Seminar 5 – Kauai – Communications, Cacao and Old Friends

Our morning started off with some great presentations from both Will and Sarah. It has been nice getting to learn more about the interests and history of our classmates, there really is a wealth of knowledge in this group.

We followed up the presentations with Communications Training with Jennifer Barret of Connect Consulting and Amy Hennessey of Ulupono Initiative. We briefly discussed branding, marketing, advertising, and public relations before taking a deeper dive into communications. They offered great advice on how to clearly communicate your message, identify your audience, and most importantly define your goals.

After lunch at the Kauai Community College Farmers’ Market, we finally got to visit Lydgate Farms! Will and his awesome crew gave a tour of the cacao and vanilla operations, and of course we ate a lot of chocolate. Really, really delicious chocolate. None of us were surprised to find that our classmate runs a really impressive operation!


I have to say this was the only time I have ever experienced a “honey chug” and Nick pulled it off pretty well! Certainly a funny and memorable addition to a farm tour!

We made our way our to Jerry Ornellas farm next. He shared his experience with the East Kauai Water Users Cooperative, which maintains historic sugarcane ditch systems that still provide water for users on Kauai. We discussed the potential for technology and innovation in Hawaii agriculture, and he shared some great examples he had seen on a recent trip to New Zealand.

Next we headed over to the National Tropical Botanical Garden research facility, which was really incredible. In addition to the thousands of species they maintain in their living collection, they also have a very impressive library of historic publications and newer journals. Personally I could spend weeks (or maybe a lifetime) geeking out on plants there!

We wrapped up our day with a delicious dinner hosted by Laurie Ho, ALP Alumni Class IV. Every time I eat on neighbor islands, I swear the food tastes better! Thank you to the Kauai alumni for great company and a delicious dinner!