About Ku I Ka Mana
The Kohala Center recently received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to create and deliver Ku I Ka Mana, a beginning farmer training initiative. The County of Hawai‘i is providing the necessary matching funds to secure the USDA grant.
Starting in the Hāmākua region of Hawai‘i Island, The Kohala Center, in partnership with several local government agencies and academic institutions, will recruit, train, and support at least 40 new farmers over the next two years. The program will also help these new farmers develop business plans, secure farm leases, gain access to farm equipment and materials, and successfully produce, market, and distribute their crops. As part of this program, The Kohala Center is developing a training site in Honoka‘a that will be used to teach successful farming practices.
Ku I Ka Mana supports several primary goals of The Kohala Center, state and county governments, island leaders, and community groups: to increase local food production, decrease dependency on imports, diversify Hawai‘i Island’s rural economy, create jobs, and promote greater self-reliance.
Beginning farmers who successfully complete the training program and create viable farm and business plans will be able to work with the State of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture to execute short-term leases on farmlands managed by the Hāmākua-North Hilo Agricultural Coop, County of Hawai‘i and Kapulena Agricultural Park, with the understanding that satisfactory farm operation start-up will allow for longer-term land occupancy.