As we are now nearly a year into a world-wide pandemic, we all are looking back at 10 months of halted plans, uncertainty, loss of social connections and hardship for so many in our community. When Common Ground’s new team started up in 2019, we had big plans and grand visions for what 2020 would bring. The unforeseen circumstances however, forced us -like so many others- to refocus and adjust to a “new normal”.
Between endless Zoom meetings from our home offices interspersed with homeschooling our kids and the hum of underlying worrying about the health and financial wellbeing of friends and neighbors, we found a silver lining: our “Common Ground”.
At its core, Common Ground Kauai is a collective of passion-driven thinkers dedicated to growing long-lasting regenerative economic opportunity for today and future generations. With pandemic-based financial challenges deeply permeating Hawaii’s families, we were pushed to think creatively, eventually making the changes required, allowing us here at Common Ground to move toward our real mission.
Through the help of the Kaua’i Government Employees Federal Credit Union and federal CARES ACT funding Common Ground started small business growth support projects, called Accelerator and Incubator. We developed a Meal Kit delivery program which until now has served 6,500 Kaua’i kupuna with healthy, local fresh ingredients bought from local vendors, supporting both as we navigate these months of struggle. We are now able to harvest produce from our newly planted agroforest - a showcase for regenerative agriculture. We launched an online marketplace for Hawai’i products and have supported Malama Kaua’i as they hosted weekly food drives in the community. We sought community connection through an edutaining summer camp for keiki and a fun, socially distanced drive-in movie night.
The Common Ground team has planted the seeds of resilience for our team, our campus and the community around us.
Whilst some of our goals have been postponed, they are still ambitious, and we are very proud as a team to have achieved all of this in a time of much uncertainty. We are envisioning a promising future economy with a focus beyond the tourism base on which our hometowns have comfortably come to rely in recent decades. By forging connections with thinkers, doers and local producers, Common Ground weaves a connecting thread between island-based up-and-coming business owners, farmers, chefs, and creatives, who were previously sprinkled throughout our community.