Hawai’i Farm Stand is bringing a new meaning to the phrase “farm-to-table.” Sisters Angela Fa’anunu and Kalisi Mausio are making the decision to support local farmers that much easier for Hawai’i residents and visiting customers: with Hawai’i Farm Stand, you can order gift boxes from their website or purchase individual items directly from the local farms they are partnered with. In no time at all, you’ll receive a box of farm-fresh produce and other goods delivered right to your doorstep—and it’s based right here on the Big Island.
After delving into their respective professional fields (Angela’s a professor at UH Hilo and Kalisi began working for NOAA on Oahu and enrolled in a PhD program at UH Manoa), the duo teamed up to create Hawai’i Farm Trails, an app that allows users to find local farms, farmers markets, and other agricultural events to promote awareness and generate business for these one-of-a-kind island delicacies.
Kalisi and Angela got their start in the business side of farming by entering the 2016 Mahi‘ai Match-Up Agricultural Business Plan Contest sponsored by Kamehameha Schools and the Pauahi Foundation—and won. Their farm, Kaivao Farm LLC, proposed to use traditional organic and sustainable techniques for ulu and cassava farming and to incorporate indigenous art programs right there on the farm, thus earning them the grand prize of $20,000 to move forward with this project. From this point on, these two sisters have been inspired to advocate for other local farms in order to benefit Hawai’i’s economy.
So, what is it called when you merge the tourism industry with the agriculture industry? It’s called agritourism, and that is one of Hawai’i Farm Stand’s target up-and-coming industries. Hawai’i Farm Trails started about a year ago, right before the pandemic hit, which directly impacted the way in which Hawai’i Farm Trails could operate. This is when Hawai’i Farm Stand was created.
Hawai’i Farm Stand is a service that bridges the gap between farmers and consumers. Having lived in Hawai’i for most of their lives, Angela and Kalisi quickly realized that a majority of Hawai’i’s tourism industry has been generated over the years to benefit and cater to larger corporations instead of uplifting local businesses. “Our founding principle for this business was to explore agritourism as a more sustainable alternative to regular tourism. We want to promote tourism that can be more beneficial to the local economy,” Mausio explained.
This virtual farmer’s market features various products from local farms such as honey, chocolate, macadamia nuts, coffee, condiments, and more. Farms like BigIslandPulse community partners Buddha’s Cup and Kona Gold Trading Co. offer up some of their best wares on the website. Hawai’i Farm Stand gives the buyer the option to purchase individual items, a one-time gift box, or a three-month subscription box that is updated with new items from different farms each month. Additionally, each box ordered through Hawai’i Farm Stand arrives with an “impact statement” and a gift card made of ulu kapa inside.
“Hawai’i Farm Stand started as a way to promote virtual engagement between buyer and farmer, so we also wanted to include pre-recorded virtual tours for each farm that we feature,” Mausio noted. While in-person tours and activities are limited within every industry right now, the virtual farm tours that are offered through Hawai’i Farm Stand are an excellent way to enhance the personal connection for the consumer. “Hawai’i Farm Stand helps people discover farms and provides them with information to experience them and/or support them by buying their products. And by buying the products, they are directly supporting the community,” she continued. “There is no food without farmers; they are the basis of our resilience. By supporting them, we are supporting our own resilience as a community.”
This holiday season, we encourage you to shop local as you plan out the perfect gifts to give your friends and family. Although we may live on the most remote archipelago in the world, Hawai’i Farm Stand is an excellent way to send goods from the Big Island and Oahu to anyone in the country. The last day to order your gift box or subscription box in time for Christmas is December 12. Giving the gift of healthy eating doesn’t stop at the holidays, though—you can subscribe to Hawai’i Farm Stand all year!
Hawai’i Farm Stand is coming out with all kinds of exciting new projects, so stay tuned to their website for more updates on how Hawai’i Farm Stand is impacting the emerging agritourism industry in Hawai’i.
All images are provided courtesy Hawai’i Farm Stand.