We are proud and honored to report that we just received word that the American Planning Association – Hawaiʻi Chapter selected us to receive the “Innovation in Sustaining Places” award for a Master Plan we prepared for a private agricultural park on the Big Island.
This is our third APA-Hawaiʻi award in a row; in prior years, two of our other plans were given the “Environment/Preservation” awards.
According to APA-Hawaiʻi, the award “Recognizes examples of truly innovative best practices for sustaining places. Submissions should show specific examples of how sustainability practices are being used in how places are planned, designed, built, used, and maintained at all scales and how place-based strategies are integrated in the broader discussion of sustainability. Areas of specific interest include energy use and efficiency, green infrastructure, resource conservation, transportation choices and impacts, compact development, density, diversity, revitalization, employment opportunities, and population impacts.”
We took a different approach in the preparation of the plan. In addition to the conventional land use layout, we made specific management and operational recommendations. These were made to help assure that agriculture (food) will be the focus, goals/commitments are being addressed and tenants/collaborators are on track to fulfill the mission and vision.
Ultimately, a goal is to meld Hawaiian traditional wisdom with modern sustainability concepts and take an integrated approach in the design and operation of the Ag Park, incorporating understanding and respect for the land, the surrounding community and the environment.
In addition to other approaches listed throughout the Master Plan, we sought to incorporate the following sustainability approaches: Mālama ‘Āina, Organic Farming Practices, Composting, and Beneficial, Effective and Indigenous Microorganisms.
The context in which the Master Plan was prepared, particularly in relation to the overall Agricultural Park management strategy, addressed strong and recurring themes of Tradition, Sustainability, Integrated Holistic Approach, Long‐term Timeframe, Cooperation and Collaboration, Diversity of Foods and Economic Viability.
While farmers claim to be notoriously independent, attempts are made at every stage of the development and operation of the Park to incorporate multiple uses/reuse of resources; this included demonstrating the benefit of allocating one farm’s “waste” to fill another farm’s “need.” In a sense, the Ag Park management philosophy views the overall Agricultural Park more like an integrated farm, rather than an assemblage of independent, individual farms.
The goal and central theme of the plan is: “Food from Kohala for Kohala.”
I’ll have some more on this, later, but am excited to share the great news we received at the end of this past week. The award will be formally presented in September at the statewide Hawai‘i Congress of Planning Officials’ meeting. The image illustrates some of the uses proposed within the Master Plan.