Nearly 70 percent of Hawaiʻi’s coffee is grown on land owned by Kamehameha Schools which sponsors the annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival in support of the many small coffee farmers operating on its lands. Those farmers include Alaina deHavilland of Wailele Estates Kona Coffee.
Coffee and education are more connected than one might think.
In Hawai‘i, nearly 70 percent of all coffee is grown on lands owned by the state’s largest school system, Kamehameha Schools, which sponsors the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival every year in support of the many small coffee farmers operating on its lands.
This year’s coffee festival will take place from November 6 through 15. The popular KS-sponsored Cupping Competition will take place at Keauhou Shopping Center on November 11 and 12. Professional cupping judges from all over the world will conduct tastings from over 50 Kona coffee farms and will select their top finalists.
“Every year, we look forward to supporting the festival, which promotes Hawai‘i’s coffee industry and the dozens of small farming operations on Kamehameha’s lands,” says Jamee Miller, Kamehameha’s West Hawai‘i Region director of education initiatives. “When their farms are healthy, our lands are healthy, and it enables our educational mission and the economy to thrive.”
In 1887, the private educational trust was founded and endowed by the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, great-granddaughter of Kamehameha I. Pauahi believed education was the key to restoring and strengthening her people, so she left her estate – roughly nine percent of Hawai‘i’s total acreage – to found Kamehameha Schools.
Approximately 90 percent of her lands are on Hawai‘i Island, half of which are located in the Kona district, where KS plans to transform a former resort-oriented property to be education-centric, at a site known as Kahalu‘u Ma Kai.
“At Kahalu‘u Ma Kai, we are looking forward to restoring the cultural landscape of the area back to what it once was, a place of intellectual exchanges connected to land and culture,” says Miller. “This is just one example that conveys how Kamehameha Schools is now thinking about how some of its properties may be better used to support and create educational opportunities for Hawai‘i.”
Revenue generated by KS land supports the education of over 48,000 learners including 3,000 public school literacy students, 3,700 public charter school students, and 6,400 preschool and college scholarship recipients.
Kamehameha also collaborates with more than 100 community organizations statewide in support of Hawaiian-focused education to learners of all ages.