Waking Up for Kuahiwi

Market Slam: May 29, 2010: KCC Farmers Market: Michelle Galimba of Kuahiwi Ranch makes her debut at KCC with frozen cuts of beef. Supporter Chef Alan Wong will be cooking and serving up Kuahiwi Ranch hamburgers and loco moco! Please spread the word! Come show your support!

KCC Farmers Market, Saturday, 7:30 to 11:00 a.m

The key for Kuahiwi Ranch’s survival is to break into the Oahu supermarkets and restaurants.

As our systems of food distribution came to depend on larger commercial food growers outside of our state who could provide lower priced imports, our local independent farms and ranches found it more and more difficult to find their way into our supermarkets and restaurants. Because of this, we have lost countless farms. In 2009 alone, we lost 16 farms on Oahu.

She Grows Food specializes in reversing these trends, one farm at time.

We started this process with Kuahiwi by introducing them to leaders in the Hawaii culinary movement, who immediately recognized the high quality and standard of Kuahiwi’s beef and worked hard on their end to get it into their restaurants. We assisted in generating publicity for the ranch and the crisis situation of the beef industry in Hawaii.

This has helped Kuahiwi but it’s not enough. For Kuahiwi to survive, we need to get louder and wake up the giant that is the Oahu market. They need to be in the supermarkets.

We need your help. We are putting out the call to all local food vigilantes!

Over the past year, She Grows Food has been researching, strategizing and laying the ground work for a public action campaign that could creatively and powerfully put local ranches and farmers back in our markets.

What we found is that in order for farmers and ranchers to survive and to grow, they need get a fair price, no more having to take the hit from competition with cheap imported food. The key is to use our numbers to help them leverage a fair price at the market. This is where you come in.

The concept of Local Food Vigilantes is visibility for all of us who see our purchases of locally grown food as a purposeful reinvestment in our local food growing system.

Here’s the plan:

Organizing. Become a Local Food Vigilante by subscribing and getting guerrilla with us. We’ll send you updates and action alerts. As individuals we care deeply about rescuing our local food systems. As a group, we are a force to be reckoned with.

Eating as a Political Act. In the coming months, we will be working hard to stage supermarket and restaurant slams and publicizing them. What’s a slam? We put out an action alert, vigilantes show up and shock with sheer numbers.

Together, we can make the message clear:

–       We have the power to directly assist our local farmers in leveraging a fair price at our markets.

–       Our markets need to know that we will support fair prices for our local farmers. No more cheap imports that do nothing to build our local community.

Yes, it’s time to break old habits and compost vicious cycles.

Our first slam will be KCC Farmers Market, Saturday, May 29th, 7:30-11:00 a.m. This is Kuahiwi Ranch’s debut at the Hawaii’s largest farmers market. Michelle Galimba will be there representing her family and selling frozen cuts of their ranch’s beef. Chef Alan Wong found out that Michelle was coming to the market and volunteered to cook in her booth for her as a show of support and to help her raise money. He’s phoned to say he’ll be cooking and serving a special Kuahiwi dish.

Vigilantes: show up in force and show your support for Kuahiwi too!

Goal for this event: Document the demand for Kuahiwi beef on Oahu, so that we can show supermarkets that powerful support exists.

Update: Check out how Kuahiwi rocked the farmers’ market!

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