Author Archives: Ana Currie Ramirez

Kitchen Groundbreaking December 19, 2018!


Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School will host a groundbreaking ceremony to launch the construction of the new West Hawaii Community Kitchen at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 19th. The project is a joint collaboration between Friends and Kona Pacific Public Charter School, which is located on the same 38-acre parcel of land where the new kitchen will be built. The ceremony will be officiated by Kumu Keala Ching, who also serves as a Friends board member.

Friends is a nonprofit corporation, founded in 2006 as an affiliated support organization for Kona Pacific Public Charter School (Kona Pacific). Together, Friends and Kona Pacific have created economic and social development for our community via a number of educational, agricultural and Hawaiian cultural initiatives that generate 40 full time and 25 part time jobs and an operational budget that adds more than $2 million annually to our local economy.

With an expected completion date of May 2019, the new 3,000 sq. ft. community kitchen is comprised of two separate kitchens, one of which will house Kona Pacific’s community foodservice that serves the students of Kona Pacific and other schools, as well as providing critical nutritional support for hundreds of at-risk children and elders. The second kitchen will be used by local farmers for value-added processing, the first such facility to serve West Hawaii’s agricultural community.

The construction of the new $1.9 million facility is funded by two Hawaii legislative CIP grants-in-aid (2015 & 2018), grants from private foundations and state agencies, and an internal capital campaign.

Kona Pacific Public Charter School is widely recognized as a leader in nutrition programs in Hawaii and the school has received numerous awards for its various nutrition programs. The school’s WHOLE Foodservice also developed Hawaii’s first-ever mobile summer lunch program, which has provided more than 30,000 lunches to West Hawaii children at risk for hunger since the program’s launch in 2015.

The design of the value-added processing kitchen for local farmers was based on a series of scoping meetings with the West Hawaii agricultural community and will be furnished with kitchen equipment selected to optimize the effectiveness of the kitchen for the use of West Hawaii farmers and the produce they grow.

West Hawai‘i Community Kitchen Update

We are now in the final stages of the permitting process for West Hawaii’s first community kitchen!

The West Hawaii Community Kitchen will house a community foodservice that provides essential nutritional support to hundreds of at-risk children and elders, as well as a separate kitchen for value-added processing by local farmers for increasing the value of their agricultural production.

The architectural and engineering processes are complete, planning department approval received, and building permits are expected in September 2018. The project bidding process is complete, a contractor, Tinguely Development, has been selected, and we are ready to go as soon as the building permits have been issued.

Stay tuned for further updates!


BID PACKAGE for Phase IIb Campus Construction

Aloha Contractors!

Thank you for your interest in bidding on our Phase IIb Campus Construction Project. Contractors can bid on the Community Kitchen project, the Building G project, or both.

Please download all four pdf files – mahalo!

Main Bid Package

A101-2007 Owner-Contractor Agreement

A201-2007 General Conditions of the Contract for Construction

A312-2010 Performance Payment Bond

West Hawaii Community Kitchen Planning Survey Report

In April 2015, Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School (Friends) received a Grant in Aid for the construction of a community kitchen that will house the school’s foodservice program and will also be available to local farmers and producers for value-added processing.

In October 2015, Friends launched a comprehensive community planning process in order to engage community stakeholders in meaningful opportunities to provide input regarding the value-added production kitchen design, equipment, location & operation. Friends
recognizes that it is essential that we receive input from our community in order to make well- informed design and planning decisions that meet the value-added processing needs of our community and local farmers.

In February 2016, the data gathered through the community planning process will be submitted to Kapiolani Community College. KCC will then use that data to generate preliminary kitchen design documents.

To read the full report: W.H.Community Kitchen-Report-FINAL


Hawai‘i Island AmeriCorps Program Serves Schools, Local Farmers

The Big Island’s AmeriCorps program, Farm Corps Hawai‘i, is operated by Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua. The program’s goal is to increase food security in West Hawaii, and mobilizes sixteen AmeriCorps Members to provide services to several developing farm and school garden sites in Kona.


Currently, members are serving at local schools, Konawaena High School, Ke Kula o Ehunuikaimalino and Kona Pacific Public Charter School. The team of FarmCorps Hawai‘i members also help provide the critically needed expertise and manpower to increase the rate of existing farm development in West Hawai‘i by assisting farmers at UpCountry Farm and Nursery, Ua Nahele Mahiai, Honaunau Farm and Friends’ Kanaueue Learning Center production farm, which provides produce for Kona Pacific’s WHOLE Foodservice supplying daily meals to more than 650 of our community’s most vulnerable citizens, particularly children and elders.

SY15 16 G3 Carrot Harvest

FarmCorps Hawai‘i is also an immersive experience that leaves members with a deeper understanding of sustainable agriculture, a foundation of entrepreneurial skills, and practical knowledge to plan for and start their own farming operation. Members, while serving their community, also receive ongoing training and professional certifications, and learn in-depth skills from mentor farmers.

“FarmCorps Hawai‘i is helping establish change locally and providing opportunities for growing food and educating young farmers that is essential for the future success of our food resources.  There is nothing more powerful than eating food grown in your own backyard,” says Shannon Ramirez, FarmCorps Hawaii program director and alumni AmeriCorps member.

FarmCorps Hawai‘i is an AmeriCorps program funded by the Hawaii Commission for National and Community Service (HCNCS) and other donors.  The mission of HCNCS is to support and nurture the development of a firm, lifelong commitment to serve Hawaii’s people by engaging adults in intensive community service work with the goal of meeting critical community needs. AmeriCorps programs do more than move communities forward; they also serve their members by creating jobs and providing pathways to opportunity for young people entering the workforce. AmeriCorps places thousands of young adults into intensive service positions where they learn valuable work skills, earn money for education, and develop an appreciation for citizenship.

FarmCorps Hawai‘i, in its second year of operation, has plans for expansion in 2016–17 so that more school gardens and local farms can receive assistance. In 2017, the FarmCorps Hawaii program will also be integrated with Friends’ West Hawaii Community Kitchen, to assist local farmers in the use of the new kitchen’s value-added processing facilities.

The community kitchen was funded with a $1.2 million grant-in-aid from the Hawaii State Legislature, and will be built on Friend’s 40-acre learning center above Kona Community Hospital in Kealakekua. Along with the value-added processing program for local farmers, the kitchen will also house the WHOLE Food Service operations.

Friends is a nonprofit corporation, founded in 2006 as an affiliated support organization for Kona Pacific Public Charter School (Kona Pacific). Together, Friends and Kona Pacific have created critically needed economic and social development for our community via a number of educational, agricultural and Hawaiian cultural initiatives that generate 40 full time and 25 part time jobs and an operational budget that adds more than $2 million annually to our local economy.


Kona Pacific Community Kitchen Planning Survey

We are excited to launch our site, building, equipment, and program design process for the Kona Pacific Community Kitchen!

We need your input in order to create a kitchen that meets the needs of our community and local farmers.

Here are the links to the surveys that will help us ensure that the design of the new community kitchen meets the need of our community and local farmers:

Welina mai!

In 2006, a group of parents, teachers and community leaders joined together to create a non-traditional public charter school in West Hawai‘i. Motivated by a desire to provide an innovative educational program to our rural, underserved community, the group founded Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School.

Friends’ 40-acre learning center site is located mauka (above) the Kona Community Hospital in Kealakekua. The Kona Pacific Public Charter School’s 2.5-acre campus is located here, along with an organic farm and several teacher and school staff residences.Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 5.55.05 PM

Friends works in support of Kona Pacific School, but the two entities are independent of each other. Friends is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and Kona Pacific is a public charter school, and therefore a sub-agency of the State of Hawai‘i. Together, the two organizations pursue parallel missions of service to the West Hawai‘i community.

Friends’ strategic plan leverages our 40-acre property, the Kanaueue Learning Center, to develop community-based educational initiatives that provide numerous educational benefits to the students of Kona Pacific and other schools, and a diverse range of economic and social benefits to our rural, underserved community. Together, Friends and Kona Pacific successfully:

  • Operate the WHOLE Food Service, West Hawaii’s only federally approved food service vendor, providing universal breakfast and lunch to 230 Kona Pacific students, 68% of whom qualify for free or reduced price meals.
  • Feed an additional 400 at-risk West Hawai’i residents from age 9 months to 93 years old, with community partners Head Start, Early Head Start, Meals on Wheels, Hawai‘i County Parks and Recreation, and Punana Leo o Kona preschool.
  • Serve as a model school for the national Fresh Fruits and Vegetable program.
  • Pioneer universal breakfast in the classroom. Kona Pacific is the first school in Hawai‘i where all students eat a nutritious breakfast for free at the start of the school day.
  • Implement a highly successful AmeriCorps program, with seven AmeriCorps volunteers providing labor for farm development while receiving valuable training.
  • Partner with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in the development of the first commercial “food forest park” in West Hawai‘i.
  • Strengthen charter schools locally and nationally through leadership on the Hawai’i Public Charter Schools Network board, Hawai’i State Charter School Commission, and Alliance for Public Waldorf Education.
  • Create critically needed economic development for our community: 40 full time and 25 part time jobs and an operational budget that adds more than $2 million annually to our local economy.

For more information about Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School and our community projects and initiatives, email