Improving Livelihoods of Farmers in Hawaii by Creating a Honey Marketing Model

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2022: $25,000.00
Projected End Date: 09/01/2023
Host Institution Award ID: G340-22-W8613
Grant Recipient: Bird and Bee Hawaii
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Susan Collins
Bird and Bee Hawaii

Information Products


  • Animals: bees
  • Animal Products: honey


  • Crop Production: beekeeping
  • Education and Training: technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: cooperatives, new enterprise development
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities

    Proposal summary:

    Problem: Most small farmers on the Big Island of Hawaii have low incomes and minimal support resources. They need additional revenue streams to make their farms successful. Can the Hilo/Honokaa area of Hawaii support the marketing efforts of a group of farmers who have been trained at Bird and Bee Hawaii, an on-farm apiary and education center using malama-aina traditional Hawaiian concepts that emphasize balance, reciprocity and sustainability?

    Research: This grant proposes to fund market research into the viability of training a group of farmers, including veterans identified by Ho'ola Farm, in honey marketing procedures and creating a group which will form a marketing model based on identifying the unique attributes of the local honey and using labels and brochures which highlight both the marketing model and the special qualities of the honey.

    Significance: The project could significantly increase the incomes of struggling small farmers, thereby improving the quality of rural life in a poverty-stricken area which has great potential for producing large amounts of high-quality honey. Because the climate in the area is conducive to frequent honey harvesting and hive division, the farmers would have marketable honey in a short time-frame, which would enable them to become more prosperous quickly.

    Dissemination: Brochures highlighting the results of the marketing research and creation of a cooperative marketing model will be disseminated using newsletters, bulk e-mails and local partners such as Ho'ola Farms, Kohala Center and the Hilo Small Business Development Center as well as on farmer forums and other social media.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    • Train 25 beekeepers in business and marketing principles. The beekeepers will be local small farmers and veterans who have already been trained as beekeepers at Ho'ola Farms, a veteran service center and farm.
    • Create a honey marketing research plan.
    • Work together to build a cooperative honey marketing model for farmers and veterans.
    • Create a branded honey for the Honoka'a/Hilo area on the Big Island of Hawaii.
    • Raise 25 farmers and military veterans (35% veterans) out of poverty by increasing farm incomes.
    • Disseminate the results of this research to other farmers and communities using USDA and beekeeper organization newsletters, articles in publications, various types of social media, bulk e-mails, and classes and presentations.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.