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Our passion: Food + Community

We believe that food brings people together...whether it's in the field, at a community event or the kitchen table. 

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 Dean's leadership, Sustainable Initiatives has developed numerous projects from the ground up—starting with the seed of an idea, to funding, team building and managing the project.


Photo credit: Craig Elevitch

"Andrea has been extremely helpful with our team at Pu’u O Hoku Ranch and our efforts to continue to move forward with our mission on Molokai. Because of her help, we have succeeded in securing grant opportunities to restore the aina. Andrea is an enthusiastic partner who is responsive, organized and strategic with her ideas. We plan to continue to utilize Andrea’s support! Rudi Hunke, PhD General Manager

Recent and current clients include Kahua Pa'a Mua, Inc., Pu'u O Hoku Ranch, Ltd. Hana Sanctuary and The Merwin Conservancy.

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; Feasibility Study and Business Plan for a Shared Use Food Manufacturing Facility for Kamehameha Schools; 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.

Sustainable Initiatives/Andrea Dean has acted as a consultant on projects for Kahua Pa'a Mua, Volcano Island Honey Company, Hawaii Island Economic Development Board, the Kohala Center, Maui Film Festival, Waimea Community Development Plan Committee and the Kona Earth Festival.

About Andrea Dean

Translating her passion into personal action, Andrea is known for her personal educational projects. She 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.

Andrea is also a writer and storyteller. Her writing has been published in many Hawaii-based newspapers and magazines and online in national publications such as Spirituality and Health. As a storyteller, she has told stories live on-stage and has been a Master of Ceremonies for conferences and events.


A native New Yorker, Andrea has been living and working in Hawaii since 1989. She is passionate about fitness, dancing, swimming in the ocean, devotional chanting, meditating and reading.


She holds an MBA from the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and is a Common Future (formerly BALLE) Local Economy Fellow.

select projects


Kahua pa'a Mua

Project development, management and grant writing for agricultural projects which strengthen family and community food resilience in the community of  North Kohala, Hawaii Island. Secured funding for the 'Ohana Agricultural Resilience (OAR) project from USDA NIFA Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program and was part of the management team for this project which produced and distributed 2,400 pounds of food to the community during the recent COVID crisis.

Photo Credit: Malia Welch

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Ohia flower in the tropical paradise of

Hana Sanctuary

Preparation of Hawaii Forest Stewardship Program application for the Hana Sanctuary, a 150-acre property in Hana, Maui.  Services included: working with the client to hone property vision, aligning tree planting practices with NRCS and Forest Stewardship Program specifications, managing sub-consultants, developing budgets, preparing and submitting program application for funding review.

Abstract Pritchardia palm tree leaves re

The Merwin Conservancy

Preparation of Hawaii Forest Stewardship Program application for The Merwin Conservancy, an arts and ecology organization on Maui. Services included: working with staff to align vision with Forest Stewardship Program objectives, developing budgets, interfacing with FSP program staff, preparing and submitting program application for funding review.

"Andrea helped make a complex process easy to understand, was a pleasure to work with, and prepared a high-quality proposal." Sonnet Kekila Coggins, Executive Director


hokunui maui

Project development and grant writing which secured $2.5 million for Hokunui Maui and project partner Halau Ke‘alaokamaile for for this 258-acre regenerative farming community development.Project areas include: native forestry, agrofroresty, livestock, Hawaiian cultural education, water and energy conservation programs.

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Screenshot_2019-09-07 Sustainable Initia

feasibility study for a shared use food manufacturing facility

Worked in partnership with  Econsult Solutions and Awa Kele LLC to complete a feasibility study for Kamehameha Schools Commercial Real Estate Division for a shared use food manufacturing facility on the island of O‘ahu.

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community-based strategic plan

Strategic planning and co-facilitator of community planning sessions attended by over 200 people each, development of community engagement materials, synthesis of primary research data, and lead author of the Growing a Local Food System in North Kohala strategic plan.

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Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu

Co-founder and director of Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu, a project to revitalize breadfruit (‘ulu) to address Hawai‘i’s food security needs. Design, funding and execution of multiple initiatives (with co-directors), including: Breadfruit Festivals, Breadfruit Harvest for Hunger, Plant a Tree of Life and production of print and video outreach material. 

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North Kohala Eat Locally Grown

A project founded to help meet a community goal to produce 50% of its food. Community strategic planning, design and execution of multiple initiatives, including: Community Harvest Hawai‘i Food Processing and Redistribution, SNAP/EBT Booth at the Hawi Farmers Market, Eat Local Challenge (numerous), Community Capacity Building Boot Camp, My Eat Local Hawai‘i Plate, North Kohala Know Your Farmer Directory and multiple community educational workshops and events.

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Think local buy local

A County of Hawai‘i funded public outreach campaign that interfaced with local businesses and communicated to Hawai‘i Island residents about how purchasing choices can impact families, environment, community and island economy.

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