KALIHIWAI — Naoshi Kaiuiokalani Grady has been farming ‘awa on Kauai for nearly 20 years, and now he wants to help his fellow farmers and ranchers grow their own businesses.
By doing that, he hopes to strengthen Kauai’s local product market while fortifying the island’s agricultural industry.
“I’m very excited and eager to help farmers and ranchers and also to help develop locally produced, value-added products to stimulate the economy,” Grady said.
Beginning in February, Grady will be sharing educational resources, doing one-on-one business consulting, and offering general technical assistance through Malama Kauai’s new Mahi’ai Technical Assistance Program.
Aimed at minority farmers and ranchers on Kauai, the program’s goal is to offer capacity-building operational support.
Individualized referrals and support will be combined with a free monthly workshop series.
Once the program has been concluded, the hope is participants will have further developed skills and knowledge necessary to increase production and revenue generating opportunities on farms and ranches, according to Malama Kauai’s executive director, Megan Fox.
The first Mahi’ai Technical Assistance Program workshop is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 5 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Malama Kauai Community Farm on Kahiliholo Road in Kalihiwai.
Grady will kick off the workshop by speaking about the pilot program and giving an overview of the workshops.
Pomai Weigert with GoFarm Hawaii Ag Business Program will be available to talk about the free consulting program, which helps people in agriculture start a business or improve their bottom line.
Finishing up the Monday workshop is John Latkiewicz, who will be speaking at 5 p.m. about farm business plans and financials. Latkiewicz will provide business plan and financial templates, and talk story about business plan crafting and grant and loan applications.
Light refreshments featuring local products will be provided.
Future workshops include technical and business topics, including cooperative development, livestock management, and grant and loan programs.
“There are a lot of government programs and grants available to farmers, but most of us don’t know about them,” Grady said. “My goal is to be a middle-man to ensure that everyone is aware of, and can gain equal access to, these resources.”
The Mahi’ai Technical Assistance Program is a pilot project and has enough money to run through August, thanks to the help of the County of Kauai’s Office of Economic Development and G.N. Wilcox Trust. Both companies supplied $10,000 each toward the program.
“By helping to serve the underserved minority community of farmers and ranchers, we can create a sustainable and abundant Kauai agricultural economy,” Grady said.
More information: Contact Naoshi Grady at 828-0685 ext. 15.