Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sustainable Sunday: Kuleana

My husband is one of those people that gets things done. He runs a business, works on all of our vehicles, builds things like stairs and benches. He never procrastinates and always finishes projects that he starts.

I'm not one of those people.

I'm one of those people who plants a garden and forgets about it. I'm one of those people who is happy to check off half the things on a to-do list. I'm one of those people who does lesson planning one day at a time. Pacing guides scare me as a teacher. I'm one of those people who has an embroidery project I work on once a year, a painting left unfinished, an inbox full of emails yet to be responded to, and a journal full of great ideas left hanging in great idea land.

Sometimes I beat myself up. Why can't I be more efficient? Get things done? Finish projects? Yesterday was a reminder that there is a bigger picture. We have a bigger kuleana to worry about.

Kuleana means responsibility in Hawaiian. For the past year I have been participating in a program called Ka Hua that has been specially designed for new teachers to help us implement culturally relevant teaching practices in our classrooms. Although I've been living in Hawaii for more than six years, participating in Ka Hua and learning more about the Hawaiian culture has opened my eyes to an entirely new way of thinking and living. Our focus this year for Ka Hua is kuleana, responsibility.

Kuleana is more than to-do lists and projects. It's our kuleana to take care of the 'aina (land), to live aloha, loving and taking care of each other. And so I ask you, on this Sustainable Sunday, what is our kuleana when it comes to food practices?

Making an effort to shop at the farmer's market, grow a garden, and buy local eggs means much more than deeming ourselves "Real Foodies." It's our kuleana.

With that in mind, I hope that this Sustainable Sunday series will help all of us fulfill our kuleana of taking care of the land, taking care of our bodies, and living aloha.

*Big Island folks: Did you know that ALL store brand milk (Mountain Apple brand, Meadow Gold, Lucerne (Safeway), Wal-Mart brand, Costco, etc) is locally sourced? It's true and it's fantastic! By the way, you should know that NONE of these brands are organic. Please see reader comments below for more information on the local milk situation. Mahalo Doug and Lori!


  1. Gwen,
    Nice take on kuleana! If I am not mistaken Mountain Apple does NOT use bovine growth hormone in their dairy herd. A product of Monsanto, bovine growth hormone causes numerous health issues for the cow, infected udders for one, while increasing milk production. Who knows what health issues it might cause for humans? I am tired of being a Monsanto experiment. Don't drink milk from cows injected with Monsanto products. Sorry about the continuing Monsanto rants, someone has to say something though.

    1. Mahalo Doug for your feedback. This is good info. I am going to edit the post now, because I forgot to mention that none of the local milk is organic, and people should be aware of that. Did you see my post on sugar? We have such tough choices to make!

  2. I agree with everything you said EXCEPT about the local milk. I agree that the milk i.e. Meadow Gold, etc is locally sourced but its not a good thing when radioactive testing showed that Meadow Gold milk is 600 times higher than normal radiation levels. This was reported in the front page of the Herald Tribune not long ago in response to the Japanese nuclear disaster. Much of the Japanese fallout from the radiation has settled on our ag land/pastures and the irrefutable evidence is in the radiation testing which yielded these staggering results. Now, as the principal of my kids' public school pointed out, even at 600 times more than normal levels, the levels are still considered within the 'safe range," as stated by our governor. The pprincipal told me this when I signaled alarm at the fact that all public school here in Hawaii serve Meadow Gold, the exact milk that was tested in the newspaper story. The schools continue to serve this milk to all our keiki every day and there is no opt out except telling your keiki to set the milk back in the ice after they go through the line and are handed the milk. The thing is many of us wonder how the government knows what the 'safe range' of radiation is? Also, the concentrations the government is citing are based on a single time exterior exposure rather than material that you are ingesting on a daily basis. If you want to err on the side of caution, I recommend drinking almond milk or some other type of milk for this reason. do your own research and then draw your conclusions but I think this is serious enough to warrant your consideration.

    1. Mahalo Lori for sharing this information with me and my readers. I agree that radiation is a concern. It concerns me that in order to consume safe, organic milk, or as you said, almond milk, we must import these products. As you know, this increases our dependence on oil as well continuing to hurt the aina. We do have to make these tough choices so thank you for sharing more info so that we can all be informed to make those choices.

  3. The Big Island needs more sustainable food bloggers. So great to see people engaging in a discussion and giving opinions!

    1. Mahalo! I hope it's a conversation we can keep going, very important to the people of Hawaii and the world.


Aloha Saturdays with Maggy reader! Thank you for your comments, I love hearing your thoughts and feedback.


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