De La Mesa Farms is the winner of the 2018 Mahiʻai Scale-Up, an agricultural business plan contest dedicated to increasing local food production to create a sustainable Hawai‘i.
The award – sponsored by Kamehameha Schools in partnership with Go Farm Hawaiʻi, the UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, and Ulupono Initiative – was presented at last night’s Eat Think Drink: Small Farm to Big Farm – Scaling Up event.
Located in Kailua and Waimānalo, De La Mesa produces high-quality microgreens and a diverse selection of produce for local restaurants, wholesale grocers and individuals and their families. The business will receive approximately one acre of ʻāina provided by Kamehameha Schools to expand its growing farm operation.
The Scale-Up concept builds upon the foundation of Mahi‘ai Match-Up, which over the past several years, has awarded five-year agreements to startup farmers that use KS lands and seed money from local organizations to execute the strategies and initiatives presented in their business plans. Through this important program, KS plays a major role in decreasing Hawai‘i’s dependence on imported food and agriculture products.
First-generation farmers Bryan and Natalie Mesa are a new breed of farmers using sustainable technologies, and ecologically-sensitive and organic methods to grow a unique variety of greens and produce. They have been able to diversify their farm by producing and selling a variety of farm to table salsas, cooking and hot sauces at farmers’ markets across Oʻahu with ingredients from their own farm and other local farms.
“We’re excited to expand our operations to the Hawaiʻi Kai area and we’re grateful to Kamehameha Schools for the opportunity,” said owner Bryan Mesa. “Our goal is to provide local, affordable, farm-fresh produce for families and give our communities every chance they can to support local.,” he added.
KS continues to balance its stewardship of approximately 364,000 acres of land to support its educational mission of serving Native Hawaiians and communities across the pae ʻāina.