About the Entrepreneur
Christian Zuckerman sees a world in every pound of produce. Because while Kahumana Food Hub and Organic Farms in Waianae’s Lualualei Valley is definitely product-based—after all it’s their baby greens, dill, chard, carrots, and more that fill CSA farm boxes distributed across Oahu—they’re really a community helping to create a better community. Since 1978, they’ve served the Waianae area through social ventures supporting youth, homeless families, and people with disabilities on five distinct campuses across their 50 acres.
As a farm, Kahumana’s goal is to grow as much food as possible, in the most sustainable way possible. As a food hub, they help increase agricultural production and provide farmers and backyard growers a place to sell produce for more than traditional grocery stores. As a nonprofit, they strive for positive impacts that are not only financial but also social and environmental, believing that healthy people are the heart of healthy communities.
More with Christian
What is your favorite item that Kahumana grows?
My favorite thing we grow at Kahumana are our carrots. Our carrots are so much sweeter and have so much more flavor than any other carrot you’re going to buy in the store. You can’t beat it.
How has Kahumana’s business grown in the past few years?
Before the pandemic, we were primarily focused on supplying restaurants. And then we saw this huge shift in our model because the restaurants closed overnight and we had $100,000 of produce in the ground with no home to go to. This allowed us to pivot and be much more focused on selling direct to consumers, providing produce boxes that we send out weekly all over the island. We partner with many organizations, including the Hawaii Food Bank and Oahu Fresh Farmland, to connect people to our produce–not just from our farm but also from our food hub. We work with over 100 different farmers on Oahu.
What do you value most about Hawaii National Bank?
Knowing that Hawaii National is also a family-run business is really important because it creates that closer connection and understanding. Especially in Hawaii, that's what we're looking for. It's all about family and ‘ohana.
What still surprises you about having Hawaii National Bank on your side?
I think something that would really surprise people about working with Hawaii National Bank is that they're very cooperative and want to help us. So if we need someone, they will actually come out and drive to Waianae and help us, whether it's collecting payments or just coming to personally consult on a question we have. And they also put on a great Chinese New Year party.
What are you excited about for the future of Kahumana?
I think one of the things that we're excited about is this past spring we were able to close on an agricultural conservation easement working with the Hawaii Land Trust, where we put our 24-acre farm into permanent agriculture for perpetuity. It can never be subdivided, it can never be used for anything else but growing local food. Having this easement has also allowed us to purchase an additional eight acres behind our property to sort of expand our operation going into the future.
“Knowing that Hawaii National is also a family run business is really important because it creates that closer connection and understanding.”