New Children’s Book – “The Mystery of Rat Lungworm Disease”

A University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Pharmacy researcher has developed a fun-filled activity book to teach children about a serious health topic associated with cleaning and cooking vegetables in the tropical Hawaiian environment.

Dr. Susan Jarvi, associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, is distributing a book and poster about Rat Lungworm Disease (Angiostrongylus cantonensis) to elementary school children in Hilo. But she wants everyone in Hawaiʻi to know more about the rare parasitic infection that can cause paralysis, coma or death.

“There’s a real need for better education of the public and research that no one else is doing if we want to decrease risk of infection,” said Jarvi, who has been conducting research on ways to detect the virus in the blood as well as testing possible vaccines and evaluating vegetable washes that may be the most effective in killing the A. cantonensis larvae that causes the damage.

The disease-causing organism reproduces in rats and is transferred to slugs and snails. Eating raw snails and slugs, intentionally or unintentionally, infects people, and the larvae can hide in salads or other uncooked vegetables. Symptoms that appear at the onset of the infection can appear similar to other infections and make it difficult to diagnose.

“The activity book project is just a start of our efforts to reduce rat lungworm infection on the Island of Hawaiʻi through educational and research approaches,” Jarvi said. “This year we are concentrating on integrating Rat Lungworm Disease education into the Department of Education (DOE) curriculum in second grade, but on a larger scale we plan to integrate it into the curriculum in multiple grades.”

The activity book, designed and illustrated by local artist Hopper Sheldon of Hopper’s Art, is called “The Mystery of Rat Lungworm Disease.” It contains 22 pages of information, coloring, puzzles and clues that are designed to help elementary-age children learn what to look for in their gardens and vegetables and what to do if they spot something suspicious on their food.

Hoppers VW Van

Hopper Sheldon’s VW Van

Hoping to take the activity to book to as many second-grade classrooms as possible, Jarvi is continually contacting teachers on other islands and searching for feedback.

For further information, contact Jarvi at (808) 933-2954 or

New Restaurant Opening at Former Pahoa KFC Spot?

I just drove by the spot of the former KFC Restaurant in Pahoa and noticed the following sign:

The Lehua Cafe

The Lehua Cafe

The Lehua Cafe appears to be run by the folks at the Hawaii Youth Business Center out of Keaau.  I know for a time they had a food wagon set up in the Keaau-Shopping center at the former spot of the Wiki Wiki mart that used to be there.

Food Business Basics Workshops – Value-Added Product Expert to Visit Hawai‘i Island

East Hawaii (EHCDC) to host The Kohala Center’s Food Business Basics Workshop in Hilo Value-added product expert to visit Hawai‘i Island

Value-added and specialty foods consultant Lou Cooperhouse will present “Food Business Basics: Getting Started and Finding Your Niche in the Specialty Foods Business” workshops in Hilo, hosted by East Hawaii (EHCDC) at their Hawaii Food Hub / Hawaii TechWorks location, March 11, 2013, and in Honoka‘a and Pāhala March 12–13, 2013.

Photo courtesy of the Laulima Center.

Photo courtesy of the Laulima Center.

The workshops are designed for farmers seeking to develop their raw product into a value added product and bring it to market. Additionally, entrepreneurs and restaurateurs interested in diversifying their revenue streams with specialty food products, and established producers looking to take their food businesses to the next level.

The Kohala Center and University of Hawai‘i Maui College are sponsoring and facilitating the workshops, which are made possible by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Program grant. The East Hawaii Community Development Corporation is providing additional support.

The dates, times, and locations of the workshops are:

HILO: Monday, March 11, 2013,  8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Cosponsored, with East Hawaii Community Development Corporation (EHCDC), 501(c)(3), Hawaii Food Hub / Hawaii TechWorks, 230 Kekuanaoa Street

HONOKA‘A: Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center, 45-539 Plumeria Street

PĀHALA: Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Pāhala Community Center, 96-1149 Kamani Street

Following Cooperhouse’s three-hour “Food Business Basics” workshops, Nicole Milne, Agricultural Business Development Specialist at The Kohala Center, will present two onehour sessions focused on financial resources available to Hawai‘i farmers and strategies for marketing agricultural products. Registration is $35.00 per participant in advance, and includes access to all three workshops and lunch. Participants may register online at or by calling (808) 4432755.

Registrations at the door will be accommodated on a space available basis for $50.00 per participant, with lunch subject to availability.

In addition, Cooperhouse will also conduct 30-minute one-on-one consulting sessions each afternoon with preselected workshop participants. Registrants interested in the one-on-one consultations must complete and submit a brief application, available for download at, by Friday, March 1. Applicants will be notified by March 8 whether or not they are selected for the consultations, which are being offered at no additional charge.

“Lou Cooperhouse’s workshops will prepare island agricultural producers and culinary entrepreneurs to enter the specialty foods industry,” said Milne. “These workshops will help participants understand the specialty foods marketplace, distribution channels, and current and emerging food industry trends, while also helping them define their target audiences, unique selling propositions, and the importance of business and strategic planning.”

“We are thrilled that The Kohala Center and UH Maui College are bringing Mr. Cooperhouse to Hawai‘i, and to be a part of this program by serving as host for Lou Cooperhouse’s Hilo workshop,” said Anthony Marzi, Executive Director of the East Hawaii Community Development Corporation. “Many of the constituents we serve are anxious for this knowledge and training. Having this kind of direct access to Mr. Cooperhouse’s expertise will benefit our island’s farmers and entrepreneurs, and has great potential to strengthen our local economy.”

Cooperhouse is the President of Food Spectrum, LLC, a management consulting company with expertise in business innovation and incubation. He has led cross-functional teams in a wide array of settings throughout his career, including new business startups, family-run companies, global manufacturing operations, and retail and food service operations. Cooperhouse also served as Director of the globally recognized Rutgers University Food Innovation Center, and as an Adjunct Professor in the Rutgers Business School. Earlier in his career, Cooperhouse held positions at Campbell Soup Company, ConAgra, and Nestlé-funded Culinary Brands in areas of business development, product development, quality assurance, and operations. He is the publisher and co-author of a landmark study on the prepared refrigerated food industry, and has spoken at over 100 industry conferences.