Fruit growers in Hawaii and around the globe are familiar with the valuable contributions Captain Cook resident Ken Love has made toward promoting economic sustainability for small fruit farmers.
He was caught by surprise at the recent Fruit Lovers Fest when he rose to introduce a guest speaker, but unexpectedly found himself the center of attention.
Love received “much-deserved recognition for his passionate support of Hawaii fruit production and value-added product development” with a Same Canoe Lifetime Achievement Award from the One Island Sustainable Living Center.
He was lauded for his efforts in championing new farmer-to-consumer connections and “touching many lives” through his promotion of grown-in-Hawaii products, both here and abroad.
Currently serving as the long-time president of the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers, Love co-chairs annual fruit conferences, works with chefs to bring locally grown products to restaurants, has produced a variety of fruit posters identifying Hawaii varieties and currently is organizing statewide ultra-exotic fruit tastings at retail grocery stores, such as Whole Foods on Oahu.
Love says the goal of his efforts is for Hawaii to grow more of its food.
He explained, ”In 1960, Hawaii grew 90 percent of its own produce; by 2000, we were importing 90 percent. Change is happening. We are now at about 85 percent imported produce but that is still only 15 percent locally grown. The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers wants to change that.”
Love was presented with a Hawaii-made koa “We’re all in the Same Canoe” paddle at the festival held at the One Island Sustainable Living Center. The event was funded in part by the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program and hosted through One Island’s ‘Reclaiming our Local Food System’ project.
“I am very humbled and honored to receive a lifetime achievement award from One Island Sustainable Living Center for my work with tropical fruit and developing systems and diversification programs for small family farms,” Love shared.
Learn more about Love’s work at http://www.facebook.com/Kenlovekona and his library of resources at http://www.hawaiifruit.net/ . One Island is a local, non-profit program that hosts sustainability education activities on agriculture, local food system and zero-mile home gardening, renewable energy and solar grants, health and wellness, plus arts and culture.
The One Island Sustainable Living Center operates a 10-acre organic farm in Honaunau and includes 7,000 square feet in organic greenhouse and agriculture structures, a farm-based outdoor learning center, educational gardens and orchards, and is partnering with fellow non-profits and schools to host a variety of empowering, life-long learning programs for all ages. For info, http://www.oneisland.org/hawaii.