The small island of Kauai, Hawaii, has a tropical climate and an abundance of fresh water. Together, these elements create a 365-days-per-year farming cycle, which makes the island an ideal location for aspiring farmers.
Originally from Austin, Texas, Katie Anderson first visited Kauai in 2012 to volunteer at a local farm. During her stay, she met three like-minded farmers and together, they started Taproot Kauai farm. They purchased their first piece of farmland in July 2014.
“Taproot is here to show people it is possible to live from the land, know where your food comes from, and understand that a healthy life is attainable,” says Anderson. She sells Taproot’s herbs and spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and pineapple sage, at local farmers markets. Anderson also makes unique jams from Liliko’i, an Hawaiian passion fruit grown on the farm.
Taproot hopes to launch a food truck in the next six months. “There are inﬁnite possibilities when it comes to dishes that feature exotic fruits and vegetables,” says Anderson, “[this makes] Kauai’s climate optimal for starting a 100 per cent local, farm-to-table food trailer.” Some of Taproot’s proposed food truck menu items include pizza—made from all local ingredients and prepared in a wood fired oven (including gluten-free crust as well as raw and vegan options)—and squash tacos. Anderson and her business partners are currently finalizing county requirements and permitting details for the food truck.
Anderson has learned the importance of patience when it comes to growing food and starting a business. She stresses the value of being part of a community that shares her passion. Speaking of her farming partners she says,“each one of us brings forth a vision, creating a copacetic farm full of growth, challenge, [and] diversity.”
When discussing the challenges of running a farm, Anderson’s optimism shines through. She interprets challenges as opportunities for growth and improvement. “If we can successfully create a model that shows people exactly where their food is coming from, this will ripple out to the rest of our society,” she says. Her advice for people who are interested in farming is to, “get your hands in the land, plant seeds, and become curious.”
To find out more about Taproot Kauai, follow Katie Anderson on Instagram: @taproot_kauai