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‘The work we do here is pono’

January 10, 2018

We are building a team of great employees who are passionate about sustainable local agriculture, and we want you to meet them. Today, we’re introducing Kamuela Barr. Kamu’s official title is Office Manager, but we consider him our air traffic controller. He handles many of the operations, administrative and customer care tasks that keeps Kunoa humming — always with a smile.

What attracted you to working at Kunoa?

When I came across Kunoa, the name captivated me. But I thought they better have a good story to back up that name. Sure enough, I read through Kunoa’s website and I was on my tippy toes. It seemed so good to be true — a company that focuses on fostering an agricultural landscape, which supports local farmers, provides quality locally sourced foods, focuses on land stewardship with holistic management. In order for Hawaiʻi to thrive, we need to rebuild our agricultural foundation. There are many other organizations out there doing great work, but Kunoa is unique because it comprises not only a ranching operation but also the harvesting plant and enterprise.

Why is your job important to you?

I strongly believe in the work that we do here at Kunoa. My Tūtū (grandma) always told me to find a job that I know will be pono for me, for my kaiāulu (community) and for my Hawaiʻi. She told me to do something that fulfills my naʻau (heart). I don’t want to sound cheesy, but I strongly believe fate brought me here. I do what I do because it is my kūleana to my people to navigate Kunoa in the right direction that enables land and natural resource stewardship with intentions of health and well-being for the aina and surrounding community.

What do you like most about working for Kunoa?

I am beyond fortunate to have a workplace that feels like home. We have a ʻohana here. I love the people I work with. Our customers, partners, ranchers — we all make up the livelihood of Kunoa. The work we do here is pono, transparent, and ethical.

What’s your favorite way to cook with Kunoa beef?

One of my favorite childhood dishes is stew lūʻau. It’s basically a stew with beef and lūʻau (taro) leaves. It’s time-consuming to gather and clean the leaves, and I remember, as a child, my tūtū would tell us if we didn’t want to help her clean the leaves than we needed to step away from the table. She encouraged us to always have good thought and intentions when making food. She would tell us, your food should always be made with aloha because if made otherwise you will spoil your food.

I’m fortunate to have local beef accessible when making these kinds of dishes. It’s even more meaningful knowing that all of your ingredients are locally sourced and produced with aloha.

What’s your favorite place to connect with nature in Hawaii?

I don’t have a particular favorite place in Hawaii. From mauka to makai, I appreciate the beauty in it all. There are days where I need to be in the water at the beach and days when I need to be in the mountains. It’s more of a calling than a want, I guess. I love nature, I love the aina, and so even If I’m just at home in my garden, I’m content.

When he’s not juggling administrative tasks and helping customers, Kamu can be found harvesting plants in the mountains for lei making. Learn more about working for Kunoa Cattle Company.