It was a very dry day in June when a group of community volunteers of the Food Garden Hui planted sweet potatoes using “slips” (a mature stem with leaves) at the community food garden of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement in Kapolei.
By October, the harvest yield was only about 20 small to medium sized potatoes. On the other hand, the team harvested a 4 foot tall pile of sweet potato leaves, or “talbos ng kamote” (young shoots of the sweet potato) in Tagalog.
Food Garden Hui bundled the leaves into meal-sized portions for distribution at Princess Ruth Keʻelikolani Middle School food hub organized by Reality Honolulu. We had to use a truck to haul the vegetables. All told, we had harvested about 75 bundles of produce!
We had barely laid the bundles of leaves on the table when kupuna aunties started lining up and asking for them. We had to wait for the alarm to start,but at exactly 12 noon – they came. They smiled, they clapped, they skipped when they were able to get a bundle of sweet potato leaves.
Our table was empty in 12 minutes.