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Kauaʻi event features dishes made with invasive species to raise awareness of environment

Waipa.JPG
Waipā Foundation
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HPR
"Makana Waipā: Eat the Invasives" features dishes made by local chefs who use invasive species found in the islands.

An event featuring dishes made with invasive species by local chefs returns to Kauaʻi this weekend.

The nonprofit Waipā Foundation began hosting an annual “Makana Waipā: Eat the Invasives” in 2017. But it was canceled for the past two years due to the pandemic.

Stacy Sproat, the foundation’s executive director, said the dinner helps to educate people about the many invasive species in the islands, as well as raises money for the foundation.

“In our work at Waipā… we farm, we raise our own animals and we work to connect our community with ʻāina. And we’re well aware of the impact that our gathering of native species and sourcing of food products from all over the world has on the environment," she said. "And so we were inspired to try to use more invasives because there’s so many edible invasives… and to share knowledge with people.” 

The foundation has stewarded 1,600 acres of land in the ahupuaʻa of Waipā on Kauaʻi’s north shore for more than 20 years.

Venison, pig, mango, apple snails and tilapia are some of the invasive species on the menu.

The event recently sold out, but Sproat said they are encouraging other community groups to plan similar events. She added that they are also looking forward to hosting this dinner again in the coming years.

Jayna Omaye is the culture and arts reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at jomaye@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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