Historic Limu Highlights, Recipes Celebrated Through Beloved Book Reprint

The Limu Eatera book first published in 1978 by the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program (Hawaii Sea Grant) to highlight the historical importance of the Limu in Hawaii as well as unique and delicious recipes, is once again available to the public.

To celebrate the launch of The Limu Eater as good as Year of the Limu and Hawaii 50th anniversary of Sea Grant, more than 150 people gathered at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Hoʻokupu Kewalo Basin Center on October 13 to share limu stories, memories and delicious limu dishes, and to honor the importance of limu to Hawaiicultural identity and ecosystem health.

speaking panel
Panel with Malia Heimuli, Aunty Pam Fujii, Uncle Wally Ito, Ryan Okano and Celia Smith

Additionally, experts from uh Manoa and Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻAuamo (KUA) showcased cutting-edge research and ongoing efforts to conserve, restore, raise awareness and promote the sustainable regeneration of lime.

Darren LernerDirector of Hawaii Sea Grant, said: “The event celebrating the reprint of this much-loved book was particularly meaningful as we not only celebrated the release of a publication in print for the first time in 1978 by our program, but also the unfortunate passing of its author, Heather Fortner. Although she was unable to join us in person as we originally planned, her passion for limu and Hawaii’s history and culture will live on in the pages of his book for many years to come.

two smiling women in front of books

The reprint is the result of a year-long collaboration with KUA and its Limu Hui Network, which is dedicated to restoring the knowledge, practice, and abundance of limu, and capturing the knowledge of elders (kūpuna) who gather and care for native Hawaiian limu around the islands.

Along with fish and poi, limu was once an integral part of the traditional Hawaiian diet and was used for food, medicine, religious ceremonies and par lapaʻau healing practitioners. Although urban development, overexploitation, climate change and other pressures have caused the availability of native limu to decline, the knowledge and practices endure. The reprint of The Limu Eater honors centuries-old cultural practices and will be part of the living, evolving and growing practice of limu hana in Hawaii.

Kevin Chang, Managing Director of KUAsaid, “We are delighted to partner with Hawaii Sea Grant to see Heather Fortner The Limu Eater once again become accessible to the public as part of a larger celebration of the Year of Limu. This effort is a testament to a generation gone by, in the 1970s, when the Limu was once again at the top of minds and hearts as part of a Hawaiian civic and cultural renaissance. This effort was also sparked within our Limu Hui by its member and elder HAE President Colette Machado for whom this book was a favorite. It was his dream that it be republished for the community to access.

–By Cindy Knapman

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