Solutions to Invasive Species

It’s both National Invasive Species Awareness Week and the final week of Hawai’i Invasive Species Awareness Month. The Hawaiian Legislature determined invasive species are the #1 threat to the health, economy, environment, and lifeways of people n Hawai’i. So let’s talk solutions!

Foraging has become trendy, it’s tapping into the collective unconscious desire for people to connect with their wildness, the wildness of the land, the wild of now.

Not everyone had a grandma or grandpa holding their hand and teaching them which plants to eat in the wild, let alone a society that nourishes our wild sides, which is why I built the Savage Kitchen app. Edible invasive species are our abundance species and are our learning tools upon reentry to respectful living with the land, to learn about how much you need and can actually process, a practice in returning to our beautiful wild selves. We have certainly eaten species to their extinction before…how powerful if we used our collective mojo to do so in a conscious way that helps us and the planet.

Strawberry Guava (Psidium cattleianum)

I love finding solutions, like eating a big bowl full of these strawberry guavas to prevent further seed dispersal of this invasive species. But what sits at the root of why we have invasives, why are they here and what are they telling us? Complex sensemaking leads us to historical trauma of the land and its people, a loss of ACCESS, a change in management, unchecked human movement and “development”, climate change, biodiversity loss. It’s complex, there’s more to consider, but this is where the root healing begins.

We’re coming into kāhili ginger shoot eating season… I love slicing them thinly and serving them up with sashimi and shoyu.

Every shoot eaten prevents another flower from forming, at least helping to slow further dispersal of this invasive species. Find out how to responsibly find, harvest, and prepare Kāhili Ginger in the Savage Kitchen App.

I’m happy because this jar of kāhili dried flowers is in my hands (and cupboard), where they offer me a unique and nutritious addition to my diet, beauty, and self-care practices. I’m happy because each flower I harvest means this invasive species won’t produce seeds and spread further into what remains of our native ecosystems. I’m happy because I feel like I’m doing something that’s good for me and good for the earth, and you know what… it’s not that hard!

Looking for recipes on how to use this plant? Check out the Savage Kitchen mobile app, which focuses on locating/identifying/preparing invasive species.

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