Introducing the Canoe Plant Collective
The collapse of Hawaii's tourism economy was not without warning. Over-burdening one aspect of a over-dependent island economy is bound to burn out at some point and the farming community was voicing this issue for decades.
It takes grass-roots organizing to pivot quickly when disaster strikes and with the support of a community with island values, Hawaii has all the ingredients for a positive solution to this pandemic.
The Aloha Connects Innovation (ACI) is a new initiative led by the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii (EDAH) to nurture and grow knowledge-based work opportunities in Hawaii and fuel our emerging industries and innovation sectors.
Voyaging Foods is participating as a Host Company as part of the solution in supporting meaningful employment provided by this statewide program.
We work in emerging industries within the Aloha+ Challenge sectors such as conservation, agriculture and entrepreneurship. The Aloha+ Challenge is a statewide commitment to achieve Hawai‘i’s sustainability goals, and locally driven framework to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
We contribute to greater local opportunities for Hawaii’s kamaʻaina economy to build more regenerative enterprises which is ultimately needed for the short-term survivability and the long-term prosperity of Hawaii.
We are collaborating with other like-minded companies supporting healthy eco-cultural systems and individuals to build the Hawaii we want to live in.
Voyaging Foods is excited to partner with 'Ulu and Kalo Bakery and Mamalani Body Care to bring about a Regenerative Enterprise called Canoe Plant Collective that values people, culture and place in the belief that all prosperity follows this model. Follow along @canoeplantcollective on Instagram.
"We dream of a Hawaii where our economic measurement is not our belongings but how we use and share what we have to inspire belonging and lives lived well."
Our Mission: The mission of the Canoe Plant Collective is to bring like-minded businesses and individuals together to increase Hawaiʻiʻs food sovereignty through producing value-added products with canoe plants.
Project: Weaving like minded people with food sovereignty to forward Hawaii into interdependence.
Here's the Team:
Rosalie Romo Char (bio to come)
"After the birth of her son, Brynn Foster, created an allergy-free teething biscuit using home-made taro powder from Hawaiian taro root as a healthier alternative to the overly sweet and fiber-empty gluten-free snack foods on the market.
'Our Native Hawaiian ancestors fed poi (cooked & pureed taro root) to their babies as the first food. Continuing that connection to this healthy root, I started preserving it in the form of a flour for our allergy-free meals.
I couldn't find a healthy teething biscuit for my toddler so I decided to make my own. When my mom started sneaking my toddler's snacks, I knew I had to create healthier snack options and access for everyone, not just family.'
What began as one mother’s attempt to supply her children with nutritious gluten-free meals has evolved into the artisan milling company to support both the economic and health stability for her island community that is now Voyaging Foods. Voyaging Food produces flours from canoe plants such Hawaiian-grown breadfruit, taro and sweet potato as a beneficial fiber, natural gum and thickener for use in baked goods, dry mixes, soups, stews, smoothies, or oatmeal.
Voyaging Foods merges Brynn’s culinary interests with her Hawaiian ancestry.
'When I started to eat more taro, make more taro powder, plant my own taro-I reconnected with my memory as a seven-year-old eating my first poi cookie that my great-grandmother gave me. I believe my great-grandmother planted a "seed" through that purple-colored treat and connected me to my culture that is now the basis for all I do.'
Founder of 'Ulu and Kalo Bakery: "Several years ago, I began the journey of health. I decided to get physically fit, but little did I know that diet is equally or even more important. Upon realizing the importance of food, I began a lifestyle switch. As a result, I had more energy, clearer skin, and achieved better grades. It was amazing! I knew my next step after graduating from the University of Portland was to attend culinary school at Kapiolani Community College. After KCC, I gained experience at Kokua Market, The Nook, Fete, Fresh Box, and Eugene's in Bronte, NSW, Australia.
Throughout the years and these experiences, I developed an understanding and deep love for Hawaiian canoe crops. They connect me to Hawaiian culture and are so nutritious. I knew there had to be a way to bake with ʻulu and kalo while keeping it healthy and delicious. Several years after my journey began, I am so excited to be able to share with you now, my baked goods that integrate ʻulu and kalo with health-focused dietary lifestyles."
Mele Kalama Kingma
"My name is Mele and I'm mother of three and founder/handmaker of Mamalani. I am born and raised in Kailua, Oahu and my family has been in Hawaii for centuries.
Watch this video now featured on Hawaiian Airlines about my company
My grandfather was an inventor and avid fishermen who taught me how to care for the land and sea. My grandmother was a hula teacher who taught me how to care for others with aloha. The love my kupuna had for Hawai`i was ingrained in me and needless to say, I love Hawai`i with all my heart!
I have always had a natural interest in healthy lifestyles as I grew up across the street from Kailua beach and was either surfing, canoe paddling or swimming. I went to college to learn about nutrition and became a Registered Dietitian in 2008. I started working in the hospital and food service settings and then at community health centers whose main population were Native Hawaiians.
My health interest piqued when I worked as a cultural nutritionist in which I learned how plant foods and plant medicines were one in the same! It was at the same time that I started having children and noticed changes in my body and skin that were new to me. I started to smell in ways I wasn't used to and had to start using deodorant more regularly than before. I experimented with a body powder as my first underarm deodorant after realizing that powder is a very useful application for the hot and humid lifestyle we have in Hawaii! I also researched the ingredients most commonly found in deodorants. It was then that I felt the need to merge both my traditional plant knowledge and nutrition background to create Mamalani in 2012.
I decided to name my company, Mamalani, after one of the most influential people in my life, my grandmother. Her nickname was "Mamalani," which also translates to mean, "woman who reveres heaven." Our logo represents the connection that we as Hawaiians have with the heavens and earth. We represent the traditions of our ancestors while also merging the needs of modern day. I have created a line of natural body products that use the best the land has to offer while also valuing our resources; you will see this in our packaging efforts.
A very crucial part of our success is based on the abundance of our land and its people."