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3-Year Grant Awarded to Help Beginning Farmers, Ranchers on Big Island

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Hoʻōla Veteran Services, better known as Hoʻōla Farms, has been awarded a three-year grant to support their Beginning Farmer and Rancher Training program on Hawaiʻi Island, which assists veterans and community members interested in becoming agricultural entrepreneurs.

The program features experience-based, one-day “Intro to Grow” workshops as well as more advanced “Groundwork to Grow” four-week courses which cover an array of agricultural topics like value-added production, bees and apiary, greenhouse growing, and agroforestry.

Groundwork to Grow cohorts will visit various local businesses like the Hilo Food Hub, operational farms and ranches, and wholesale markets, and will get to talk story with experts and guest speakers from government agencies and educational institutions who will offer their valuable insight and provide additional resources to support participants’ goals.

Hoʻōla’s inaugural “Groundwork” program, beginning Feb. 1 and continuing through the 26th, will focus on value-added production, which covers products that are prepared or processed, packaged or bottled, labeled, and marketed to a wide consumer base.

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Participants will learn about how to produce things like jams, jellies, butters, cremes, soaps, lotions, roasted coffees, dried teas, baked goods, and honey bee products from local business owners and farmers, and work toward planning their own value-added agriculture business.

Instruction will include four virtual classroom sessions on Tuesdays between 5:30-7 p.m. as well as field days on Saturdays between 8:30-11:30 a.m. Registration is now open and interested veterans and community members are encouraged to apply at https://www.hoolafarms.org/program/beginning-farmer-training/.

Scholarships are available for military veterans and other eligible participants. Those who are interested or who would like additional information can visit www.hoolafarms.org or contact [email protected]

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