Hana Community Kitchen Project

 

February 2023 — The decades-long effort to develop a community certified kitchen facility in Hāna is finally moving forward!

The Hāna Chapter of the Hawai’i Farmers Union, acting as the project umbrella, has received funding from the County of Maui Office of Economic Development to support the first phase of project development for planning and design of a shared-use certified kitchen and agricultural processing facility in Hāna. The Community Design Center at UH School of Architecture (UHCDC) is being contracted to provide support for the project.

UHCDC will support the Hāna community to gather information and understand the needs for a community kitchen facility, engage stakeholders in a design process, and produce a “proof of concept” document to define the project for future funding and implementation.

During 2023, talk story sessions, surveys and town hall meetings will be held to gather input, so we encourage all interested community members to look for and participate in these opportunities to shape this project so it best serves our needs!

Important factors that will be included in this phase of the project including site selection; facility capabilities and capacity; management and governance; and budget and funding sources for next phases of planning and development.

Some of the potential functions of the Hana Community Kitchen include:

  • Value-added processing of local products
  • Certified support kitchen for food establishment permits for events and farmers market vendors
  • Aggregation of local produce for cooperative transport and marketing in central Maui
  • Processing of local proteins including fish and livestock
  • Education, training and support for food safety, product development, packaging and labeling, marketing, business management, etc.

Hāna Business Council and Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike are also supporting partners in the project.

The need for a community kitchen in Hāna has existed for decades, and many residents will recall previous efforts that ended up not bearing fruit. The success of the Hāna Farmers Market and the renewed focus on local food security and economic diversification that came with the pandemic has brought new life to the effort. In October 2021, the Ways and Means Committee (WAM) of the Hawaii State Senate made a site visit to Hāna, and heard from many of our farmers and producers about the need for such a facility. At that time, Mayor Victorino affirmed his support for funding this initial phase of the project, with the goal to develop the project design that can then be taken back to WAM, as well to the federal government for infrastructure and rural development funding, to support the full design and implementation phases of the project.

Mahalo to the County of Maui for the support for this initial, necessary phase of the project. Although there remains much work ahead, we are eager to move forward, and confident in our ability to bring to fruition this project that truly serves the Hāna community’s needs!