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Ancestral Ties

“What goes into your body is as important as what goes on it,” explains Brynn Foster, a smart mover and shaker who’s done it all, from fashion to entrepreneurship.

Voyaging Foods founder Brynn Foster takes pause in the lo‘i (taro patch) at ‘Aina Aloha o Na Lima Hana in Kane‘ohe.

Her latest career step has now taken her right back to her roots.

It all started when Foster wanted her newborn to benefit from taro, or kalo in Hawaiian. (It’s hypoallergenic, gluten-free and rich in vitamin B.)

When her son didn’t take to poi, she created taro biscuits. Since that first recipe, Foster has become one of taro’s latest (and most stylish) proponents.

So far, 2013 is looking bright. Partnering with farmers on Hawai‘i Island, her company Voyaging Foods unveiled a growing line of healthful products, from taro powder to baked goods. Plus, she recently announced plans to make her business international. “I want everyone to have the benefits of taro,” she says. Other upcoming endeavors include a gorgeous tome on the plant, along with collaborations with O‘ahu farmers, such as Mark Paikuli-Stride of ‘Āina Aloha o Nā Lima Hana.

Foster sees her life and her part in taro’s revival as bringing her family’s story full circle. “I am just one narrator of Hawai‘i’s story and culture,” she explains. While her Native Hawaiian grandmother left the islands at a young age, the granddaughter has taken up her heritage’s call.