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Kanu o ka Aina Learning Ohana Receives Architectural Award

Kanu o ka Aina Learning Ohana (KALO) in Waimea has won the 2013 Jack C. Lipman AIA (American Institute of Architects) Members’ Choice Award.

Kanu o ka Aina

The award was established in 1999 in honor of Jack C. Lipman, AIA, one of the Hawai‘i Chapter’s distinguished past presidents. According to AIA Honolulu, the recipient of this award is recognized as having achieved an outstanding level of design—appropriate to the climate and culture of Hawai‘i, as voted by fellow AIA Honolulu members.

“Having won an award for phase I of Kauhale Oiwi o Puukapu and now also for phase II validates so much of what we are about, what we are accomplishing, and the positive direction that we are headed,” said Taffi Wise, Executive Director, Kanu o ka Aina Learning Ohana. “So many key people were involved along the way. In particular, Ken Melrose of Paahana Enterprises and Katie Benioni, KALO’s Kauhale Project coordinator, were two individuals who helped us successfully complete both the first and second phases of our project build.”

KALO Building

KALO hired nationally recognized Flansburgh Architects to assist in master planning a new central campus. The Boston-based architectural firm specializes in the design of academic projects, having completed more than 250 educational facilities across the U.S. and abroad.

In September 2012 the 9,100 square-foot Halau Pokii, home to preschool classrooms through grade 5, and the 6,200 square-foot Halau Puke, a native library for school and community use, opened their doors. Retired U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka was among dignitaries attending the celebration. The buildings occupy a site on Department of Hawaiian Homes Land and are part of the non-profit organization Kanu o ka Aina Learning Ohana’s womb-to-tomb community based initiatives to support culture based education and the community.

In 2010 KALO was officially awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for their phase one facility, the 9,300 square foot green building called Halau Hoolako, which also serves as a community resource and technology center.

The Kauhale Oiwi o Puukapu learning destination is organized around a piko, or central space in Hawaiian. It is around this large outdoor space that locations for present and future building phases are organized. Considerations for sun, wind, view, rituals, community and appropriate student spaces have been essential to each design phase.

The resulting designs are wedge-shaped, modular buildings that are repeatable, passively ventilated, wind-blocking structures capable of multiple configurations. When strung together, these modules appear curvilinear in nature and maximize viewpoints northwest to the Kohala Mountains and southeast to Mauna Kea. They are cost effective, energy efficient and embrace the beauty of Waimea.

The buildings reflect the value-based pedagogy of aloha, and are designed to celebrate life-long learning as the piko for the community, providing spaces for a culturally-driven educational curriculum for those of all ages.

“KALO remains humbly thankful for all the community and partner support, specifically DHHL, OHA, Kamehameha Schools, USDA Rural Development, Castle Foundation, and the USDOE,” said Wise.

To learn more, visit KALO.org.

About Kanu o Ka Aina Learning Ohana

Kanu O Ka Aina Learning Ohana (KALO) is a nonprofit educational organization based in Waimea that assists statewide with Hawaiian-focus education. Incorporated in 2000 as a Native Hawaiian nonprofit, KALO and its partners are working to establish an autonomous, holistic education environment for the children of Hawai‘i: grounding every child and adult in the values that have shaped and empowered Hawaiians for generations, involving every member of the community in determining his/her education path and preparing every child of Hawai‘i to thrive in the modern world, free from oppression and with pride for our heritage. Serving and perpetuating sustainable Hawaiian communities through Education with Aloha. Learn more at KALO.org.

Kohala Center Receives $175,000 USDA Rural Development Grant

Chris J. Kanazawa, State Director for USDA Rural Development, announced the selection of the Kohala Center, Inc., to receive a $175,000 grant. The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program.

“Through this Rural Cooperative Grant, USDA Rural Development is enabling the Kohala Center to expand its capacity to support rural cooperatives that help expand businesses, retain or create new jobs and to increase economic growth in the communities throughout our Hawaiian islands,” Kanazawa announced.

The Kohala Center is an independent, not-for-profit, community-based center for research, conservation and education. With this grant funding, the Kohala Center intends to expand the Laulima Center which supports the development of cooperative businesses with technical assistance throughout the state of Hawaii. Funding is projecting to assist 30 distinct groups, 20 existing businesses, 8 existing cooperatives, and 5 new cooperative entities.

“Given The Kohala Center’s work in strengthening Hawaii’s local economy and given the demand for business and coop development services, especially on the part of small food producers, processors and distributors, we are delighted by the USDA’s support”, said Matt Hamabata, The Kohala Center’s Executive Director. “This continuing partnership will bring Hawai’i closer to reaching our ultimate goal of a vibrant and resilient economy.”

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

USDA Approves Value-Added Producer Grants to Five Hawaii Agribusinesses

The USDA approved value-added producer grants to five Hawaii agribusinesses.

They are:

News Release:

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced that USDA has selected 298 recipients in 44 states and Puerto Rico to receive business development assistance through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. Merrigan made the announcement in Chicago after keynoting the “Local/Regional Food System Conference” hosted at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

“In his State of the Union address last week President Obama was clear that we need to do more to create jobs and promote economic growth. These projects will provide financial returns and help create jobs for agricultural producers, businesses and families across the country,” Merrigan said. “This funding will promote small business expansion and entrepreneurship opportunities by providing local businesses with access capital, technical assistance and new markets for products and services.”

For example, Living Water Farms, Inc. is a three-year-old family company that focuses on the production of hydroponic greens for specialty markets in the Midwest. Located in Strawn, two hours south of Chicago’s Loop, three generations of the Kilgus family are part of a group called Stewards of the Land which was organized to market produce from small farms. The hydroponic complex was developed to supply fresh produce year-round. The current market includes Illinois supermarkets, restaurants in Chicago and St. Louis and a Midwest college food service program. The grant will help them evaluate their brand and expand distribution to other restaurants, specialty retail and institutional outlets.

One of the examples of how an award can make an impact is Agriberry LLC, located near Mechanicsville, Virginia. Agriberry is the dream of Anne and Chuck Geyer whose vision is to establish a consumer supported summer berry farm and become an agricultural training facility for first-time workers. They realized the region’s demand for an assortment of fresh, local, seasonal berries and fruits. With the assistance of a working capital value-added grant, Agriberry has now expanded to over 35 acres of red raspberries, and other fruit. They hire a number of local workers each growing season.

Green Mountain Organic Creamery, LLC in North Ferrisburgh, Vt., will receive a working capital grant to market certified organic, bottled pasteurized milk, butter, ice cream and other dairy products. Owners Cheryl and John DeVos founded the dairy to provide local, organic dairy products to the community and throughout the Northeast. Green Mountain was recognized as the Vermont Dairy of the Year in 2011.

For a complete list of recipients receiving grants please click here. Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.

The Value-Added Producer Grants announced today total more than $40.2 million. Funds may be used for feasibility studies or business plans, working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $155 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.

 

USDA Announces Proposed Rules to Improve the Quality of Life and Foster Economic Opportunity for Tribal Communities

Public is Invited to Submit Comments on the Proposed Rule

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the publication of new proposed rules that will significantly increase access to USDA’s utilities programs and funding opportunities for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders located in Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA).

USDA“I invite tribal leaders, tribal members, interested citizens and stakeholders to provide their comments and views on this important rule.” said Vilsack. “This rule will provide those located in Trust Areas with better access to infrastructure funding to serve tribal communities seeking to build modern utility infrastructure.”

To develop the propose rule, USDA Rural Development conducted numerous in-person consultations with tribal leaders and native communities throughout the United States as well as in trust areas in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. USDA Rural Development also hosted Internet and teleconference-based webinars to solicit further implementation recommendations for the SUTA initiative. Additionally USDA convened several meetings with Federal agencies – the Departments of Interior, Veterans Affairs, Energy, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Communications Commission and the Office of Management and Budget – to determine how best to implement the SUTA provision.

The deadline to make comments on the SUTA proposed rule is on or before December 13, 2011. For more information, please see the October 14, 2011 issue of the Federal Register.

Under the proposed SUTA rule, the Secretary of Agriculture (with delegation to the Administrator for Rural Utilities Service) would be granted the discretionary authority to:

  • Make loans and issue loan guarantees with interest rates as low as two percent and with extended repayment terms;
  • Waive non-duplication restrictions, matching fund requirements, or credit support requirements from any loan or grant program to facilitate construction, acquisition or improvements of infrastructure
  • Give highest priority to designated projects on a Substantially Underserved Trust Area

Under the SUTA initiative a trust area is legislatively defined as any land that: (1) is held in trust by the United States for Native Americans; (2) is subject to restrictions on alienation imposed by the United States on Indian lands (including native Hawaiian homelands); (3) is owned by a Regional Corporation or a Village Corporation, as such terms are defined in section 3(g) and 3(j) of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, respectively (43 U.S.C. 1602(g), (j)); or (4) is on any island in the Pacific Ocean if such land is, by cultural tradition communally-owned land.

The SUTA initiative is authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill. It identifies the need and improves the availability of RUS programs to finance projects in trust areas that have been determined by the Secretary of Agriculture to be substantially underserved. In addition to its discretionary authority to implement the SUTA provisions, RUS must make annual reports to Congress on the progress of the initiative and recommendations for any regulatory or legislative changes appropriate to improve services to Substantially Underserved Trust Areas.

On September 8, President Obama presented the American Jobs Act in an address to Congress. The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. The American Jobs Act is specific. It will put people back to work right now, and it will not add to the deficit. Through a combination of direct spending, such as infrastructure investments, and tax relief, such as an extension of the payroll tax cuts, it will lead to new American jobs.

Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America’s rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining and thriving economically.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. More information about USDA Rural Development can be found at www.rurdev.usda.gov.