WAIANAE, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Taylor Preza
The 2nd annual Waianae Eat Local Challenge has come to an end. The Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center (WCCHC) presented the finale Saturday along with an Ulu Festival featuring popular Chef Sam Choy.
The challenge kicked off on August 15, 2015 with the Ka Holo Hoolaulea 5K Run/Walk sponsored by AlohaCare. Proceeds had gone to benefit WCCHC's Makeke Waianae, a farmer's and green market held every Saturday at Waianae Mall from 9am to 1pm.
The Eat Local Challenge was designed to encourage everyone to eat healthier while supporting local farmers. More than 1,000 people registered to take the challenge by completing their stamp card with one stamp earned for each $5 purchase of fresh produce from eligible vendors. Booths were also available offering free sustainability information, cooking demos, and other activities.
"Hawaii imports between 85 and 90 percent of its food and the Challenge is a great opportunity to show Hawaii how to become more food self-sufficient," said Alicia Higa, WCCHC's community wellness manager. "Small farmers are important to our economy and their fresh produce, organic dairy, local eggs and grass-fed beef play an important role in improving Hawaii's health," Higa said.
An Ulu Festival was also presented with the goal to encourage the cultivation and consumption of Ulu as a healthy alternative to white potatoes.
"I love cooking with ulu," said Sam Choy. "It's so easy and delicious and you can do so many things with it. Ulu can substitute for white potato in any recipe, and it's better. That's the Hawaiian way."
The Breadfruit Institute also gave away free ulu trees to 175 people who had signed up for a tree.
The nutritious breadfruit is an important staple throughout the Pacific, where it has been cultivated for more than 3,000 years.
Since 1972, WCCHC has provided a unique, integrated model of healthcare delivery that addresses not only an individual's health care needs but that of the family and the community.