Sustainable Initiatives Growing food abundant, sustainable communities in Hawai‘i

Sustainable Initiatives partners with communities, businesses and non-profits on initiatives that enhance environment, economy and community. We work on projects which support the growth of a local, sustainable economy…with a sweet spot for growing local food systems.

Sustainable Initiatives works on a broad range of projects and provides the following services: Project design and management, design and execution of public education initiatives, stakeholder engagement and facilitation.

Sustainable Initiatives was founded and is managed by Andrea Dean.


Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) was contracted by Kamehameha Schools of Hawaii to conduct a study that assessed the feasibility of a shared food manufacturing facility in urban Honolulu on land managed by the Commercial Real Estate Division (CRED) of Kamehameha Schools. Econsult Solutions worked with a diverse team of specialists, committed to social impact in their respective fields. The team included community developers with a focus on underserved communities, social scientists who focus on Hawaiian business development, national experts in shared food facilities, and economists. Sustainable Initiatives was a part of this team.

ESI team members sought to understand the food manufacturing ecosystem on Oahu and the potential regions within which the shared food manufacturing facility would operate. Second, we assessed market demand to determine how to position the facility and its users for success. In Phase 2 of this project, ESI team members will work with Kamehameha Schools to develop a business model and identify potential tenants.

Andrea Dean/SI specific role:

  • Food manufacturing ecosystem survey: identification of the components of the food manufacturing ecosystem and the key stakeholders.
  • Stakeholder interviews: primary research and synthesis of information.

The North Kohala Eat Locally Grown initiative was formed to help the North Kohala community reach a goal of producing 50% of its own food by spearheading public education, community capacity building and market expansion initiatives.

Projects included: Community Harvest Hawaii Food Gleaning, Processing and Redistribution, SNAP/EBT Booth at the Hawi Farmers Market, Annual Eat Local Challenges, Community Capacity Building Boot Camp, My Eat Local Hawai‘i Plate, North Kohala Know Your Farmer Directory, Growing Agricultural Tourism in North Kohala, Growing a Local Food System in North Kohala community-based strategic plan and multiple community educational workshops and events.

Andrea Dean/SI specific role:

  • Project design: creating and planning projects, forming project teams and identifying funding sources.
  • Grant writing and grant management: writing and management of grants from federal, state and county government, and private foundation sources.
  • Project Management: tracking and execution of all project deliverables including; community education, event management, permitting, planning, management of sub-consultants and project volunteers.
  • Strategic planning and facilitation: co-facilitator of two community-based planning sessions attended by over 200 people each, development of community engagement materials, synthesis of primary research data, lead author of Growing a Local Food System in North Kohala strategic plan.
  • Community education and outreach: Development of community outreach materials including; posters, advertisements, press releases, websites (copy and visual), authored articles published in magazines and newspapers, media management.

Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu is a project to revitalize 'ulu (breadfruit) as an attractive, delicious, nutritious, abundant, affordable, and culturally appropriate food which addresses Hawaii's food security issues. Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu is a project of the Hawaii Homegrown Food Network and the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens.

Diane Ragone (Breadfruit Institute), Craig Elevitch (Hawaii Homegrown Food Network), Andrea Dean (under the auspices of Hawaii Homegrown Food Network) specific roles:

  • Strategic planning and project design: facilitation of stakeholder (nonprofit, university, government, private sector) meetings, synthesis and communication of results in planning documents. Participation in on-going project design with project partners.
  • Grant writing and grant management: writing and management of grants from federal, state and county government, and private foundation sources.
  • Project Management: tracking and execution of all project deliverables including; community education, event management, permitting, planning, management of sub-consultants and project volunteers.
  • Event Management: coordination of all aspects of five Breadfruit Festivals and numerous statewide workshops.
  • Community education and outreach: development of community outreach materials including; posters, advertisements, website copy, press releases, video production, media management and educational handouts. Contribution/editing to published cookbook and production guide.

A community based economic development project based upon the growing and processing of taro (a traditional Hawaiian staple food) using Natural Farming techniques. Project components include an agricultural incubator and agricultural cooperative for the growing, processing and marketing of value added products from taro.

Andrea Dean/SI specific role:

  • Grant writing and grant management: writing and management of grants from federal, state and county government, and private foundation sources.
  • Project Management: tracking and assisting with execution of all project deliverables including; training, field management, product manufacturing, marketing and sales.
  • Cooperative Development: Co-facilitator of the process to form an agricultural cooperative. Convening of cooperative members, eliciting input and providing business support over a two-year time frame.
  • Community outreach: coordination of educational workshops and community events, fielding inquiries, representing project.
  • Project and product marketing: development of logos, product labels and other marketing materials, media coordination (print and video) and website (copy and visual).

A public outreach campaign that interfaced with local businesses and communicated to Hawaii Island residents how purchasing choices can impact families, environment, community and island economy.

Andrea Dean/SI specific role:

  • Project design, fundraising and management.
  • Business and community outreach and capacity building.
  • Facilitation of multi-stakeholder process to design an island-wide “Buy Local” campaign.
  • Execution of campaign, including; message development, logo design, development and distribution of collateral materials, website design, print and social media campaign.

About Andrea Dean

Sustainable Initiatives is led by Andrea Dean, MBA. Sustainable Initiatives develops community-based projects, acts as a consultant for business and nonprofit clients, and partners with other organizations on their passion projects. Under Andrea's leadership, Sustainable Initiatives has developed numerous projects from the ground up—everything from the initial vision to funding to putting together a team and managing the project. Andrea is a passionate grassroots leader with vision and hustle. She moves seamlessly between the board room and the field—strategic planning and fundraising one day and harvesting, preparing and distributing food the next.

facilitating community process

Sustainable Initiatives is currently acting as a sub-consultant to Econsult Solutions on a Feasibility Study and Business Plan for a Shared Use Food Manufacturing Facility for Kamehameha Schools. Select past projects in which Sustainable Initiatives has played integral role in are: Ho’oulu ka ‘Ulu—a project to revitalize breadfruit for food security in Hawaii; Palili O Kohala—an agricultural incubator and cooperative based on traditional crops; Think Local, Buy Local—a public education initiative to support the local economy; North Kohala Eat Locally Grown —public education, community capacity building and market expansion initiatives; Growing a Local Food System in North Kohala—community-based strategic planning; Community Harvest Hawai‘i—food harvesting, preparation and distribution; EBT (SNAP) at Farmers Markets—increasing access to locally grown foods for low income families.

hands-on from board room to field

Sustainable Initiatives has acted as a consultant on values-aligned projects for Volcano Island Honey Company, Varroa Mite Steering Committee, Hawaii Island Economic Development Board, the Kohala Center, Maui Film Festival, Waimea Community Development Plan Committee and the Kona Earth Festival.

Andrea Dean is a also a writer, author and storyteller. Her current book is Fifty Days to 50 and her upcoming book is God, Sex and Going Green. Her writing has been published in many Hawaii-based magazines including: Honolulu Weekly, Ke Ola Magazine, Innov8 (the go! in-flight magazine), Honu Guide, and Hawaii Island Journal.

Known for her personal educational projects, Andrea has embarked upon a number of “eat local” experiments and then reported to the public on her experience. Among these are 90 Days on a Hawaii Island Diet and 30 Days on a Food Stamp Budget.

A native New Yorker, Andrea currently splits her time between the San Francisco Bay Area and Hawaii Island (aka the Big Island). Andrea is dedicated to personal as well as planetary health and is a healthy eater and mildly obsessive exerciser. She likes to walk, swim, dance, meditate, chant and read. Andrea holds an MBA from the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Andrea was chosen as a national 2013 Local Economy Fellow with BALLE - Be a Localist.

Interested in working with Sustainable Initiatives?

Contact Andrea Dean at andrea@sustainablehi.com

Created By
Andrea Dean


Photo Credits: Craig Elevitch, Terry Warner and Josh McCullough/PhytoPhoto

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