Ceres Trust Grantmaking in Hawai’i

Hawai’i is home to rich cultural and biological diversity – shaped and stewarded by the teachings and practices of Native Hawai’ians – all of which are foundational to the resilience and beauty of the islands.

In 1893, Hawai’i’s monarchy was illegally overthrown by U.S. business interests. Today, five of the largest chemical corporations in the world – Monsanto, Dow, Dupont–Pioneer, Syngenta, and BASF – own and lease land in Hawai’i to test pesticides on experimental genetically engineered seeds. These corporations not only control land and water resources in Hawai’i, they exert undue influence on government and democratic decision–making across the archipelago.

At the same time, the restoration of traditional Hawai’ian knowledge, ecological management systems and governance is under way, along with the development of a strong and active democratic movement to engage the state of Hawai’i in policy and practice change.

Malama ‘Aina, a love and cherishing of the land based on Native Hawai’ian principles and teachings, is alive and well. A diverse and thriving convergence of people living on the islands is working together to revitalize ancient indigenous knowledge, together with western science and organic and sustainable agricultural practice, in order to create food, fishing, farming and governance systems that nourish the people and the land. A desire for sovereignty and democracy, instead of corporate ownership and undue influence, has proved resilient.

Ceres Trust provides support to organizations that seek to end exposure to hazardous pesticides, especially for children and families; and that prevent contamination of food crops and other plants with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Ceres Trust supports organizing, movement building and Indigenous and farmer–led alternatives to industrial and plantation–based agricultural production. Ceres Trust supports the revitalization of Native Hawaii’an knowledge and systems, food crop biodiversity, public access to seeds, and a strong movement for Malama ‘Aina.

Grantee Partner Stories

Hui o Kūapa

Hui o Kūapa

Hui o Kūapa was the first nonprofit organization in the world to focus its efforts on the restoration of loko i‘a, traditional Hawaiian fishponds. Today, through the tireless work of this organization, there are numerous organizations that do similar work across Hawaii, a hui (group) of fishpond practitioners that work as a collection for the restoration of fishponds across the islands, and a program that works to revitalized these traditional aquaculture systems.


Awaiulu Publications · Awaiulu offers four texts that represent the outcome of translation training, research, or collaborative work with others in the field.

Pesticides in Paradise: Hawai’i’s Health and Environment at Risk. Center for Food Safety.

Video Resources of Interest