Investing in Transformation

HIR Invests in Farm Link Hawaiʻi


“Investing in FLH’s growth as a food hub increases the market and revenue generation for the hundreds of local producers they source from,” says Hawaiʻi Investment Ready CEO Keoni Lee, “this kind of catalytic investment is part of our larger strategy to strengthen Hawaiʻi’s food system.”

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FLH Press Release:

Farm Link Hawaiʻi, the state’s premier online local food marketplace and delivery service, is pleased to announce $2 million in investments, enabling the creation of two key positions and a whole-animal local meat program. Since its founding in 2015, the 100% local product aggregator has grown partnerships with hundreds of Hawaiʻi producers and reached $1 million/year in local purchases. Throughout the pandemic, Farm Link Hawaiʻi (FLH) has helped producers retain market outlets and empowered customers to support the local economy while shopping safely and conveniently.

In Q4 2021, FLH received $2 million in investments to further expand its capacity to serve the local community. Kamehameha Schools (KS) invested $892,000 in FLH as one of the first investments in its new $10 million Food Systems Fund portfolio. Hawaiʻi Investment Ready, an impact investing intermediary, contributed a $200,000 bridge loan. FLH also received substantial grant funding, including a $750,000 commitment through the USDA Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP), and a $150,000 grant from a Hawaiʻi-based family foundation.

“Kamehameha Schools Food Systems Fund looks to invest in compelling businesses – and their leaders – who will accelerate the revitalization and diversification of food systems, including our own KS portfolio of ‘āina and tenants,”  KS Community and ‘Ᾱina Resiliency Vice President Kā‘eo Duarte said. “Creation of this fund enables KS to more directly invest in enterprises, like Farm Link Hawai‘i, that aim to provide healthy and accessible food to feed Hawaiʻi and beyond as part of a resilient economy with new jobs and career pathways. We congratulate Farm Link Hawai‘i CEO Claire Sullivan, founder Rob Barreca, and the rest of the FLH team on these important milestones that will benefit not only Native Hawaiians but all of Hawai‘i.”

“Investing in FLH’s growth as a food hub increases the market and revenue generation for the hundreds of local producers they source from,” says Hawaiʻi Investment Ready CEO Keoni Lee, “this kind of catalytic investment is part of our larger strategy to strengthen Hawaiʻi’s food system.” 

“These partnerships and the related investments have enabled Farm Link to make strategic internal investments that further our mission of driving positive systemic change in Hawaiʻi’s local food system,” said Claire Sullivan, Farm Link Hawaiʻi CEO. “We are thrilled to be starting the new year with several critical additions to the team, as well as an expansion of our local offerings that will both delight our customers and make a meaningful impact on the local producer community.”

Dabney Gough has been hired as the company’s first Director of Marketing. Gough has devoted her career to elevating messaging for mission-driven organizations, particularly those in the good food space. She has held marketing leadership positions at Whole Foods Market, San Francisco’s Bi-Rite Market, and Hawaiʻi Public Radio, among others. She holds a culinary degree from the California Culinary Academy, an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, and an MBA from Hawaiʻi Pacific University. 

In addition to increasing FLH brand awareness and driving sales, the Director of Marketing will strengthen and reinforce the connections between local producers and consumers, and develop community partnerships that further the company’s mission and vision. She will also support the company’s goal of eliminating food deserts through equitable access to quality local food (FLH recently began offering free home delivery to SNAP/EBT customers). 

Bob McGee has joined the team in the newly created role of Meat Provisioner. McGee has been a chef, a butcher, and charcutier committed to supporting local food systems since earning his culinary degree at Le Cordon Bleu and honing his meat curing and fabrication skills in Portland, Oregon. In 2011, Bob opened The Whole Ox Butcher & Deli in Kakaʻako, Hawaiʻi’s first local, whole animal, nose to tail, craft butchery. In 2015 he established Pono Pork, through which he worked with Hawaiʻi farmers, ranchers, and herdsmen to provide a consistent supply of naturally raised, antibiotic and added hormone-free Hawaiian pork to the Oʻahu market; he later created Pono Provisions and added lamb, goat, and venison, as well as sausages and cured meats.

The Meat Provisioner role will enable FLH to debut a robust in-house meat program featuring craft butchery and charcuterie made from 100% local meats. Products will be sourced according to FLH’s rigorous quality standards for pasture-raised animals free of antibiotics and added hormones. The program will be founded on whole animal carcass commitments that provide ranchers with a steady, predictable outlet for the entire animal, not just high-demand steaks and restaurant cuts. The Farm Link marketplace will provide full supply chain transparency to customers and offer producers an opportunity to maintain their visibility to the end consumer.

The FLH meat program launched in January with beef from William Jacintho of Naʻalae Beef in Kula, Maui. This weekend, FLH will begin offering poultry from Punachicks (Puna, Hawaiʻi Island) and Ludovico Farms (North Shore, Oʻahu), processed in-house by McGee. Pork from David Wong of Mountain View Farms in Waiʻanae will arrive in the coming weeks, and venison, lamb, and goat will be added in the coming months. The breadth of cuts and variety of species promises to make it the best selection of locally raised meat in the state. In addition to broadening offerings to Oʻahu consumers, the meat program furthers the company’s mission to build a thriving, equitable food system in Hawai‘i by growing supply along with demand through direct relationships with producers and consumers.

The company’s expansion comes on the heels of several major accomplishments. Claire Sullivan began her role as CEO in October, bringing strong supplier partner, operations, and capital raising expertise to the company. FLH also introduced free home delivery to SNAP/EBT customers in November and added more than 90 new products to its marketplace in the last 6 months. 

About Farm Link Hawaiʻi

Founded in 2015, Farm Link Hawaiʻi is Hawaiʻi’s premier online local food marketplace and delivery service, providing over 500 O‘ahu consumers and businesses per week with access to a wide assortment of locally produced groceries. Farm Link manages inter-island shipping logistics, multi-temp cold storage facilities, and last-mile distribution to households and businesses on Oʻahu through free next-day delivery. The company also facilitates access to local food in underserved food deserts through acceptance of SNAP-EBT and Double Up Food Bucks.

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