Announcements: April 21, 2021

  • Men of Pa’a prepare the imu for cooking. Agricultural nonprofit, the Hawaii Sheep and Goat Association teamed up with the Men of PA’A to stage and produce a unique imu demonstration video. Filmed on location in Puna, the video includes a step-by-step on how to build and utilize an imu. The video also highlights the use of local lamb cooked in the imu. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

Nonprofit releases imu demonstration video

The Hawaii Sheep and Goat Association has teamed up with the Men of PA’A to stage and produce a unique imu demonstration video. Filmed on location in Puna, the video includes a step-by-step on how to build and utilize an imu. The video also highlights the use of local lamb cooked in the imu.

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“In order to promote the production of local food and cooking techniques, we wanted to spotlight the use of Hawai’i grown, grass-fed lamb, using this ancient Hawaiian way of cooking,” said Julie LaTendresse, Hawaii Sheep and Goat Association vice presdient. “The video illustrates that all different types of food can be cooked in an imu.”

The Hawaii Sheep and Goat Association is a 501(c)(5) nonprofit whose mission is to support, improve, and strengthen Hawaii’s sheep and goat community. It provides networking opportunities, coordinates educational and promotional events, and serves as a unified voice to represent island sheep and goat producers.

The organization received a promotional grant from the state Department of Agriculture. Using this grant, the nonprofit produced a cookbook including recipes for cooking lamb and goat, as well as recipes utilizing milk, cheese and many local ingredients.

“In order to get people to eat locally we need to highlight great local foods and ways to cook that food,” said Amy Decker, a local goat farmer in Kona.

The video was filmed over three days and also highlights important Hawaiian knowledge and culture passed down from the ancient Hawaiians. The executive director of local nonprofit the Men of PA’A, Iopa Maunakea was the kahu imu for the three days. He brought together all the parts and the knowledge passed down from his kupuna to execute the imu.

“It’s important that we pass the food wisdom that was given to us by our ancestors. We want to teach our keiki how to do imu like it was taught to us. And by using local ingredients like sheep, kalo, sweet potatoes, we can try to pass on the importance of food independence and sovereignty for Hawaii,” said Maunakea.

Post-doctoral researcher Katie Kamelamela attended the imu and helps bring a larger context to the video.

“Doing imu is a Hawaiian cultural practice that combines not just ways of cooking food, but multiple rites of passage, as well as opportunities for people to come together to share food and stories,” Kamelamela said.

Chef Ellard Resignato, executive producer of the Big Island-based food and travel TV/web series the Culinary Edge TV filmed and edited the video.

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“This video brings together so many important elements like community, food knowledge, local food, cultural practices, and wisdom. It provides a window into the future of sustainability and food sovereignty on our island,” said Resignato.

The video will premiere at 6 p.m. Thurdsay on the Hawaii Sheep and Goat Association’s YouTube channel.

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