrition and usable texture.

The audience talk story that followed was full of useful information and thoughtful questions. It is clear that the Puna community is embracing the challenge of local foods.

A site tour and marimba concert rounded out the fun day. We were delighted and humbled to learn that our entry into the cooking contest took the "savory" prize for our "Evil Princess Jungle Delight" dish! (Recipe to follow.)

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