John Kaiahua Mentorship Award

In 2017, one of Kansas City’s founding organic farmers, John Kaiahua, passed away. In thinking on how to recognize his unique leadership in the local farming community, we decided to set up the John Kaiahua Mentorship Award and we also got some funds donated for a John Kaiahua Scholarship to the Mid America Organic Association Conference.


The Award’s goal is to honor farmers in our region who exemplify some of John’s finest qualities:

Mentoring:  John was always teaching and mentoring farmers and gardeners he met.  In the community greenhouse at Cultivate KC, he was an advisor to every single farmer in the space.  He mentored and trained the folks at the Troostwood Youth Garden.  He helped launch the Raytown Farmers Market, lending his years of experience to the launch of that market.  He trained other native Hawaiians in growing taro. 

Inspiring:  John was an excellent farmer.  He had high standards for his growing practices and for his products.  His fields were immaculate and his produce was beautiful.  He inspired other farmers to be as good as John.

We invite you to nominate someone you know! 

The award will be given out at Cultivate’s Annual Farmers & Friends event on February 3.  The award itself is representative of John’s heritage- it is a hand carved poi pounder and stand that was made expressly to honor John by a group of native Hawaiian artists who wanted to help us honor him in this way.  The award is intended to be re-awarded every 1-2 years; so the award recipient will hold onto it for a year, then pass it along to the next awardee.  The awardee must attend the award ceremony on February 3. 

TO NOMINATE:  Write a paragraph or two about the farmer you are nominating- who are they, how have they exemplified mentorship, inspiration, and farming excellence?  If you can specifically name some of the people he/ she has mentored, we would appreciate that!  We will consider any farmer who lives in or supplies the Kansas City metropolitan area markets.  We may want to follow up with you by phone, so please include your name and phone number!  Email it to

DEADLINE: January 10, 2018 email to

THE JOHN KAIAHUA SCHOLARSHIP TO THE MID-AMERICA ORGANIC ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE:  We have up to $300 to sponsor one or more beginning farmers to attend the MOA Conference on January 31st-February 2nd, has more information about the conference. Funds can be used for registration fees only.  To apply, write a +/-250-word statement about your farming operation and what you hope to get out of the conference.  (For the purposes of this scholarship, a beginning farmer is someone who has less than 10 years of experience managing their own or someone else’s farming operation.)

DEADLINE: December 31, 2017 email to

The awards are being made by Cultivate Kansas City, the Kansas City Food Circle, and KC Healthy Kids and the award decisions will be made by a committee representing those three organizations and 1-2 other leaders in the local food community. 


Cultivate Kansas City
300 E. 39th Street
Kansas City, MO 64111
Phone (913) 831-2444 Copyright © 2019