January 2020: We have great news – the West Hawai‘i Community Kitchen is nearing completion!
A value-added processing kitchen accessible to local farms has been a dream for more than twenty years. Centrally located in Kealakekua to serve farming families from Holualoa to Honomalino, the beautiful new kitchen facility, about 80% completed, stands ready for the final phase of development.
In 2020, we’re making our final funding push to raise the remaining 20% needed to complete the new kitchen facility.
Five years ago, a $1.2 million Grant-in-Aid from the Hawai‘i State Legislature got the West Hawaii Community Kitchen project rolling. The comprehensive planning process included a series of community input meetings and online surveys that engaged dozens of community members in helping make decisions about kitchen design, equipment and operations. Architectural design, engineering and the permit process followed, and construction of the new facility began in December 2018.
An additional $400,000 Grant-In-Aid in 2018, along with substantial donations from the Ulupono Initiative and the Dorrance Foundation and many smaller community donations, brought the kitchen project along to its present stage. The kitchen building has been built and all exterior finish work completed, the plumbing and electric is complete, and all kitchen equipment has been purchased. We’re close to the finish line!
While there are more than 700 farming families in our community, there is currently no accessible value-added processing facility in West Hawai‘i.The West Hawai‘i Community Kitchen is designed as a value-added production facility that will help local farming families thrive by turning their harvest into finished products that bring in more income. Supporting family farms strengthens our community and the local agricultural economy.
Adding value to a product leads to higher financial returns, with a goal of increased return for farmers. Some of the value-added products identified by our community farmers include salsas and chutneys, jams and jellies, canned fish and meat, kalo, ‘uala and ‘ulu chips, probiotic drinks, fish and meat jerky, and organic baby food.
If you’re interested in joining our 2020 fundraising efforts to complete West Hawaii Community Kitchen, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .