About Hoʻola Farms
Hoʻōla Veteran Services 501(c)(3), d.b.a. Hoʻōla Farms was established in 2015 to provide natural agriculture educational training and hands-on experiences for military veterans and first responders, their families and caregivers, and the community in hopes of creating a more sustainable future and well-being for all.
Hoʻōla Farms connects veterans with agricultural opportunities, helping them contribute to rural prosperity and achieve an enhanced quality of life for themselves, their families, and communities. We want to increase the number of veterans seeking and securing educational, employment, and entrepreneurial opportunities in the food and agriculture sector. We think it helps when we include support accessing crucial health and wellness services
Our ʻOhana Story
Emily Emmons is a caregiver for her husband, John. Before he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 2014, he suffered from a menagerie of symptoms on a weekly basis. For eight years, he struggled with severe migraines, anxiety, night sweats, and other symptoms before finally getting an accurate diagnosis.
Gardening helped ease the pressure of his PTSD and TBI. After their daughters got involved and it became a family activity, it became clear that it wasn’t just gardening. It was a means to reconnect and to heal every day while keeping their fruits and veggies healthy.
Healing through gardening inspired Emily and John to provide this therapeutic opportunity to other veterans coping with PTSD and other conditions and hardships by founding Hoʻōla Farms—a nonprofit that serves military veterans, caregivers, first-responders and their families by providing opportunities to heal, connect, learn, grow and thrive.
With help from GoFarm Hawaii, they launched their Growing Veterans program, which consists of classroom-style lectures (in-person and via internet), hands-on practical work days at the training farm, and field trips to operational farms.
On being an Elizabeth Dole Foundation caregiver Fellow, Emily says: “It has made a significant impact on my life. It has empowered and encouraged me to live my life with purpose everyday. Once you are a Fellow, you’re always family. And that couldn’t be more true… in Hawaiʻi we call it ʻohana.”
Emily now serves as Hoʻōla Farms’ Executive Director and an advocate for veterans and their families living in rural areas on Hawaiʻi Island. Mahalo to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation for this excerpt and for helping us tell our story.
Our Brand Story
to deliver from peril; to recover from sickness; to cure a disease; to heal.
Hoʻōla Farms’ native star kiʻi, or image, represents veterans, farming, education, and our island home. The hexagon, or huinaono, is found throughout nature and symbolizes enlightenment and knowledge. The larger arms within the hexagon represent Hawaiʻi Island’s five volcanic summits—Maunakea, Mauna Loa, Hualālai, Kohala, and Kīlauea—to honor geography and sense of place. The smaller arms of the star create the pua ʻuala, the flower of the sweet potato, a canoe plant brought to Hawaiʻi by the first Polynesian voyagers to settle here. Purple is associated with spirituality, connection with a higher self, passion, fulfillment, and vitality.