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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022

After seeing hungry people through the pandemic, with food drops like this one in Pāhala, The Food Basket is
struggling to keep up with demand, with supply chain problems, and the soaring coast of food. See more below.
Photo by Julia Neal
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF IMMIGRANTS IN THE HEALTH CARE WORKFORCE is the message Sen. Mazie Hirono plans to bring to the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C.  at 4 a.m Hawai'i Time on Wednesday.  As a member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship & Border Safety, she plans to question witnesses during a hearing entitled Flatlining Care: Why Immigrants are Crucial to Bolstering Our Health Care Workforce.
    Hirono is expected to ask about the experiences of immigrant health care workers, as well as the need to update the country's immigration policies to help alleviate the strain caused by the shortage of health care workers in Hawai'i and around the country. She is also expected to highlight the critical role immigrants play in Hawai'i's health care system.
    In a message from Hirono on Tuesday, she said, "Hawai'i is home to more than 250,000 immigrants, with a significant number of them employed in the health care field—immigrants make up almost half of all health aides, nearly a quarter of all nurses, and about 20 percent of physicians. Nationwide, immigrants account for 18 percent of the 14.7 million health care workers in the U.S."
    See the livestream at https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/flatlining-care-why-immigrants-are-crucial-to-bolstering-our-health-care-workforce.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at wwwkaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html.

PĀHALANĀ’ALEHU, OCEAN VIEW AND BEYOND. A statement on Tuesday from The Food Basket points to "continued cancellations and delayed shipments of federal food products, as well as wholesale food purchases, channels that typically assist The Food Basket, Hawai'i island’s Food Bank." The statement says that The Food Basket's mission to end hunger on Hawai'i island and beyond are being tested. "In normal years, the shelves of The Food Basket have been fully stocked with fresh, chilled, and non-perishable goods from a variety of source,  but with pandemic recovery efforts and supply chain issues, not only has private industry been hurting, but the usual Federal Emergency Food program, TEFAP, that supplies procured food to communities around Hawai'i island through The Food Basket’s distribution avenues, is also experiencing unprecedented challenges."
    The Food Basket's Executive Director Kristin Frost Albrecht noted that The Food Basket is the sole food bank for the island. "Historically, we have relied on the TEFAP program and charitable donations for our emergency food supplies. Now, we are experiencing a ‘perfect storm’ as we are purchasing most of our food and, at the same time, seeing a record number of our island neighbors in need due to the escalating costs of daily expenses.”
    While The Food Basket provides emergency food programs, it has also innovated programs over the years to help fill in the gaps, like DA BUX Double Up Food Bucks. It operates statewide at over 100 retail outlets, including grocery stores, CSAs, farmers markets, and food hubs and provides a 50 percent discount on Hawai'i grown produce to SNAP  food stamp program. “With over 90 percent of our food in the state coming from 2500 miles away, we are one disaster away from extreme food insecurity," said Albrecht. “Programs like DA BUX are helping to increase food security by providing expanded markets for our agriculture producers, increasing affordable healthy food access for our most vulnerable residents, and strengthening our local economy with the influx of federal dollars from SNAP.”

The Food Basket is purchasing most of its food to distribute to hungry people, as 
federal and other programs falter. Photo from The Food Basket

    The Food Basket has a plan for a sustainable food system campus to benefit Hawai'i island. The development of the Agricultural Innovation Park & Food Systems Campus has begun with
The Food Basket’s acquisition of 24.5 acres in Hilo and initial input on the uses of the community complex. The plans include agroforestry crop production, aquaponics, commercial kitchens, state-of-the-art processing facilities, technical assistance programs, streamlined food distribution, consolidated food storage for dry, refrigerated, and frozen items, educational programs, retail, and more.
    “We are moving forward with urgency in our plans to build the Agricultural Innovation Park and Food Systems Campus given the ongoing and unprecedented food supply challenges we are experiencing,” said Albrecht. “If we are to truly end hunger on our island, we must rely on food we can grow, harvest and process here – and the new facilities will provide an accessible and resilient agricultural hub to do just that.”
    The statement from The Food Basket said, "The need for monetary donations is essential, The Food Basket’s shelves can continue to be replenished and funds allocated to the Agricultural Innovation Campus project.
    For more information, see www.hawaiifoodbasket.org. Also see The Food Basket featured on Sunrise Hawaii News Now - Road Trip to Hawai'i Island, broadcast from Hilo Hawaiian Hotel this Friday, Sept. 16 at 6:15 a.m

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at wwwkaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html.

MAIAPILO IS THE NATIVE PLANT OF KA'U for the September Lāʻau Letters, the monthly column by Jodie Rosam, with illustration by Joan Yoshioka. The writing informs of Kaʻū’s native plants and their moʻolelo (stories), uses, preferred habitats, and opportunities to adopt them for stewardship. This column seeks to encourage making new plant friends and to reunite with others.

Maiapio flowers change color between sunset and sunrise. The native
 plant is related to the caper. Image by Joan Yoshioka
    Description: Maiapilo (Capparis sandwichiana) is also known as the Hawaiian Caper, this lovely light green shrub is a member of the Capparaceae (or Caper) family. This particular species is endemic to Hawaiʻi, and is recognized as Vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). The almost bluish-green leaves stand out against the lava flows on which they grow. Maiapilo flowers are delicate and gorgeous, with large petals blooming bright white during the evening hours, over 100 cascading stamens, and a yellowish center. Flowers then fade to a soft pink shortly after sunrise. Although the smell of the ripe cucumber-like fruit is reminiscent of rotting fungus, if you happen to be near a maiapilo in bloom, please do give it a sniff - the lemony scent of the flower is captivating.
    Uses: Although related to the tasty (and well-known) Mediterranean caper, maiapilo is not used in the culinary trade. It is, however, valuable medicinally. Maiapilo exudes a white milky sap which can be mixed with other lāʻau and used to treat skin problems such as boils. Perhaps more impressively, the entire plant can be pounded and applied to the body to heal broken bones and fractures (much like comfrey is used today).
    Habitat: Maiapilo can be found on all of the main Hawaiian Islands as well as on Pihemanu (Midway Atoll), Holoikauaua (Pearl & Hermes Atoll), and Kauō (Laysan) in the Northwest
Maiapilo with its long leafy branches
Photo from U.H. CTAHR

Islands, and some offshore islets. It grows in dry coastal and lowland habitats below 350’ elevation (naturally, though it can likely survive at higher elevations), and can happily tolerate beaches and lava flows. Maiapilo also provides a food source (nectar) for the rare and endemic Blackburn’s sphinx moth (Manduca blackburni).
    Growing & Purchasing: While maiapilo can be grown from seed, please remember that this species’ population is vulnerable, and overharvesting can contribute to its demise. Once the green fruit turns orange, it can be harvested, and the grayish seeds can be removed from the (smelly) pulp. The mature seeds can then be rinsed and planted while they are fresh in a very well-drained media mixture. Seedlings grow relatively slowly, and do benefit from a small fertilizer boost. When ready, plant your maiapilo in a full sun and well-drained soil. They can handle cinder, sand, organic, and even coral substrates, and will thrive in a xeric environment.     
    Although growing maiapilo takes some patience, it is well worth the effort, as it makes a stunning addition to the landscape and benefits native ecosystems!

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at wwwkaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html.

 Hokulele took third in the recent PAL Basketball
 Tournament, Intermediate Division. Back row is
 Daelan Castillo, Excel Bonoan, Kilinahe Navarro,
Tristan Rasmussen. Front row is Max Aiona,
 Loa’a Kaupu, Daetan Castillo, Caton Blanco.

Photo from Hokulele
HOKULELE BASKETBALL CLUB from Ka‘ū has formed a team with some players from Kona and Hilo to head to a statewide tournament on Kaua'i in November. Donations can be made through emailing kaeza.hokulele@gmail.com.Hokulele offers basketball to youth from six to 17 years of age. The next sign-ups will be early next year. Hokulele is led by its President & Head Coach Ravel Kaupu, Jr., Vice President Jan Kaez Penera, and Coach Chrysa Dacalio. There are 75 members of the club.
    Hokulele recently hosted 27 teams from around the state at Ka'u District Gym and also participated in the statewide H-PAL tournament sponsored by police officers, taking third in the intermediate boys division.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at wwwkaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html.




See September issue of The Kaʻū Calendar
at www.kaucalendar.com, and in the
mail - Volcano, Kaʻū to South Kona.