I went to my first farmer’s market on Kauai the other day, and I’ve already honed in on a few challenges I didn’t realize I would have to overcome. First of all, not everyone over here speaks English! Some people speak Hawaiian Creole (also known as Hawaiian Pidgin English). I’m honestly not sure how to break that barrier. Unfortunately, since I don’t speak that language, and I don’t have someone to translate, they might be left out of the study. Other than that challenge, I noticed that a lot of farmers at the market didn’t want to speak to me once they realized that I wasn’t a paying customer. To overcome this, I think I need to come up with a better approach and come closer to the end of the market. It would probably also be better if I could present my project from a different perspective. Instead of saying it is research, maybe I’ll explain that I’m trying to put together a list of farmers that are interested in selling their products to a school… or something along those lines. This is obviously still a work in progress.
I got to visit Kawakini (pronounced kava-key-knee) and experience first-hand what the school had to offer. It was a little shocking to see how little infrastructure they have in place. Their cafeteria is an outdoor tent, and they don’t have any kitchen to speak of. However, they’re in the process of looking into grants that would help them get a mobile food kitchen and/or build a cafeteria in the future, if they choose to take either of those routes. Although they didn’t have a kitchen or cafeteria, they do have a school garden!
During my first visit, I got roped into weeding and planting a few new plants in it. The school officials are eager to see what I’ll bring to the table. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that one of them had read my internship proposal paper! When they realized that I was the person that had written it, they told me it was very well done and they looked forward to getting a new perspective to come up with a solution for the issue.
I tried not to disappoint! Since the school is practically on the same property as Kauai Community College (KCC) — which has a culinary program — I suggested trying to form a partnership with them. After talking to the school officials, we recognized that there would be some challenges to overcome, but my idea was really well-received and it seems like a great possibility that could benefit students from both Kawakini and KCC!