Agroforestry and Regenerative Agriculture

Agroforestry and regenerative agricultural practices are viable methods to rebuild the soil, increase organic matter, restore biodiversity, and increase native habitat. In Hawaii, converting former sugar plantation lands, much of which is now either fallow land, underutilized, or currently being used for non-agricultural and non-sustainable uses can be converted into agroforests, incorporating native species, and restoring ecosystems that will sequester carbon both in the soil and forest canopy, while growing food and creating rural economic development.


A few agroforestry and regenerative practices and their benefits include:


1.      No-till/minimum tillage: Using agroforestry and perennial crops will eliminate annual or seasonal tillage of the soil. This practice will allow organic matter to build up in the soil.


2.      Cover crops and compost: Incorporating cover crops and compost will increase soil fertility.


3.      Increasing biodiversity: Planting multiple species, including cover crops, windbreaks, and orchard crops to increase the biodiversity. Incorporating native species will increase native habitat.


4.      Carbon sequestration: Through tree crops and building organic matter in the soil, carbon will be captured in the soil canopy and soil to help mitigate the impacts of climate change.


Kalona Brand Company is establishing a 222-acre agroforest above Haleiwa, on the North Shore of Oahu, in the ahupuaa of Kawailoa, in the moku of Waialua. Through implementing these and other practices, we hope to restore the ecosystem and create a model to help revitalize agriculture in Hawaii and our transition from over 100 years of large-scale, monocrop, industrial agriculture into a model of smaller scale, diversified, sustainable systems.  

Kalona Brand Company is Hiring Farm Crew Leaders

Farm Crew Leader Position


Kalona Brand Company is a vertically integrated, regenerative ag and food company focusing on cacao, ulu, and avocado crops on the North Shore of Oahu, and is seeking Farm Crew Leaders to assist the Farm Manger in the management of the day-to-day operations of the farm including soil preparation, weed management, irrigation management, planting, pruning, harvesting, and post-harvest processing.

Job Summary:

·        Crew Leader is responsible for assisting the Farm Manager with all aspects of the farm management and leading a crew in daily farm management and operations including soil preparation, weed management, irrigation management, planting, pruning, harvesting, and post-harvest processing.


Planning & Development:

·        Crew Leader optimizes day-to-day operations and adjusts as needed.

·        Crew Leader carries out the development and execution of the proposed farm plan. With limited guidance from the Farm Manager helps to manage crew members, contractors, and other activities.

·        Assists the Farm Manager in the development and implementation of the overall farm plan


Financial Management & Reporting:

·        As necessary, assists the Farm Manager in updates to, and reports on, progress of the project.

·        Helps to oversee and manages relationship with assigned partners, contractors, and other team members and reports on activities.


Project Management & Operations:

·        Develops and implements day-to-day operations including hiring farm team and general staff oversight, crop and harvest management, processing and value add production, crop storage and shipment, and equipment purchases/leases and maintenance.

·        Crew Leader is responsible for working collaboratively with a variety of internal and external partners. May prepare and manage Requests for Proposal (RFP’s) for consultants, contractors and suppliers.

·        Directly supports the Farm Manager to ensure timely execution of the project.

·        Develops and maintains project plans and tracking reports.

Partnership & Community Relations:

·        Assists with community relations efforts in the region.

·        May attend community meetings and assist with presentations to groups including neighborhood boards, public officials and business associations.


Education & Experience Required:

·        High School Diploma or GED

·        Associates and Bachelor’s degree preferred

·        3-5 years of related farm management experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.

·        Operating experience in tropical and other growing climates, including experience in on-farm water, soil, pest and diseases management.


Minimum Knowledge, Skills & Abilities Required:

·        Demonstrated farm management skills

·        Effective at leveraging relationships (internal and external) to break down barriers, share information and promote effective teamwork.

·        Knowledge of Hawaii and working knowledge of practical farm operations such as: planting, irrigation, fertilizing, and harvesting of crops.

·        Work history in the agriculture industry and general mechanical skills are preferred.

·        Excellent interpersonal skills, oral communication, and writing.

·        Computer skills and working knowledge of GPS/GIS, Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint.

·        Ability to prioritize and manage multiple projects and assignments.



Please submit cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to Kawika Burgess at

Milo is the Plant, Twisted Together with Love

Restoring Milo to the Landscape of Kawailoa, Oahu

One of the trees which Kalona Brand will be returning to the landscape of Kawailoa is milo (thespesia populnea). Milo means to turn, twirl, twist or spin. The milo is believed to be indigenous to Hawaii and is also one of the species of trees brought to Hawaii by our Polynesian ancestors.  


Milo had a variety of uses including making of cordage from the bark, using the fruit to make dyes for kapa, the trunks and branches for umeke (calabashes) for the storing of food, and flowers for the making of lei.


The milo is referenced in the traditional Hawaiian creation chant, the Kumulipo:


Hanau ka laumilo noho i kai – Born is the laumilo (eel) living in the sea

Kiai ia e ka milo noho i uka – Guarded by the milo (tree) living on land


This refrain identifies a common theme in the Hawaiian worldview and cosmology, that all the elements, animals, trees, and plants are related and interconnected. The species of the sea are guarded by the trees of the land, and together balance and harmony is achieved.


The popularity and importance of the milo is indicated by the number of place names in Hawaii named after the milo including:


Kamilonui (the large milo) and Kamiloiki (the small milo) valleys in Maunalua, Oahu

Kamilo point in Kau, Hawaii Island

Kamiloholu (the swaying milo) in Puna, Hawaii Island

Kamiloloa (the tall milo) in the Kona district of Molokai

Lalamilo (the milo branch) in Kohala, Hawaii Island

Waiakamilo (water of the milo), in Kona, Oahu


The milo is also referenced by the wind of Makaopau in the story of Keawenuiaumi:


He makani hao i ka laumilo ko Makaopau – Makaopau’s wind is one that blows the leaf of the milo


Milo is found in one of our traditional Hawaiian proverbs:


He milo ka laau, mimilo ke aloha. – Milo is the plant, twisted together with love.

This proverb is referring to the milo tree as its flowers, leaves, or seeds were used by kahuna (priests) who practiced hana aloha (prayers to evoke love).


We are excited to be restoring this traditional tree to Kawailoa as we rebuild the forest incorporating native and traditional species, increase biodiversity, add organic matter to the soil, and recreate a model of agricultural abundance for Hawaii and beyond.

New Sustainable Agricultural Venture to Launch on Oahu’s North Shore

HONOLULU – April 30, 2019 – Kalona Brand Company, LLC (“Kalona”) announced today that it has launched a new vertically integrated sustainable agricultural venture on Oahu’s North Shore focusing on growing cacao, ʻulu, and avocado to create value added food products including premium Hawaiian chocolate bars for both local and off-island markets. The 222-acre farm is designed to produce measurable environmental and community benefits. The company also plans to establish a 20-acre local foods component which will provide fruits and vegetables to Hawaii’s local schools and communities.


The founders of the company include Hoʻoulu Mahiʻai LLC, an affiliate of Kamehameha Schools, Equilibrium Capital Group, and Greenleaf Farm Management.


Founder of Greenleaf Farm Management, and one of the company’s Board of Managers is Eric Pond, a 21-year veteran of agricultural industry who has developed and managed over 6,000-acres of permanent croplands. Pond has been involved in the project since its inception and stated, “We have been laying the groundwork for this venture for over four years now and I’m very excited that we are now moving forward with this regenerative farm concept to improve the soil, restore the forest, and create sustainably grown food and value-added agricultural products for the community.”


Kalona has secured a lease from Kamehameha Schools to establish the farm in Kawailoa above Haleiwa Town.  The company will be planting permanent tree crops and native windbreaks which will restore the forest canopy and rebuild the soil on land had previously been used for corn and sugar cane.


Kawika Burgess has been hired as the Chief Executive Officer overseeing the company’s operations. “We’re seeking to create sustainable abundance as our namesake Kalona Iki created generations ago, through regenerative agriculture and the development of a uniquely Hawaiian brand of food products,” said Burgess.


About Kalona Brand LLC: Kalona Brand, LLC is a vertically integrated, sustainable farm, focusing on cacao, ulu, and avocado crops. Kalona seeks to regenerate agriculture in Hawaiʻi by developing sustainable farm operations and food systems. We strive for sustainable food systems that provide long term financial viability, actively engage and strengthen communities, steward the ‘āina with environmentally sound land use practices, and competitiveness in a global economy.