Our ʻOhana Story​

Mahalo for visiting Hoʻōla Farms!

Our ʻOhana Story​

Hoʻōla Farms ʻOhana Story​

Healing through gardening inspired Emily and John to start Hoʻōla Veteran Services 501(c)(3), d.b.a. Hoʻōla Farms in 2015. Their mission was to provide healing opportunities to other Veterans and family members navigating PTSD and related conditions.

Their journey started with the Victory Gardens for Veterans program, delivering free garden beds and plant starts to the homes of Veterans, caregivers, and family members. Not long after, Hoʻōla Farms was awarded the USDA Grant: (NIFA) Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans (AGVETS) Grant, launching the Growing Veterans program. This initiative involved sponsoring and mentoring Veterans enrolled in the GoFarm AgExcel 6-Month course focused on commercial farming.

Seeing the impact of these programs, Emily and John recognized the community’s need for more agribusiness opportunities. In 2021, Hoʻōla Farms received their second USDA Grant (NIFA), leading to the creation of Groundwork to Grow, a series of four-week exposure-based courses covering various agribusiness topics. Additionally, they introduced the Hawai’i Farm-to-Car program, an online farmers market connecting small Hawai’i farmers and producers directly with customers.

By 2022, Hoʻōla Farms had taken over operations of the Hilo Food Hub, providing an affordable commercial kitchen space for rent, and fostering the growth of small agribusinesses.

Over time, the programs at Hoʻōla Farms naturally evolved to support, promote, educate, and advocate for Veterans, caregivers, and the community within agriculture. Their overarching goal remains steadfast: to contribute to sustainable agriculture, community empowerment, and economic growth in Hawaiʻi.

Interested in our programs? Hoʻōla Farms works with the community to strengthen our local food system by providing beginner farmer education, commercial kitchen access, and a convenient online farmers market. Learn more