Kanu Hawaii's Eat Local Challenge

Photo: Courtesy Hastings and Pleadwell

Can you eat local?

The nonprofit Kanu Hawaii, which aims to encourage environmental and social change in the Islands, launched its third Eat Local Challenge last week with an event at the Honolulu Farmers Market at Blaisdell Center. Mayor Peter Carlisle was there, along with Leon Richards, chancellor of KCC, as well as Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation interim director Joy Gold and other speakers.

Kanu paired five chefs with five local farmers to create dishes. For example, Ed Kenney of Town used MAO Farms produce and Shinsato Farms pork.

The Eat Local Challenge asks you—the public—to eat locally grown food. You can do one-week challenges, or go the whole month. This year, the challenge jumped from a seven-day program to all of September.

It’s not an easy commitment to make. It’s asking us to really look at and change our behavior. We have to think about where we shop, what we buy and what we eat. We can’t pop a frozen dinner in the microwave, or grab a quasi-burger from a drive-thru. Yet this event is gaining traction. People are talking about it and, most tellingly, the number of eateries offering dishes that meet Eat Local standards has exploded.

From Sept. 19 to 25, Heeia Pier General Store and Deli offers a hearty hash made from locally raised corned brisket, kalo and palula (sweet potato leaves). Downtown at the Hawaii State Art Museum offers a lunch entrée created from 100-percent local ingredients every day this month. Even L&L is in on the act, serving a local seafood plate—and you get a free drink if you mention “Eat Local Challenge” to the cashier.

There are more than 30 participating restaurants and food vendors—more than enough options to eat local every day if you’re not the cooking type. Here’s the full list of places to go eat local.