The Roots of 'Ulu

About This Episode


1700 years ago, seafaring Polynesians brought 'ulu, or breadfruit, to Hawaii. It was a staple of the native cuisine for generations – and a key part of the culture. Planting, harvesting, preparing and sharing 'ulu wove together the community. Some Native speakers draw a connection between the word " 'ulu" and the Hawaiian word that means "to grow, to build, to inspire."

But Western contact brought new foods like hamburgers and french fries, and with them, soaring rates of diabetes and obesity. Today, Hawaiians are asking if a return to traditional foods could reverse these ominous trends? "Our foods have mana," they say, using the Hawaiian word for spiritual energy and healing power. "Once you plant it, 'ulu can feed you for the rest of your life!

A story of cultural preservation and food sustainability: The Roots of 'Ulu.