The visual recap of our #RevitalizeHilo project on the Big Island continues with ‘Part II: Nourish,’ and is focused on our passion for food and our vision to provide a platform for food sustainability innovation.
A significant goal of this immersive public art and sustainability activation was to connect our visiting artists and team with Big Island values of eating and supporting local. We set out to feed our visitors the entire time, to educate them about why we strive to eat local, support Big Island farmers, and encourage thoughtful consumption in the future to lower our carbon footprints. Thanks to amazing community support, we were able to feed our artists all meals during the project, and all meals were near to 100% locally sourced on the Big Island. Although this was not easy, we felt it necessary to source high-quality ingredients and even cook for them ourselves if it came down to it. We wanted to take the steps to encourage action and lead by example, in addition to our plan to increase awareness and positive messaging through the public artworks.
As mentioned in a previous post, our Pohaha I Ka Lani volunteer work day in Waipi'o Valley was a major highlight that immersed our artists in what 'food sustainability' means to us. Upon arrival on the Big Island, our Temple Children artists were put to work in restoring several aspects of Kulia and Jesse’s kalo (taro) farm via hands-on (and sometimes back-breaking) efforts. We hoped this experience would set the tone for the entire #RevitalizeHilo project and deeply connect our artists with the Big Island, the earth, and each other, as many of them had just met for the first time. There is no doubt that this day of working together and learning about the cultural and environmental significance of kalo had an influence on their attitudes, and ultimately on the public murals they shared with Hilo. The unexpected treat, allowing us to come full circle, was when Kulia cooked everyone dinner with kalo harvested from their lo‘i (taro patch), allowing our artists to taste traditional Hawaiian foods and understand the value of their hard labor in Waipi’o Valley.
Speaking of treats, it has become somewhat of a Temple Children project tradition to wash off the paint, clean ourselves up, and enjoy a nice dinner out at our favorite local joint in downtown, Moon & Turtle. Mark and Soni Pomaski, who are long-time supporters of our project, were kind enough to develop a local tasting menu for us, to treat our artists to a new Big Island culinary experience. From the Lehi (Local Iron Jaw Snapper) sashimi with finger limes to the Whole Fried Kalekale (Local Siebold’s Snapper) on a bed of ho‘io fern shoots, Chef Mark surely outdid himself in helping us share our passion for sustainable Big Island seafood and the value of supporting small local farmers. It was such a pleasure to watch everyone’s joyful reactions to his culinary artistry and the unique ingredients that we may sometimes take for granted.
It is an understatement to say that we are humbled by how much the Hilo community came together to elevate our artists’ food experience and help us meet our food sustainability goals. We’d like to send our deepest mahalo to these amazing small businesses, farms, and individuals: Sweet Cane Café, Aloha Mondays, and Loved by the Sun for providing healthy, local lunches for our artists and team during the paint week; OK Farms for donating rambutan for snacks around the clock; The Locavore Store for providing local eggs and lettuce; Big Island Booch for donating a keg of delicious local kombucha; Two Ladies Kitchen for an endless supply of fresh made mochi; Jimi Kunimura and Kumu Belcher for the local smoke meat; and Shark’s Coffee for the Big Island coffee.
Thank you to the volunteers and to our friends and partners who made this project possible: Novo Painting (Cole and Lisa Palea), OluKai, K. Taniguchi, Ltd., Hana Hou Hilo, Agasa Furniture Store and Keaukaha One Youth Development.
Additional shout outs to HPM Building Supply, Takamine Construction, Aiona Car Sales, Island Naturals, and MaruMaru Hawaii for all of your support!
Mahalo x, Temple Children