February – Hawaiian Invasive Species Awareness Month

It’s Hawai’i Invasive Species Awareness Month! As we journey through the month I will be sharing stories about my relationships with “abundance species”, a journey of staying informed of their impacts within our ecosystems while never losing sight of respect for their life and the divine intelligence of nature. You can follow along here, and in my newsletter, for more.

The tides are turning, a new message is being proffered by organizations in conservation that have been spewing a message of hate of invasives for years. I cried watching the opening ceremony today, it gave me incredible hope. Yes, I witnessed change today and it felt so good.

As you know, I love eating edible invasive species because as my friend Vince Dodge generously taught me so many years ago…”eat what get”. For those of you not in Hawai`i, this means eat what you have around you, and stems from indigenous knowledge found around the globe. The “resources” in most abundance are the ones you use. It’s why I also call invasive species “abundance species”. When we’re ready to return to the land, the land will provide —> eat what get.

Venison with Wild Greens
This 100% local meal is a continuation of our #eatlocalmauichallenge – in perpetuity on Tuesday’s. I hope you’ll join us for #aipono #eatlocal …this meal includes 3 invasives! – photo by Sunny Savage

An adventure in storied eating ~ Upon greeting the sun this morning as it rose over the majestic Haleakalā, the unique first light danced upon the wild amaranth (Amaranthus spp), Chinese violet (Asystasia gangetica), wild lettuce (Lactuca sativa), and sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus) greens as they were lovingly harvested by my hands and a golden bee hummed a morning tune.

Cooked and spun to a new life by the magic of my solar powered food processor, along with cassava from my garden and local butter for a delectable green mash. Maui onion was sautéed in local olive oil, where every time I reach for its bottle I see the farmer standing in my minds eye and the rainbow present nearly every time I visit his farm. The venison gifted from a Kamehameha School teacher in trade for help with curriculum planning, a sharing and making right for the keiki.

As we move through Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Month I would love to hear how you are eating invasives, how you are utilizing them, how they are adding beauty to your life, and how you are working to stop their spread.

Do you check your shoes, cuffs of pants, etc. after interacting with them?

Do you know who they are?

Let me know in the comments or over on Instagram.

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