Posted by: Waheeda Harris | April 3, 2014

From airport to farm to ancestors

Most people visiting Maui are focused on the shoreline – but for this trip, I’m all about the farm:

Maui - taro farm

Learning about the canoe crops of Hawaii – like sweet potato, yam, breadfruit, coconut and taro – is the next wave on this island from local and sustainable to reconnecting to their past.

Pineapple and coffee may be popular items for visitors, but the traditions go back to the root vegetables and fruit that were the basis of the local diet.

As I wandered the field with farmer Bobby Pahia, I learned not only of his focus on growing certain items that could be used locally but his passion for kalo aka taro and how this root vegetable is more than just a food source, its a direct connection to his and this island’s ancestors.

Maui - taro plants

On this farm, most of the taro are native varieties to the island and is the source of the island’s traditional dish – poi. And thanks to Bobby Pahia, locals are learning not only about their traditions, but being able to grow taro themselves, and put their history back in their own backyards.

Maui - taro examples

I wonder if given the same choice in Canada, what many people would say would be their choice of a fruit or vegetable or food item that would signify the past, the present and the future for them. It made me think of how food isn’t just pleasure or fuel, but can be history and faith.

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