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Future Environmental Leaders Visit Kunoa

November 7, 2017

From time to time, we host tours of our meat processing facility for interested groups. We welcome this chance to get to know our customers and colleagues, share our approach to sustainable food production and help more people connect to our food system.

Recently, we hosted a great group of young leaders from the East-West Center Environmental Leadership Institute. Jack Beuttell, our co-founder, and other staff members led them on a tour and discussion. They were a lot of fun, and had great questions. Here’s a look at what this energetic group is up to:

Funded by the U.S. State Department’s Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, the East-West Center Environmental Leadership Institutes cultivate emerging leaders through staff and peer-led trainings on transferable environmental leadership strategies, such as developing business accelerators or green workforce training. Each session hosts cohorts of 20 emerging leaders selected by U.S. Embassies in their countries. The five-week Institutes spend three weeks here in Hawaii, one week in California, and a final week in Washington DC.

The group that visited Kunoa had been exploring Hawaii’s land use and agriculture issues, and some of them are creating a prototype business accelerator to launch in their home country. Because Kunoa went through Elemental Excelerator’s startup accelerator program, their visit offered a behind-the-scenes look at the type of sustainable food start-up they might support one day.

Only a few from the group had been in a meat harvesting facility, so the experience was quite new and impactful for them, said Christina Monroe, the program’s Leadership Education Specialist. “The sensitivity and thoughtfulness of Jack and the other staff’s discussion with the fellows really opened us up to new ways of thinking about food,” she said. “His story elevated our thinking, empathy, and inspiration for doing more ourselves. As Jack said, ‘Think before you eat and make wise decisions.’ That’s what we will take away.”

Marvin Gonzales, a member of the cohort from the Philippines, said, “The visit to Kunoa Cattle provided first-hand insights that practically supplemented my classroom understanding. Their stories on how they started and are able to sustain the industry helped a lot.”

We were fortunate to be able to share what we’re doing with this group of young leaders, and we wish them success as they take what they learned back to their home countries.