After 20 years of foraging, I have never felt more inspired to share about wild foods than now. It is a true act of freedom to know how to feed yourself, and people can free up from worry of overharvesting when the focus is on invasives. By introducing people to these new tastes at the Savage Kitchen food truck, organizing a community of volunteers on the front lines of invasive species removal, and demystifying their identification through an educational mobile app, we are tripling up efforts on creatively using them without spreading them further. Good for us, good for the planet.
This project needs $30,000 to cover the cost of the food truck and for development and implementation of the mobile app. Any monies raised above that amount will be used to increase the functionality of the mobile app, as powerful streamlined technology invigorates learning. Despite their value, wild foods have been excluded from official statistics on economic values of natural resources and their current use is limited relative to their economic potential. I believe that this project is reproducible around the globe, and hope that it also sparks small cottage industries in the food industry. After establishing these efforts on Maui, I could see taking this model to help communities identify and utilize the top edible invasive species in their bioregions. dreams. for now the food truck and app would be awesome!
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Any sharing on social media would be greatly appreciated, as beyond money to fund this project, I believe that this project can inspire others to utilize the invasive edible plant species in their areas as well. Mahalo nui loa!
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*opening statements about 87% of Hawaiian endemic species threatened comes from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which held their World Conservation Congress in Hawai'i this past September. I attended nearly all of the invasive species sessions at this event, which had over 10,000 participants from around the globe, and although invasives are on the radar of governments and non-governmental organizations there is a large gap in getting invasive species information to the general public...this project fills that gap! https://www.iucn.org/news/four-out-six-great-apes-one-step-away-extinction-%E2%80%93-iucn-red-list
**calling Hawai'i the "Endangered Species Capital of the World" is a mixed bag, as there are several biological hotspots around the globe facing dire ecological crisis if the challenges are not met with fast-acting responses. However, there is no doubt this title, albeit exclusionary of other places, is fitting for the islands' small land mass and rapid pace of extinctions. http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/rare-plants/
Risks and challenges
I'm not yet in possession of the Savage Kitchen food truck (the current owner graciously borrowed it to me for the video!), but do hold the title. Until it is in my possession there is the risk that it could be damaged in some way. If that happens, then the project timeline would be extended as a new food wagon is located.
Finding app developers who can complete projects in a timely manner seems to be challenging, but I have set the delivery date of the app to October in hopes that provides sufficient time. If not, this deliverable may be delayed, but not stopped!
There have been significant barriers to working with edible invasive plants, like limited access to natural resources, legal restrictions, and permitting issues. In addition, the messaging from agencies has been inconsistent, and lacking in definition and enforcement. For example, haole koa (Leucaena leucocephala) is on the IUCN's List of 100 Worst Invasive Species on the Planet, as well as Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) list of invasives, but is not on the US Department of Agriculture's Hawai'i Noxious Weed List.
Anytime someone tries a new food there is a risk that that person would develop a previously unknown allergy. Savage Kitchen will have an epipen on site, along with full disclosure of all ingredients (including scientific/botanical nomenclature). Savage Kitchen will carry necessary insurance protections, but it is also dependent upon a community of caring people who take responsibility for their health and any preexisting condition which would prevent them from trying unknown foods.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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