The Hawai‘i experience is heavily reliant on its unique food culture, one developed over generations by the indigenous Hawaiians and the many ethnic groups that settled in Hawai‘i. The food in Hawai‘i is influenced not only by this blending of cultures but also its special food crops.
The Taira family has grown King’s Hawaiian from a small bakery to a national brand. While traveling around the world for business, they were struck by the fact that people associated Hawai‘i with family, beaches, and vacations, but no one seemed to associate Hawai‘i with its unique and special food.
The realization that so many people were not aware of Hawaiian foods gave rise to an idea…
What if we could help Hawaiʻi to be and to be known as the global leader in culinary arts and innovative agriculture?
Excited that this was an opportunity to give back to Hawai‘i, the Taira family and its representatives began meeting with business, community, and education leaders in the state to explore the idea in September 2014. They have met with more than 300 people who expressed enthusiasm for the concept and encouraged them to bring it to life. Additionally, many of these leaders built upon the original idea of an educational center, and the concept grew to become a vision of a campus that creates a complete food and agriculture innovation cluster in Hawai‘i.
Hui Na Mea Ai Hawai‘i, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, was created to implement this vision.