Fundraiser for UH Hilo equine program to benefit displaced animals from lava flow now living at ag farm

In recognition of National Honey Month, Chef Alan Wong and the Adopt-A-Beehive program have teamed up with Sodexo to create a special benefit bento that has components utilizing UH Hilo honey from the apiary at the UH Hilo farm.

Alan Wong and Bob-Bob the donkey
Alan Wong and Bob-Bob
Chef Alan Wong and Reid Kusano
Chef Alan Wong and Sodexo’s Reid Kusano display the benefit bento.

Local celebrity chef, Alan Wong, has partnered with the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Sodexo Dining Services to host a fundraiser for the university’s equine program. The benefit will support the care of horses and a miniature donkey named Bob-Bob displaced by the recent lava flows. The animals are being kept at the UH Hilo Agricultural Farm Laboratory in Pana‘ewa, where student volunteers under the supervision of farm staff are providing care.

In recognition of National Honey Month, Chef Wong and the Adopt-A-Beehive program have teamed up with Sodexo to create a special bento that has components utilizing UH Hilo honey from the apiary at the farm.

“Bento Benefit for Bob-Bob” is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 24, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., on campus at the breezeway outside the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (map). Chef Wong and Bob-Bob will be there. The $10 bentos will be available only through pre-sale (cash only). The pre-sale date is Monday, Sept. 17, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, on the breezeway.

“Bob-Bob is a mini-donkey who has been on the ag farm since early May as a result of the lava activities,” says Lorna Tsutsumi, professor of entomology, who organized the event. “He serves as the poster child for the group of displaced horses on the farm.”

Lorna Tsutsumi
Lorna Tsutsumi

Tsutsumi says the horses are not considered livestock by their owners, but large pets, and knowing that they are being cared for while their owners reshape their lives has been a great relief for many.

The college was in the process of rebuilding its equine program and is offering a horse production course (at full capacity) this fall. Another equine course is tentatively being offered in spring 2019.

Bruce Mathews
Bruce Mathews

“The existing equine-related infrastructure and pastures that were initially slated for use by the equine courses enabled the farm to host the displaced horses,” explains Bruce Mathews, dean of the college. “However, there are other needs such as medications, supplements and veterinarian visits. Chef Wong, Sodexo and UH Hilo demonstrate how partnerships can achieve beneficial goals. Everyone shares the same values in their support of the local community, local agriculture, and UH Hilo students.”

The bento includes:

  • UH Hilo honey Sriracha tofu bites
  • Pipikaula-style Big Island rib-eye steak
  • Grilled misoyaki mahima hi served with Chef Alan’s honey lemon miso
  • Alan Wong’s Moromiso multigrain rice
  • Wok-fried soy beans with garlic and chili (an Alan Wong classic from his former Pineapple Room restaurant)
  • Alan Wong’s wasabi potato salad

–Ka Lono Hanakahi

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