(BIVN) – A project that aims to support local agricultural education and build community resilience on Hawaiian Home Lands in Hilo is moving forward, with the publishing of a final environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact.
The Keaukaha Panaʻewa Farmers Association (KPFA) is developing a Resiliency and Agricultural Innovation Hub (RAIH) on Railroad Avenue in Hilo, across the street from Home Depot.
From the executive summary of the Final EA document:
The RAIH will be situated on land that KPFA currently has an ROE for. KPFA is a group formed by Native Hawaiians in Keaukaha who lost their homes in Keaukaha and were forced to relocate from Keaukaha to Pana‘ewa due to the construction of the Hilo International Airport. The organization represents over 1,000 native Hawaiian farmers that reside on Hawaiian Homes Trust Lands and their mission is to support, motivate, and educate area farmers and lessees to establish a viable and sustainable farm community; preserve Hawaiian culture; achieve self-sufficiency, pono management, and respect for ‘āina. In October of 2021, a design charrette was conducted for the area of the RAIH project (Project) to better understand KPFA’s collective vision for the structure. The Project will serve as a community gathering space that will have the capacity to hold a certified kitchen for processing & storing produce and other farm products, and a space for kūpuna care (adult care) complete with accessible bathrooms and facilities. This Project will serve as an agri-educational facility that would use the the built structures to gather, teach and learn about agriculture and how to grow in a polyforest system. Lastly, the Project will serve as a resiliency hub and shelter for community members before, during and after natural disasters. The space and programs that could be offered through the Project could allow for training during natural disaster and emergency events, and the large clearing machinery that will be housed at the Project site will assist in clearing debris from roadways and residences, and could help community members through the recovery process by creating spaces for home gardening and food self-sufficiency.
The plans for the hub were discussed at a recent Hawaiian Homes Commission meeting (video below)