July 2022 marks six years since Hawaiʻi ʻUlu Cooperative began serving Hawaiʻi farmers and communities.
In six years, we have grown our membership to 125 farmers on Hawaiʻi Island, Maui and Oʻahu, harvested over 966,500 lbs. of local produce, planted 5,500 ʻulu trees, and collectively manage 178 acres of breadfruit agroforestry.
Hawaiʻi ʻUlu Cooperative’s success over this period is directly linked to the cooperative model and its ability to balance local community ownership and long-term benefits with building a viable business.
Over the coming years, we strive to continue developing an economically-successful, social enterprise that can give back to the farmers, the community, and the ‘āina, while strengthening Hawaiʻi’s food system.
July 2021 to June 2022 Highlights:
Celebrated 2021 Annual Member Meeting and 5-year Anniversary at the Alae Postharvest Facility in Hilo, Hawaiʻi Island.
Hired first Director of Sales, Tamara Butterbaugh – previously of Mānoa Chocolate.
Launched Recipe-Ready, Hawaiʻi-Grown Staples line in grocery stores statewide; partnered with Kapiʻolani Community College, 7-11 and Warabeya to offer ʻulu wagyu beef stew at 7-11 locations statewide.
Awarded Value Added Producer Grant from USDA Rural Development to scale Hawaiʻi grown and milled ʻulu flour.
National Farm to School Month celebrated in partnership with Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation and other community partners to host ʻulu cooking demos and distribute Kumu ʻUlu boxes and educational packets statewide.
In October, 2021 we also hired our first Farmer-Member Coordinator - Kyle Jackson.
Completed ʻulu value-added product R&D initiative in partnership with ʻUlu Ambassadors Dan Robayo and Sarah Burchard and master food preserver Shannon Rodriguez, to develop a new all-purpose baking mix made with ʻulu flour, an ʻulu French fries recipe, new flavors for our ʻulu hummus and ʻulu chocolate mousse, and several baby ʻulu pickle recipes. This project was made possible by Big Island Resource Conservation & Development Council and the County of Hawaiʻi.
Established partnership with Hawaiʻi Foodservice Alliance (HFA) to significantly expand the availability of recipe-ready packs at many more grocery stores in Hawaiʻi, including Longs/CVS.
Hired first Marketing Manager - Kenta Nemoto
Launched four-part Hawaiʻi Cooperative Webinar Series in partnership with The Kohala Center to educate co-op members and the public about Hawaiʻi cooperatives.
Awarded our first grant in the farmer-membership department, a Sustainable Agriculture Resource and Education (SARE) Grant to test and report on best practices for cost-effectively preventing ungulate damage and managing weeds in young breadfruit orchards.
Soft launch of the Hoʻopili ʻAi campaign in partnership with the Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute / Farm to School Hui to revitalize the Harvest of the Month program in Hawaiʻi elementary schools.
HUC GM and Member Coordinator travel to Wisconsin for Organic Valley's Annual Member Meeting and are inspired to draft HUC's first Foundational Tenets modeled after lessons learned from CROPP (the farmer-owned cooperative behind the Organic Valley brand).
Hired first dedicated Alae Postharvest Facility manager - Fiona Rowles.
Conducted our first circuit of regional member meetings on Hawaiʻi Island.
Published ʻUlu Agroforestry in Hawaiʻi guide and hosted ʻUlu Agroforestry webinar with eight guest speakers and over 100 participants.
OK Farms' 5-acre ʻulu agroforestry site planted out with ʻulu trees and co-crops during first community planting day.
Final membership count at the end of the year included 125 farmers across three islands (Hawaiʻi Island, Maui and Oʻahu).
MAHALO FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!
Hawaiʻi ʻUlu Cooperative is a farmer-owned business with 125 members across three islands.
The co-op aggregates fresh staple crops from our farmers and produces recipe-ready ʻulu, kalo, ʻuala, and palaʻai for both retail and wholesale customers, along with an array of ʻono value-added products. The co-op guarantees a stable market for our members so they can focus on what they love and do best - FARMING.