North Shore Farmers Win Agricultural Business Plan Contest

Counter Culture Foods owners Jay Bost and Rob Barreca. Photo from Kamehameha Schools.

Counter Culture Foods owners Jay Bost and Rob Barreca. Photo from Kamehameha Schools.


Kamehameha Schools Communications Specialist

A North Shore farm has won $15,000 and rent-free use of a five-acre parcel of land on the North Shore after taking second place in the 2015 Mahi‘ai Match-Up Agricultural Business Plan Contest sponsored by Kamehameha Schools and the Pauahi Foundation.

Counter Culture Foods is a seed-to-countertop fermented foods producer that will offer raw, probiotic kimchi and tempeh as its primary products.

Mala Kalu‘ulu Inc. won the $25,000 first prize and will have access to 3.7 acres of farmland in South Kona.

“The contest focuses on increasing food production for the local market by finding innovative farmers and providing them with the tools they need to succeed,” said Pauahi Foundation executive director Keawe Liu. “It has developed into a creative and exciting new venue to encourage farmers to develop their ideas and submit a plan to help with Hawaii’s food-security issues.”

The awards were revealed at a Feb. 28 fundraiser at Dole Cannery. Proceeds from the event will fund agricultural scholarships and grants to help cultivate a new generation of local farmers.

Four semi-finalists presented their business plans before a panel of judges who selected the two winners.

“The opportunity attracted many talented local farmers,” said Liu. “Mahalo to this year’s applicants for their passion and commitment to moving Hawaii one step closer to sustainability. We are thrilled to welcome the winning teams to our ohana.”

Judges included Kamehameha Schools CEO Jack Wong, Ulupono Initiative managing partner Murray Clay, American Savings Bank executive vice president of marketing and business development Tab Bowers, MA‘O Farms co-founder Gary Maunakea-Forth, and Hui Ku Maoli Ola and Papahana Kuaola founding partner Matt Kapaliku Schirman.