Island of Hawaii Week: Aloha Grown

KHON2’s Wake Up 2day and Living808 present a special series from the Island of Hawaii. Trini Kaopuiki went exploring and found the joys of a staycation on Hawaii’s largest island.

Hilo’s Aloha Grown is a one-stop shop where visitors and local can find a wide variety of unique, locally grown and locally made products. Over the years, Aloha Grown has developed a strong network of local businesses, farmers, producers, and service organizations. The Aloha Grown website features unique community stories from volunteer groups alongside an online catalog of lotions, cookies, coffees and jellies from local business and the company’s own Aloha Grown-branded merchandise.

For owner Randy Kurohara, Aloha Grown is not just a business. It’s a movement.

“Back in 2010, I was aware of a situation where our island was looking for the next generation of farmers, family farms,” he said. “Their children were moving away and it kind of motivated me to think what can we do to inspire the next generation.”

Kurohara’s desire to make a difference in the environmental, economic, and social sustainability of Hawaii is reflected in the company’s mission: “Support Local. Sustain the Aina. Share the Aloha.” In keeping with that, two percent of every Aloha Grown sale goes to its Malama Honua fund, which gives awards to local non-profits, schools and organizations that embody their philosophy.

Over the years, the Malama Honua fund has helped kick start a variety of local initiatives that have helped improve the community. These include youth projects focusing on food production, aquaponics, gardening, and environmental sustainability. Aloha Grown believes that inspiring the next generation of farmers and ranchers is important in order to keep Hawaii Island’s agricultural industry and economy vibrant.

The store’s eclectic mix of merchandise, ranging from food to fashion, is a reflection of its collaborative non-traditional approach to creating social change. Kurohara encourages everyone to join the “Backyard Revolution” and come together to make a difference.

Aloha Grown is located at 224 Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo.

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