Service Member Jen Urban Teaches With, Learns From Kalo [Slow Food USA]

By Jen Urban, FoodCorps service member in O’ahu, HI

I stand in the middle of the hot kitchen. A steamer basket the size of a second-grader sits on the stove. Abandoned kitchen appliances litter the counter, all being slowly glued into place. My forearms, the front of my apron, the whole world it seems, are covered in sticky purple starch. I’m five hours into a battle royal that I never meant to have, and I’m out of ideas.

It all started a week earlier. “Fourth graders, who has tried kalo or poi before?” Hands fly up. A little boy in the back wiggles in his seat, “Miss Jen, I eat poi with my auntie!” A few kids sit quietly, but most have one or both hands in the air. The students at M?kaha Elementary, here on the west side of O‘ahu, are an exuberant bunch. We’re in the middle of garden class, standing among the rustling palm leaves, with the bright equatorial sun shining high above head and the kalo plants reaching skyward or bowing to the mountain, depending the on speed of the wind.

Take in the rest of Jen’s tale on the Slow Food USA blog >>