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Calling All Hawaii-Based Food Businesses!

By Brian Halweil

There have never been more reasons to support food and agriculture businesses in Hawaii. For decades, farmers, food makers and community leaders in the state have pointed to the costs and risks of depending on food brought in by barges and planes. At least 85% of the food eaten in the state is ferried in from the mainland. The pandemic has further disrupted shipping channels, supply chains and food processing, making the downside of long-distance food even more clear. 

A series of fantastic stories in Civil Beat have laid out the case for more food self-sufficiency in the state.  Nearly half of Hawaii’s land is designated for agriculture, but just 8% of that land raises crops. The agency that overseas the state’s land assets, and is charged with getting leases to farmers, has come under heavy criticism for failing to support farmers and food businesses in the state, leaving prime land vacant and handing valuable leases to a small percentage of agribusinesses. 

Against this background, we are proud to announce the second call for applications to the Common Ground Accelerator. After graduating our first cohort of companies--Tiny Isle and Slow Island Food and Beverage--and jump starting their growth with capital and business development services, we are looking for our next class of great food and beverage brands to support.

What are we looking for?

  • Clean-label food and beverage products that showcase great Hawaii-grown ingredients
  • Food and agriculture-innovations that support the economy on Hawaii and beyond
  • Next-generation coffee, chocolate, turmeric, ginger, botanicals, and other ingredient-forward brands that feature Hawaii's unique flavors and farming potential

Our goal is to boost food, drink, and farm-related entrepreneurs in the state. We can create a national reputation for Hawaii as a leader in food innovation. At the crossroads of America and Asia, Hawai`i-based food CPG makers are ideally positioned to meet the global demand for new flavors and farm-based products. And you can help us find these makers.

We appreciate your help in spreading the word to entrepreneurs, investors and food community members. Interested companies can learn more and apply here.

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