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Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai‘i
P. O. Box 342066
Kailua, HI 96734
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ALFH Vice President
ALP Class VII
Former Director, Department of Research & Development
County of Hawai‘i
Diane L. Ley previously served as the Director of the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development and oversaw programs to enhance the quality of life and the sustainability of local communities. In 2018, Diane was appointed by then-Mayor Harry Kim to lead the 2018 Kilauea Eruption recovery efforts which resulted in aligning nearly $300 million in federal recovery resources, and in March 2020, Diane asked to lead delivery of $44.1 million to communities, families and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Diane serves as the Hawai‘i Island representative on the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture. She has also served as the State Executive Director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Basin, the Deputy Director for the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development and as the Deputy to the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture Chairperson. Diane also operated a vegetable farm and worked for the Hawai‘i Farm Bureau Federation and Hilo Main Street Program. Diane is a graduate of Agricultural Leadership Program Class VII.
ALP Class XV
Director, Land Development
Jacob was born and raised in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, where he graduated from Waiakea High School before earning his business degree at Gonzaga University, and later his Executive MBA from The University of Hawai‘i’s Shidler College of Business. Soon after graduating, Jacob found himself on the island of Maui, tending to his family’s multi-generational cattle operation and working for Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company (HC&S), Hawai‘i’s last sugar operation. Following the final sugar cane harvest of HC&S in 2016, Jacob began working on the diversification of Alexander and Baldwin’s now former cane lands, starting Kūlōlio Ranch, a grass-fed beef operation located on the windward coastline of Maui’s central valley. Following Mahi Pono’s acquisition of the former HC&S lands, Jacob started a new chapter in his career, as the Director of Land Development, specifically focused on pasture land, row crops, citrus, coffee, papaya, and other orchard crops spanning the company’s 41,000 acre portfolio. Jacob has served various roles for other boards and commissions across the state relating to the beef industry, soil and water conservation, legacy land preservation, and the non-profit community. Jacob is a proud alumnus of the Agricultural Leadership Program Class XV.
ALP Class XIV
Retired, Asset Management Director, Kamehameha Schools
Retired, Hawai‘i Air National Guard
Sydney completed three decades of service overseeing management of Kamehameha Schools agriculture and conservation land and natural resource assets statewide. Kamehameha’s asset management team integrated cultural, environmental, community, education and economic values for ‘aina stewardship across the pae ‘aina. Sydney is an alumni of the Agricultural Leadership Program Class XIV, currently a director of the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council, US Army Garrison, Hawai‘i.
ALP Class XIII
Mark is currently the Corteva Agriscience Hawai‘i strategic partnerships and collaboration lead. He manages projects including outreach, Farm to State, STEAM, and community based initiatives. He has over 20 years of diverse agricultural experience in Hawai‘i and is dedicated to the development of future leaders in agriculture. He holds a BS degree in Horticulture/Business from Colorado State University and an MS in Plant Breeding from UC Davis. His goals include fostering coexistence of multiple agricultural systems and increasing Hawai‘i’s food security. Mark is a graduate of the Agricultural Leadership Program Class XIII, and serves on the board for the Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai‘i (ALFH) as a director. In his free time, Mark enjoys spending time with his family, gardening, playing guitar, and surfing.
ALP Class XV
Land Asset Manager
Joey oversees a portfolio of agriculture, conservation and residential land on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i owned by Kamehameha Schools, a private charitable educational trust endowed by the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop to improve the capability and well-being of Hawaiians through education. Joey is a graduate of the Agricultural Leadership Program Class XV.
ALFH Past President
ALP Class XV
Director of Diversified Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Born and raised on the windward side of O‘ahu, Taylor received a Bachelor’s of Science in Tropical Agriculture from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. He then spent six years working for Hawai‘i’s pineapple industry including Delmonte Fresh Produce in Kunia, and Maui Pineapple Company in Hali‘imaile. In 2007 Taylor returned to O‘ahu and was farm manager for Monsanto Kunia’s Multi Seasonal program until 2015. Taylor is now the Director of Diversified Agriculture and Land Stewardship for Kualoa Ranch with responsibilities including livestock, aquaculture, farming, and conservation. He has served as an officer for the Hawai‘i Crop Improvement Association, and on the boards of West O‘ahu Soil and Water Conservation District and Kunia Water Commission. He serves as the Past president for ALFH, Board Chair of the Oahu Resource Development Council (ORCD),and is the Land and Water Committee Chair for the Hawaii Cattleman’s Council. Taylor is also a graduate of the Hawai‘i Agricultural Leadership Program Class XV and the Pacific Century Fellows.
DuPont Pioneer, Research Scientist | Kaua‘i
Joao was born and raised in Brazil and received his Ph.D. in Agronomy from Sao Paulo State University where he researched absorption of heavy metals in mushrooms. He also worked in various areas of agriculture in the government and help to write organic mushroom certification standards in Brazil. Joao came to Hawai‘i in 2007 to manage a mushroom farm. Currently, he is a scientist working on mapping, soil conservation plan, crop protection and phytosanitation.
“If we want agriculture to survive in Hawai‘i, let’s collaborate cohesively, embrace technology and innovative concepts and at the same time be mindful of the lands of Hawai‘i. I am eager to contribute and strengthen agriculture in Hawai‘i!”
School Garden Program Coordinator, Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation; Vice President, Hawai‘i Farmers Union
Lydi works with O‘ahu schools to bring gardening experience and education to students, teachers, and communities. She is helping to grow an island-wide and state-wide network of school gardens and farmer training programs. Her work with the Farmers Union is bringing communities together for the creation of vibrant local food systems.
Land Asset Manager, Kamehameha Schools Land Assets Division
Perry manages Kamehameha Schools’ South Kona and North Kohala land assets that include Agricultural, residential, pastoral, mixed and conservation uses. He is also the sector leader for Kamehameha Schools’ statewide regional graze land planning. Perry has a BA in Political Science.
Hawaiian Earth Products, Business Analyst, Staff Agronomist
Mark is a graduate of West Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Agronomy. Since 1983, he has worked as an agricultural production and business consultant identifying management strategies and developing operational systems for crop and livestock operations. As a member of the Hawaiian Earth Products team, Mark’s duties include conducting compost research trials and educational seminars.
Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture – Plant Quarantine Branch, Acting Manager | O‘ahu
Jonathan was born and raised on O‘ahu and received a B.S. in Plant and Environmental Protection Science from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His work involves regulating the importation of plants, plant parts, non-domestic animals, and microorganisms into the State to protect Hawai‘i’s agricultural and horticultural industries, environment, and natural resources, and to ensure human and animal health and safety. Jonathan enjoys spending his free time with his wife and son as well as collecting and propagating a wide range of ornamental plants.
Hawai‘i Farm Bureau Federation, Executive Director
Alan was recently appointed as Executive Director for the Hawai‘i Farm Bureau Federation. Previously, he was in charge of the Farm Bureau’s government and community relations. Alan is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i and received his B.A. in Political Science. His administrative duties are wide-ranging from addressing various regulatory and legislative mandates to promoting Hawai‘i’s agricultural industry.
Growing Greens Nursery, Owner
For ten years, Liz has been providing landscape material on a wholesale and retail basis. Liz has a A.S. in Ornamental Horticulture. She currently sits on the Board of Directors of Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau and the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a is a member of the Kauai Landscape Industry Council, Kaua‘i Agriculture Advisory Committee and the SCBM Council of Kapa‘a Elementary School.
Hawaii Commercial & Sugar, Manager, Specialty Sugar Operations
HC&S is a 37,000-acre sugar plantation located on Maui that produces both commercial grade sugar for future refining and food-grade sugar for direct consumption and food processing. Steven has a B.S. in Business Administration. He is the Maui Chapter president of the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association.
Pioneer Hi-Bred, Int. and o-owner of Crop Care Hawaii, LLC a private crop consulting firm
John has an M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and a Ph.D. in Entomology from Purdue University. As chair of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation Environmental Stewardship Committee John was co-recipient of EPA Region IX 2003 Environmental Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Hawaiian Flowers, Owner/Operator
Marla has a 12,000 sq. ft. green house in full production with potted orchids. The business also grows cut flowers, tropicals and protea. Her farm hosts tourists and larger groups. She belongs to many floral industry organizations and flower arranging groups. She served 2 years on the HOGA Board of Directors and graduated from UH Hilo with a B.S. in Tropical Horticulture in 1996.
USDA-NRCS, Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Coordinator for NRCS on O‘ahu
Kevin’s job supports community groups in achieving their water management, community development, land conservation or environmental enhancement goals. Previously, Kevin was a watershed planner with NRCS in our Pacific Basin office. Responsibilities included agricultural water supply projects and a variety of water quality projects.
Pu‘u O Hoku Ranch, Farm Foreman
Jim has worked at Pu‘u O Hoku Ranch, on Moloka‘i, as a farmer since 1992 with some success growing and marketing ‘awa and papaya, and building a certified kitchen. His personal vision includes the renaissance of agriculture on Moloka‘i, the growth of sustainable agriculture in the State, and the promotion of local consumption of food for security and the health of people.
USDA-NRCS, Resource Conservationist
Ranae provides technical assistance in the development, application and maintenance of conservation measures on private lands, grows wetland taro and provides agricultural career based education to students. She obtained a B.S. in Tropical Agriculture and a State of Hawai‘i Teachers Certification. She is a member of the Soil and Water Conservation Society and Asian Pacific Islanders Organization.
Hawaii Island Landscape Association, Education Director for Kona Outdoor Circle and Hawaii Island Landscape Association as well as a farm lease-holder
Diana holds a partial A.A. in Horticulture, a M.S. in Education and is a Certified Landscape Technician. She is actively involved in HILA, past president of the Hawaii Professional Gardener’s Association and a member of the Farmer’s Alliance. She also runs an organic coffee farm in Captain Cook.
Tropical Sales, Community activist for the Hamakua Coast and General Manager of Tropical Sales
Doug has a M.S. in systems management from USC and a B.S. in business from University of Maryland. He retired from the US Air Force in 1993. He is currently treasurer of the Laupahoehoe Train Museum where he promotes his interests of education, economic and community development.
Hawaii Commercial & Sugar, Crop Maintenance & Seed Farm Manager
Alumni of University of Wyoming. With HC&S over 20 years, Harry manages the Crop Protection Chemicals and growing of seed for the 36,000 acre plantation. He is a Board of Director for the MCFB and the Hawaii Sugar Technologist, member of the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association and a volunteer leader with the 4-H Livestock Programs.
Maui Yeshe Group, Managing Partner
Born in Haiti, Gabriel has a business degree from Puerto Rico and graduate education in economics from UC Berkeley. He enjoys helping aspiring farmers move from dream to sustainability through the delivery of customized Ag Entrepreneurship Training Programs and the incubation of socially beneficial enterprises. From 2000 to 2004 he was Project Manager for the Molokai Ag Development Program.
Livestock Operations Manager, Parker Ranch. George is married to Lisa a D.V.M in Kamuela, with two children, John (19) a freshman at C.S.U. and Justina (16) at Hawaii Prep. He graduated with a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from Washington State University. Memberships include the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattle Producers Cooperative, Hawaii County 4H Club and Saint Joseph’s Catholic Mission Church.
Director, Limahuli Garden and Preserve. Kawika runs a one thousand acre botanical garden and nature preserve that is managed by the non-profit organization, National Tropical Botanical Garden. Limahuli’s goal is to restore the ecological and cultural integrity of the ahupua‘a of Ha‘ena. Some of the major projects at Limahuli include native forest restoration, lo‘i restoration, and traditional fishery management.
Co-owner and Marketing, PR Director for Ali‘i Kula Lavender. After working in the travel industry for 28 years, Lani helped create Ali‘i Kula Lavender, as Maui’s Premier Lavender Farm. Lani oversees all marketing and public relations. She is a member of the Maui Farm Bureau, founding member of the State Ag Department’s Seal of Quality program, and Co-chair for Maui Economic Development Board Membership committee.
Assistant Agronomist, Hawaii Agriculture Research Center. Mike earned a B.S. in Agriculture from Austin Peay State University and an M.S. in Soil Science from Penn State. He is responsible for making agronomic recommendations and conducting field experiments for Hawai‘i’s two sugar plantations. Mike’s research interests include drought- tolerant crops and oilseed crops. He is a member of the Agronomy Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America.
Manager, Purchasing and Inventory for Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.. HC&S’s principal businesses are the growing and milling of sugarcane (for raw sugar, molasses, and Maui Brand specialty sugar) and the generation and sale of electricity. Steve earned a B.A. in Finance from the University of Hawai‘i. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum and was past President.
Manager, Factory Operation for Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.. HC&S’s principal businesses are the growing and milling of sale of electricity. Robert earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University. He currently serves as the commodore for the Ma‘alaea Boat and Fishing Club, director for the Ma‘alaea Ebesu Kotohira Jinsha Church and a member of Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana.
Agricultural Systems Modeler & Educator, Maui Land & Pineapple Co.. Raised in Canada, Tova has a B.S. in Environmental Biology from McGill University and a master’s of Environmental Science and Management from UC Santa Barbara. She is thrilled to be coordinating sustainable agriculture research, fostering youth’s interest in farming and facilitating sustainability initiatives at ML&P.
Garden Director, Kahanu Garden of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Kamaui manages this Hawaiian ethnobotanical garden and Pi‘ilanihale Heiau, a 500 year old Hawaiian temple on the garden property. He has a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies and Natural Sciences and an M.S. in Botany. His primary goal is to maintain a harmonious balance between the garden operations and the appropriate management of the heiau.
Operation Manager, Monsanto Company, Box 609, Hanapepe, HI 96716. Randy has a B.S. in Landscape Horticulture from Rutgers University. He is married to Suzanne and has a son named Braeden. He has worked for Monsanto for 14 years where he grows mostly seed corn. Randy is currently the board Treasurer for the Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau and a former board Secretary of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association.
Assistant Manager, Ponoholo Ranch, Ltd. Sabrina is a 3rd generation rancher on her family-owned, commercial cow/calf operation with Angus and Charolais as the predominant breeds. Memberships include the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, and Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council. She is a graduate of Colorado State University with a B.S. in Animal Science, Industry Concentration.
Co-Owner, Hawaii Fish Company. Ron manages a multi-species aquafarm on the North Shore of O‘ahu and is President of the Hawaii Aquaculture Association (i.e. State aquaculture industry association). He has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Natural Resource Management from the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources, and was formerly a Fishery Biologist with the University of Miami, the University of Michigan and the East West Center.
Roast Master, Kauai Coffee Co.. Kauai Coffee grows, processes and roasts coffee. The business focuses on the sale and marketing of green (unroasted) coffee and the sale of roasted coffee. Mike manages the production, operation and maintenance requirements of the roasting plant. He is a member of the Kauai Farm Bureau and the Hawaii Coffee Association (for whom he has conducted cupping and grading workshops).
Co-owner, Kahanu Aina Sprouts. Irene is a biological farmer who assists other farmers in promoting fresh island produce in the marketplace. She also promotes and works to increase soil fertility in Hawai‘i through education, outreach programs, seminars and conferences. Irene serves as an officer of Maui Aloha Aina Association and is a member and special events coordinator for the Maui County Farm Bureau.
Manager, Asia Pacific Flowers Inc. Asia Pacific Flowers, founded in 1977, is one of the oldest and largest commercial cut and potted orchid nurseries in Hawai‘i. Neo is from Singapore and has traveled and worked in different Asian countries before moving to Hawai‘i 6 years ago. Currently he is the President of the Orchid Growers of Hawai‘i, a statewide orchid association.
Managing Director, Kahuku Farms. A 4th generation farmer, Kylie hopes to continue her family’s farming legacy by diversifying its offerings through Agtourism activities and value added products. As a graduate of the Travel Industry Management School at the University of Hawai‘i, Kylie’s primary goal is to create a sustainable model of agriculture through education and the business of growing fresh local food.
Manager, Harvesting and Field Preparation Department, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.. HC&S’s principal businesses are the growing and milling of sugarcane on 36,000 acres on Maui; production of raw sugar, molasses, and specialty sugar; and the generation and sale of electricity. Mark has worked for HC&S for 26 years. He lives in the upcountry area with his son and recently obtained his business degree from the University of Phoenix.
Land Asset Manager, Kamehameha Schools Land Assets Division. Marissa is involved in the planning and management of Kamehameha Schools’ agricultural and conservation lands on Hawai‘i Island. KS agricultural leases cover a wide range of crops and a variety of growing conditions. She has a B.A. in Liberal Studies – Hawaiian Preservation and a M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning.
Hawaii Outreach Manager, Syngenta Seeds. Laurie’s job with Syngenta includes cultivating and supporting business, community and government relations through outreach and education. She obtained a B.S. majoring in Agronomy from the University of Guelph. She has been an accredited member of the Certified Crop Advisor group for over eight years and is the current Chairperson of the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association’s Outreach committee.
Assistant Water Quality Coordinator, CTAHR, Cooperative Extension Service. Luisa coordinates federally-funded pollution risk assessment and public education projects. She produces and delivers water quality and pollution assessment education materials through workshops, trainings, public presentations and electronic media. She also coaches farmers on adopting good agricultural practices to promote farm food safety.
Statewide Plant Extinction Prevention Coordinator, PEP Program
Joan manages a statewide conservation program that strives to prevent the extinction of Hawai‘i’s rarest plant species. Joan received her bachelor’s degree in Botany from the University of Hawai‘i and has spent the past 25 years committed to preserving Hawai‘i’s natural legacy by protecting its native plants, animals, and ecosystems.
Marketing & Community Relations Coordinator & Lavender Lifestylist, Ali‘i Kula Lavender on Maui
Pomai is a Director in training to a multi-generational, family-owned, Native Hawaiian Agri-Tourism Business. Her goal is to build economically sustainable and culturally aware communities in Hawai‘i through education and collaboration on local and global levels.
Research Scientist/ Site Manager, Pioneer Hi-Bred Int’l – Kunia Research Center
Mark manages the Pioneer Kunia Research Center, focusing on production of corn lines for Pioneer’s plant breeders worldwide. He has a BS degree in Horticulture and an MS in Plant Breeding. His goals include fostering coexistence of multiple agricultural systems in the state, and increasing awareness and understanding of the seed industry in Hawai‘i.
Founder, Pacific Light & Power Inc.
On graduating from Tufts University, Palo returned to Venezuela to manage his family’s farm, was a partner in a venture capital firm in Buenos Aires, and co-founded and served as principal broker for Koa Properties. His renewable energy development company is currently working on a 10 MW solar thermal facility, a 5 MW Biogas facility, and an 8 MW Hydroelectric facility on the Westside of Kaua‘i.
State Representative-District 51 Kailua & Waimānalo
Chris has a BS in political science from Oregon State University and was elected to the State Legislature in 2008. He has been working to change our social, political, and economic structure to prepare Hawai‘i for the challenges of the 21st century.
Executive Director, Kako‘o ‘Ōiwi and Kāne‘ohe Bay Marine Coordinator, The Nature Conservancy
Kānekoa coordinates projects in Kāne‘ohe Bay and assists in a partnership for the restoration of He‘eia Wetlands and the non-profit, Kako‘o ‘Ōiwi. His focus is to balance food security alongside strategies that enhance sustainable management and biological resources. He opens up lo‘i kalo and loko i‘a in He‘eia with his family. Kānekoa received his BA from Occidental College and a MS in Botany from UH-Mānoa.
Postdoctoral Researcher, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa
Kai participates in extension outreach, and conducts research in integrated farming technology at Windward Community College. He has a BS in Biology, a MS in Animal Science, and a PhD in Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering. His primary goal is to transfer sustainable farming technologies to the public to help increase Hawai‘i’s food independence.
Rancher, Kuahiwi Ranch
Michelle helps to manage her family’s ranch in Ka‘ū on Hawai‘i Island. She has a Doctorate and MA in Comparative Literature and a BA in Asian Studies. She is president of the Hawai‘i Cattlemen’s Association and serves on the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture.
Executive Director, Mālama Kaua‘i
Keone focuses on catalyzing community abundance through relocalization and aloha ‘āina. He has initiated many agriculture-related projects, including a 4-acre community garden, the Kaua‘i school garden network, farm worker housing solutions, and preservation of critical irrigation systems. Keone is a native Hawaiian committed to bridging the knowledge and wisdom of the past with new, innovative approaches to sustainable solutions.
Owner, Sustain Pro Management, LLC-a project development and management company for ag, rural, and energy initiatives, Co-Owner, O‘ahu Fresh — a farmers’ market delivery service in Honolulu
Matt also lectures on ag entrepreneurship at Leeward Community College. Matt is the Treasurer for Hawai‘i Rural Development Council, a statewide rural development organization.
ALP Class XIII
Michelle helps to run her familyʻs cattle ranch in Ka‘ū district on Hawai‘i Island. She grew up on dairy farms and ranches in Ka‘ū and in Hale‘iwa, O‘ahu. She has a B.A. in Asian Studies from the University of Oregon, and an M.A. and Ph.D in Comparative Literature from U.C., Berkeley. She is interested in the inter-relationship of humans and the natural environment, especially in relation to agriculture, in how we frame and understand that relationship, and in advocating for sustainable agriculture. Michelle is an alumni of the Agricultural Leadership Program Class XIII.
ALP Class XV
Pomai Weigert is an Agribusiness Consultant for GoFarm Hawai‘i. Pomai joined the ALFH Board of Directors in 2020. She became involved in agriculture over 10 years ago after an early-life start in Hawai‘i’s travel and tourism sector. She helped build the Ali‘i Kula Lavender farm on Maui from 2008–2011. Pomai then traveled the world conducting international agritourism research. She returned home to the islands in 2017 to share her knowledge and findings with Hawai‘i’s agriculture and tourism industries. At that time she began her journey with GoFarm Hawai‘i. Pomai has also been serving with the Hawai‘i Agri-Tourism Association since 2009. Pomai is a graduate of the Agricultural Leadership Program Class XV.
ALP Class VIII
Owner and Operator
Agland Management LLC dba Jerry’s Farm
Jerry is the owner and operator of Agland Management LLC dba Jerry’s Farm. He retired from the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources in 2011 and now farms full-time. He is a former member of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture. He is active in promoting agriculture in the state of Hawai‘i. Jerry is an alumni of the Agricultural Leadership Program Class VIII.
ALP Class VII
David Kaapu is well established in West Hawai‘i and is a pillar in his community. Mr. Kaapu has served on several community boards in addition to the Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai‘i, including the Hawai‘i Community Federal Credit Union, Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation West Hawai‘i Regional Board, Friends of NELHA, and the Hawai‘i Community Foundation’s West Hawai‘i Advisory Board. David is an alumni of the Agricultural Leadership Program Class VII.
Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture, Environmental Health Specialist | O‘ahu
Born and raised on O‘ahu Christina (Tina) received a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her work contributes to the regulation, registration, distribution and use of pesticides to ensure safe, efficient, and effective use of pesticides that minimize adverse effects on humans and the environment. Tina is an active volunteer in her community. Christina enjoys hiking the Ko‘olaus, Thoreau, hot coffee, and her dogs but she is most passionate about her 11-year-old daughter and being the best role model she can be for her.
“Pesticide regulation is essential in assuring that safe and effective pesticides remain available to growers of all types.”
O‘ahu Fresh, Co-owner and founder | O‘ahu
Originally from Maryland, Melissa (Lisa) received a BA in Psychology from University of Maryland Baltimore County and MS in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University. As co-owner of O‘ahu Fresh, a local produce delivery company, she helps consumer’s access affordable local fresh produce while supporting local farmers. She volunteers with the South O‘ahu Soil and Water Conservation District, provides business support for Green Wheel Food Hub, conservation planning assistance to Sustain Pro Management and manages the Kunia Agricultural Park. Lisa enjoys the outdoors by relaxing at the beach with her dog Roby, cooking, reading, and practicing her harp playing skills.
“I love working with farmers because they are the smartest and hardest working people I know — I continually learn from them and they are the truest entrepreneurs.”
University Laboratory School PCS, Dean of Curriculum & Instruction/ULS Project Pono Advisor | O‘ahu
Born and raised on Maui Miki received a BS in Biosystems Engineering at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa‚ CTAHR and a Ph.D. from Stanford University‚ School of Education. Currently she is a teacher, researcher, administrator and service-learning coordinator and is dedicated to place-, culture-, and project-based education, environmental activism, and youth voice. Miki is active on the boards of the Hawaiʻi Public Charter School Network, the O‘ahu Farm to School Network and Phi Delta Kappa Hawai‘i. Miki’s work is inspired by her daughter and, along with her husband and daughter, frequently dedicates her weekends volunteering in the lo‘i, picking up trash on the beach or growing, gathering and distributing food to those in need.
“With our rich agricultural past and cultural legacy, our at times unspoken commitment to aloha and aloha ‘āina, and our unique assets in terms of biotechnological and natural resource conservation, I believe that Hawai‘i can become a leader in global cultural and environmental sustainability. This leadership and commitment must be shaped through our commitment to our children, and to helping them understand the world they live in and the ways their actions, every day and life-long, help to shape that world and the effect they have on themselves and others, present and future.”
CTAHR Extension Veterinarian University of Hawaiʻi, DVM, Ph.D.
Ashley is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and received a BA from the University of Alabama, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a PhD in Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology from Louisiana State University. Along with her CTAHR Extension Veterinarian duties she works with animals and ranchers throughout the state conducting basic and applied veterinary research as well as time in the classroom teaching Pre-Veterinary Medicine. Ashley enjoys triathlete training with friends and has completed a full Ironman and other triathlete events. She used her training to “slow down” and have time to think!
“I love my work because I get to work with people already dedicated and working in Hawai‘i’s diverse agricultural industries, and with those who are being educated right now at UH to be the next generation in agriculture.”
Du Pont Pioneer Hi-Bred, Int., Station Manager Waimea Research Center, | Kaua‘i
Born and raised on the island of Puerto Rico, Judith has a BS in general agriculture and a MS in soil science from The University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez College and an MBA in Finance from Colorado Technical University. As station manager at the Waimea Research Center she is able to contribute to Pioneer’s goal of a sustainable global agricultural system that meets the food, feed, fiber, and industrial needs of a growing world. Judith is active on the board of the West Kaua‘i Rotary Club. As a new parent, she enjoys family time in Hawai‘i and Puerto Rico, loves to dance the Salsa and Merengue and eat Puerto Rican food.
“I like to work with people and promote local economy while making a difference and contributing to an innovative way of doing agriculture that aligns with the world needs. It is our responsibility to provide solutions to big problems under the big picture of humanity.”
University of Hawai‘i Maui College, Director New Farmers Network, Agriculture & Natural Resources Program | Maui
Cynthia was born in Puerto Rico and lived in Missouri, Mexico and Maryland before moving to Hawai‘i in 2000. She has a BS in Landscape Contracting from Pennsylvania State University and a MS in Horticulture from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She is currently seeking a PhD in Natural Resources and Environmental Management at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and is a volunteer Board Member for Maui Nui Botanical Garden. Cynthia loves living in the quiet, tranquility and surrounding beauty of Kula with her husband and 4-year-old son where she cooks for friends and gardens, sings, dances and reads.
“There is a rising interest in food security, agricultural sustainability, and consumer support of local products as more people become aware of Hawai‘i’s dependence on mainland and foreign sources of food. In order to increase food security and long term agricultural sustainability in Hawai‘i, there needs to be stronger and improved support for new and existing farmers and the diversity of crops they grow.”
Orchid Plantation, Inc., Owner and Manager | Hawai‘i
Born and raised in Kalihi Valley on O‘ahu, Elton received his BS in Civil Engineering from University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and is currently the owner and manager of an export flower, plant and orchid nursery with the mission of consistent high quality. He is on the board of directors of the Orchid Growers of Hawai‘i. Elton lives in Kea‘au with his wife and their 3 children growing food, including taro and sweet potatoes, chicken eggs and a pig using the natural farming deep litter system.
“I am convinced that there is room for all in Agriculture. Nothing should be excluded if done correctly considering Hawai‘i’s unique geographic location and varied growing conditions.”
Blue Ocean Mariculture, Research Manager | Hawai‘i
Jennica grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida and received her BS in Marine Biology at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and her MS in Aquaculture from the University of Florida. She has worked as a marine finfish producer in Florida, Puerto Rico and currently supports her company’s efforts to increase their environmental sustainability and operational efficiency. When not working Jennica spends her time outdoors hiking, diving and surfing.
“Agriculture, along with manufacturing, is one of the primary industries we need to support ourselves. Beyond this basic need for food, agriculture / aquaculture has the means to invigorate the environment and teach people the value of nature.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, Botanist | O‘ahu
Born and raised in Hawai‘i James received his BS in Biology-Economics from Claremont McKenna College and his MS in Botany-Conservation Biology from University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Currently he works to conserve and restore native biodiversity and ecological integrity of Pacific Islands ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations through leadership, science-based management, and collaborative partnerships. James enjoys running, swimming, cooking, learning about his Japanese and Korean heritage and volunteering in the community.
“I hope to increase my awareness and understanding of some of the successes and challenges of the agriculture industry, thereby, improving opportunities to discover common ground, share knowledge, and find innovative and collaborative solutions to maintain thriving native ecosystems and sustainable food and agricultural systems. I will be an advocate for local sustainable agriculture by buying local agricultural products, by improving conditions for those working in the agricultural industry, and by supporting land use policies that seek a balance between sustainable agricultural practices and conservation of native ecosystems.”
MA‘O Organic Farms, Assistant Farm Manager | O‘ahu
Born and raised in Hawai‘i Derrick received his BA in Agriculture from University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and completed coursework in Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies at Michigan State University. His work as assistant farm manager allows him to apply and develop his skills in sustainable and organic farming practices on a day-to-day basis. Derrick also engages in “big-picture” initiatives that aim to strengthen the local and sustainable agriculture industry in Hawai‘i through his community work as a volunteer director with the Hawai‘i Peoples Fund and Hawai‘i Food Policy Council.
“There has never been a more exciting time to be in agriculture! I’m excited to be a part of Class XIV and look forward to gaining a deeper understanding of the breadth and complexity of issues surrounding food and agriculture in Hawai‘i.”
BASF, Applied Genetics Manager | Kaua‘i
Kirby was born in an agricultural community in Nebraska and received a BS in Agronomy from the University of Nebraska and a MA in Agriculture at Iowa State University. Currently he is working to develop crops that are higher yielding, more nutritious, or provide renewable resources. Kirby is a director with the Hawai‘i Crop Improvement Association. Kirby’s favorite hobbies are dirt bike riding, running, bicycling, fishing, kayaking, and swimming and he spends time with his family in the water and coaching “ball” sports.
“I love my work because agriculture is absolutely necessary for man’s existence. It is rewarding to be working on something that has true meaning and value, food.”
Kamehameha Schools, Asset Management Director, Land Assets Division | O‘ahu
Born and raised on O‘ahu, Sydney received a BFA in Urban and Regional Design at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and an MBA in Business from Chaminade College. He is part of a team that manages land by balancing educational, economic, cultural, environmental and community values in order to carry out the Kamehameha Schools mission in perpetuity. He also has been a director on the Girl Scouts Hawai‘i board and President of the Honolulu Theatre for Youth board. After designing and building his home on Kāne‘ohe Bay Sydney now enjoys puttering in the yard, paddling in the bay and watching Sunday afternoon movies.
“Diversified agriculture will reconnect native Hawaiians to our tradition of mālama ‘āina and build healthier tomorrows for our keiki. Successful agriculture businesses support Kamehameha Schools’ perpetual mission and can sustain livable communities in which native Hawaiians live, work and play.”
Hawai‘i Agriculture Research Center, Assistant Forester and Plant Breeder | O‘ahu
Born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, Tyler received a BS in Environmental Science from Duke University and an MS in Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, CTAHR. Since living in Hawai‘i his focus has been on crop genetics and traditional plant breeding and he is currently working on disease resistant Acacia koa for restoration efforts and the development of improved energy cane varieties for biofuels. Tyler lives with his wife as the caretakers on an 80-acre experimental farm on windward O‘ahu.
“I love my work for several reasons, but most importantly because it affords me the opportunity to make a living while working to develop solutions that will have economic, ecologic, and cultural benefits to the people of Hawai‘i.”
Ponoholo Ranch, Ltd., Vice President of Production | Hawai‘i
Born and raised on the island of Hawai‘i, Chris earned a BA at Oregon State University. After working in the beef industry on the mainland he returned to a family-owned commercial cattle operation. Additionally he is responsible for all daily ranch operations at Ponoholo Ranch. He is a director on the Mealani Taste of the Hawaiian Range and W.H. Shipman, Ltd boards and VP for Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council. Chris’ passion is to perpetuate the Hawaiian ranching tradition in a responsible manner and to provide a wholesome source of food for his community.
“I have always loved the outdoors and working with animals. No day at the ranch is the same as the last; new and unique challenges are the norm.”
Parker Ranch Inc., Land Manager | Hawai‘i
Born and raised on Hawai‘i Island Brandi has BBA in Accounting from Chaminade University in Honolulu. His land management responsibilities include land use and strategic planning and implementation for many of the Parker Ranch assets, including the Waimea Town Center. He also oversees resource management on the ranch and is a director on the Kohala Watershed Partnership. His family manages a ranching operation on 125 acres of pasture on Hawaiian Homestead lands in Waimea.
“Working for an ag based organization that has been in operation for almost 170 years and is held in perpetuity by a Trust creates a work environment that is much larger than myself. To be a part of its history, working in the capacity that I do, really encourages me to make the best possible decisions I can to ensure this organization and its lands are left in a better condition than when I got here. That’s challenging!”
Small Kine Farm, President | O‘ahu
Owner of O‘ahu Community Recycling and Small Kine Farm, Yang has channeled his appreciation of clear blue waters and sunny skies into passion for preserving the environment and entrepreneurial spirit to create an innovative, sustainable business model. Yang developed a way to repurpose local tree trimmings into valuable substrate for organic mushrooms. After being awarded the USDA Small Business Innovative Research Grant in 2009, he was able to turn his composting research into a certified organic mushroom farm.
“I am a believer of a business model with triple bottom line. People, planet and profit are all equally important to me.”
Veterinarian | Hawai‘i Island
Lisa grew up on the Big Island of Hawai‘i and graduated from Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Colorado State University and a DVM from Washington State University. Following graduation, Lisa moved back home and began work in Kamuela at Veterinary Associates, Inc. She has been involved in several community groups, including Hawaii Quarter Horse Association, Hawaii County 4-H and Hawai‘i Cattlemen’s Association. Most recently, she serves as the Vice President of the Hawai‘i Cattlemen’s Council, the state umbrella group.
“It is a privilege to participate in the Ag Leadership program. I hope to broaden my understanding of different agricultural commodities and to gain a better perspective of the many complex issues our industry faces.”
SunEdison, Community Outreach Coordinator | O‘ahu
Carolyn Unser currently works for SunEdison where she serves as the Community Outreach Coordinator in Hawai‘i which includes grassroots community outreach, interaction at the local and state level, and collaborative efforts with community leaders, residents, and project stakeholders. Her background includes a B.S from the University of Vermont in Plant and Soil Science and a M.S. from the University of Hawai‘i in Natural Resource and Environmental Management with a focus on bioremediation using native Hawaiian wetland plants.
“This paradigm shift that acknowledges nature’s intelligence and willingness to act on climate change requires a network of individuals working toward changing our negative habits. I’m hopeful to meet others interested in and already working towards solutions while enjoying the ride!”
Human and Labor Relations Specialist / Rancher | Maui
After receiving his BBA from Gonzaga University, Jacob brought his education back to Maui in an effort to re-invigorate the rural and agricultural communities of Hawai‘i. Working for Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company in a variety of roles, including planning for the company’s long term success in agriculture, has served as a reminder of the many challenges Hawai‘i agriculture faces. When he isn’t on the plantation, Jacob spends his time working on his pastures, managing his cow calf operation in East Maui.
“The foundation of economics, supply and demand, gives hope and promise that sustainable agriculture in Hawai‘i is a model worth investing in. Through honest leadership and discourse, I believe that agriculture can help diversify and preserve the Hawai‘i we all love.”
Regulatory Education and Outreach Specialist | O‘ahu
Having worked in tourism since 1996, Steve made the logical choice to come to Hawai‘i in 2001. He attended the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource and Environmental Management. In 2009, Steve became an inspector with the department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Program. Three years ago, he moved from the enforcement section to the education section of the program where he now focuses his efforts on educating farmers on safe pesticide use, minimizing environmental impacts while using pesticides, integrated pest management and related topics. Steve is an avid hiker, SCUBA diver, gardener and surfer and loves all things outdoors.
“The possibilities of the future shouldn’t be controlled by the limitations of the past.”
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Wildlife Access and Acquisitions Coordinator, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit | O‘ahu
David grew up in the Hudson River Valley, migrating to Hawai‘i after working in construction, fuel extraction, and golf course/ski area operations across the Rocky Mountains. In partnership with the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife, he promotes the value of wild game animals for food security and fosters cooperation among hunters, natural resource managers, and agricultural producers. David earned advanced degrees in geography and law and serves on the Honolulu Clean Water and Natural Lands Commission.
“Agriculture forms the backbone of our past and future island society, rooted in precise environmental observations that underlie native Hawaiian beliefs, values, and practices. The Agricultural Leadership Program provides unique opportunities to create synergy between traditional and contemporary production systems.”
Kamehameha Schools, Land Asset Manager | O‘ahu
Joey Char is a Land Asset Manager with Kamehameha Schools, a private charitable educational trust endowed by the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop to improve the capability and well-being of Hawaiians through education. Joey oversees a portfolio that includes Punalu‘u Valley, a lush ahupua‘a located in Windward O‘ahu consisting of 300 acres of diversified agriculture, 3,200 acres of conservation land, and 36 residential beach lots. He also manages 110 acres of diversified agriculture and 3,700 acres of conservation land in East O‘ahu from Hawai‘i Kai to Mānoa. For more information on the Kamehameha Schools mission and its Land Assets Division, visit http://www.ksbe.edu/land/index.
“In life there is no summit. Enjoy the climb.”
Kua‘āina Ulu ‘Auamo (KUA), Network Coordinator | O‘ahu
KUA is a local non-profit, with a mission to support community-driven mālama ‘āina efforts across the islands. Alex serves as the E Alu Pū network coordinator, linking 31 grassroots organizations to together increase their effectiveness in caring for their biocultural heritage. Alex is a dancer of Hālau Mōhala ‘Ilima and lives in Waipao with her partner, Rick Barboza and their two keiki.
“I am excited to learn from and collaborate with the cohort on ways to strengthen food security and contribute to ‘āina momona. In this, I believe the more connected we are to each other and our places, the better we can work together and the healthier our communities and food systems will be.”
Kualoa Ranch, Director of Agriculture and Land Stewardship | O‘ahu
Taylor was born and raised in Kailua, O‘ahu and earned his degree in Tropical Agriculture from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. His career began with pineapple at Del Monte Fresh Produce in Kunia, and then with Maui Pineapple Company in Hāli‘imaile. Taylor then spent eight years working for Hawai‘i’s seed industry as an operations manager for Monsanto Kunia. Currently he is the Director of Agriculture and Land Stewardship for Kualoa Ranch where he oversees the livestock, aquaculture, and diversified agriculture departments as well as maintains the property through invasive flora control, encouragement of native species, and proper conservation practices.
“Agriculture is unique in the sense that the work of few impacts the lives of many. It is up to us to ensure that this impact is positive for both now and the future. The only way we can accomplish this is by working together.”
Growing Together Fruit Tree Grafting, Owner
Drew grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida and graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in Biology and Earth Science Education in 2006. He moved to Hawai‘i in 2008 and began studying and practicing permaculture design, installing edible landscapes, and volunteering as a lead designer with Permablitz Hawaii. Currently he is working on an urban agriculture project called Kaka‘ako Ocean Friendly Garden and recently opened his own business based “Growing Together Fruit Tree Grafting.” Drew has a passion for surfing and cooking farm fresh local meals with friends.
Green Point Nurseries, Inc., Production Manager | Hawai‘i Island
Born and raised in East Hawai‘i of the Big Island of Hawai‘i, Jon received a B.S. in Agriculture, specializing in Tropical Horticulture from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. After graduation, Jon joined his family owned and operated nursery, Green Point Nurseries, located in Hilo, where he currently oversees production. As a third-generation nursery person, he hopes to continue the family business by promoting and sharing Hawai‘i Floriculture with Hawai‘i, the U.S., and the world. He also currently serves as the President of the Orchid Growers of Hawai‘i.
Kaua‘i Community Science Center, Founder | Kaua‘i
Sarah was born and raised in Massachusetts, growing up on her family’s small fruits nursery, Nourse Farms. Inc. Sarah has a B.S. in Plant Science from Cornell University, M.Sc. in Crop Science specializing in Plant Breeding from Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands, and a Ph.D. in Horticulture from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In 2019 Sarah founded SMNS, LLC and is starting a non-profit to develop a Kauaʻi Community Science Center in Waimea. She worked the last 17 years as a Scientist for Corteva Agriscience™ Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™, also in Waimea. Sarah worked at the Research Division of Ferry Morse Seed Company in San Juan Bautista, California for three years and she also worked as a post-doc at USDA-ARS Fruit Lab in Beltsville, MD prior to returning to Hawaiʻi and starting with then Pioneer on Kauaʻi in 2002. Sarah lives in Hanapēpē with her husband and 15-year-old daughter. She enjoys spending her free time with her family, gardening, and outrigger canoe paddling.
Kamehameha Schools, Director, Asset Management (O‘ahu) | O‘ahu
Born on Wake Island, rooted on Maui, and living on O‘ahu, Dana earned a B.A. in Political Science from Gonzaga University and a Juris Doctorate from the William S. Richardson School of Law. She is a licensed real estate attorney with nearly 30 years of experience. Dana joined Kamehameha Schools as a Senior Counsel supporting Kamehameha Schools’ statewide ‘āina teams. In her current position, she oversees a team that manages the Schools’ agricultural, conservation, and residential lands on the islands of Maui, Moloka‘i, Kauaʻi and Oʻahu. Dana’s passion is helping people to be successful and when it comes to ʻāina and agriculture, she’s always looking for opportunities to help farmers get to the “next level.” Dana also serves as a director on the board of the Hawai‘i Agriculture Research Center. On most Saturdays, you will find her volunteering at Keiki O Ka ʻĀina’s Board and Stone classes, where she is helping to “build families” through cultural learning.
Kāko‘o ‘Oiwi, Farm Manager | O‘ahu
Born and raised on O‘ahu, Nick has already had a lifetime of agricultural experience. Growing up on a highly diversified family farm gave Nick an intuitive understanding of cultivating and caring for the land. After graduating from Occidental College with a B.A. in Visual Arts, Nick’s creativity took root once again in agriculture, working on the family farm, running his own small nursery business, and later managing lo‘i kalo for Papahana Kuaola, a Native Hawaiian educational non-profit. Nick’s life then took him to New Hampshire, where for two years, he and his partner established and managed a diversified farm program for Sanborn Mills Farm, growing mixed vegetables, raising sheep, and making maple syrup. After spending 6 months travelling the US learning from and working with other farmers, Nick took up the position of Farm Manager for Kāko‘o ‘Oiwi. His current work focuses on wetland kalo production and agroforestry as part of a diversified system of agricultural, ecological and cultural restoration in He‘eia.
Glow Hawaii, Inc., Chef, Life Coach, Educator | Hawai‘i Island
Olelo pa‘a completed the Culinary Program at the University of Hawai‘i in the 1970s and has since become a highly sought-after private chef. Olelo pa‘a, a name bestowed upon her meaning “forever, the very spark of existence,” is recognized as one of the most steady and vigorous voices in support of Hawai‘i’s produce and ranch farming communities. Over the course of greater than 40 years, Olelo pa‘a has provided voluminous leadership skills to countless individuals seeking a better understanding of culinary excellence and how that can only be successful with a symbiotic relationship between farmers, ranchers and chefs. Olelo pa‘a is recognized as one of Hawai‘i’s coterie of pioneering and progressive chefs placing the cuisine of the Hawaiian Islands on the world culinary map and has recently expanded her gifts by becoming a holistic life coach.
USDA Farm Service Agency, FSA Farm Loan Manager | Maui
Buddy is a 4th generation farmer of fruits, vegetables, row crops, and livestock. He has a B.S. degree in Animal Science and M.B.A. in Accounting. Buddy has served on numerous local, state, and national farm-related boards of directors in the cooperative, association, and private sectors. In addition to supporting farmers in Maui County through federal loans, Buddy ensures that his family farm in Colorado remains in operation.
Farmer | Hawai‘i Island
Julia is originally from Munich, Germany and received a B.S. in Horticultural Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan. She has production farming experience in Romania, Italy, France, Germany, and Hawai‘i. Julia served as one of Hawai‘i’s first FoodCorps service members at Māla‘ai — the Culinary Garden at Waimea Middle School. She is currently assisting the Discovery Garden at Kohala Elementary School to develop a food safety plan. Her hope is that an increasing amount of healthy and locally sourced food can be made available in Hawai‘i’s school cafeterias. Together with her husband, she is starting a cacao farm in Laupāhoehoe where they also grow a broad variety of fruits and vegetables.
Lydgate Farms, LLC., Owner and Manager | Kaua‘i
Will was born in California to a family with agriculture on both sides: The Lydgates going back to Laupāhoehoe sugar plantation on Hawai‘i island in the 1870s, and the Hibbs family who raised corn and soybeans since the early 1900s in Iowa. Will grew up with a latent fascination for plants and agriculture and a thirst to discover his family’s Hawaiian history. Also, an accomplished musician, Will has a B.M. from Berklee College of Music in Boston and an M.M. from their Valencia, Spain campus. Will runs his family’s cacao operation — pioneers of ag-tourism in Hawai‘i, and is helping to show growers the important keys to profitability contained in value-added sales. Will is an accomplished public speaker and his TEDx talk ‘Changing the Way We Think About Chocolate’ sheds light on the specialty chocolate movement, which is based on fine flavor in chocolate growing and post-harvest processing.
Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Administrator and Chief Engineer | O‘ahu
Brian was born and raised in Honolulu. He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering with areas of emphasis in geotechnical and environmental engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. His position in the Department allows him to participate in policy making for the use of public land and water resources to promote the growth of diversified agriculture in Hawai‘i. Brian is also a certified substitute teacher for a low-income public school and an avid DIY’er. When not working, Brian enjoys spending time with his family, woodworking, reading, exercising, and eating at dives.
Bayer, Land Asset Manager | Maui
Yarrow was raised in rural northern California and received a B.A. in Sociology from Humboldt State University. She has worked in agriculture and land use in Hawai‘i for more than 13 years and currently manages land and water resources for Bayer on the islands of Maui, Moloka‘i and O‘ahu. Her duties include strategic planning, managing tenant leases for local farmers, and supporting her company’s values of sustainable agriculture. Yarrow is passionate about volunteering in her community and serves as a board director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hawai‘i and she chairs the Maui County Civil Service Commission. She enjoys gardening and beekeeping, hiking, and spending time at home in Makawao with her husband and 3 dogs.
Hawai‘i Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Acting Homestead District Supervisor | Moloka‘i
Gene Ross was born and raised on Moloka‘i. He is a third generation Homesteader living a rural lifestyle of farming and gathering. He continues to practice the old traditions of the Hawaiian culture and provides for his family through subsistence and sustainable farming. Gene Ross graduated from Moloka‘i High School and attended Brigham Young University of Hawai‘i, graduating with a B.A. in Biological Science. Governor Ige appointed him as the Hawaiian Homes Commissioner to represent Moloka‘i to work statewide on Hawaiian Home Land issues. In September 2017, he became the Acting Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Homestead District Supervisor, overseeing and managing day-to-day operations of the District Office. Prior to that, he was with the Department of Agriculture for 17 years, as a Livestock Inspector II.
Hawai‘i Agriculture Research Center, Kunia Research Station Farm Manager | O‘ahu
Jayme was born in Oregon and lived in California and Nevada before moving to Hawai‘i in 2004. She received a M.A. in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development with an emphasis in Environmental Policy from Hawai‘i Pacific University. She began her career in agricultural research at HARC in 2009 and currently manages the Kunia Research Farm in addition to providing agronomic consulting services to businesses throughout the state and abroad. Her research has focused on renewable energy crop development, soil health and conservation practices, carbon sequestration potential, and developing sources of locally produced animal feed. Jayme lives with her husband and puppy as caretakers on the 108-acre farm in Kunia and enjoys sailing, traveling and spending time in the water.
Executive & Program Director
Christine was born and raised in rural Pennsylvania but moved to Windward O‘ahu in 1993. She attended Chaminade University for her bachelor’s degree and then continued her education at Hawai‘i Pacific University. Christine’s career began as a Project Manager for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. After fourteen years with NOAA, Christine opened her own small business where she continued to offer project management and other consulting services. Christine began supporting ALFH’s work as an independent contractor in 2014 and 2015 when she coordinated a youth leadership scholarship program. She returned to ALFH in 2017 to provide leadership and professional expertise in the development and delivery of the 2017 Hawai‘i Agriculture Conference. Christine became the Executive & Program Director for ALFH in November of 2017 where she brought with her 18+ years of experience in planning, development, implementation, and communication of a range of programs. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, cats and dog, traveling, paddling, swimming, biking, and hiking.
Sarah grew up on a small cattle farm in Hope, NJ and graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Business Logistics. Upon graduation, she was commissioned into the United States Air Force as a Logistics Readiness Officer. She began her career overseeing the preparation and deployment of personnel and equipment to contingencies around the world and then worked in supply chain management positions. Assignments to Germany, Turkey and Iraq led Sarah to jobs managing international logistics relationships. Sarah left the Air Force in 2009 to provide a more stable home life for her family. She also spent her time mentoring younger military wives, using her logistical expertise to develop planning tools for military families, and volunteering in her community. Sarah began working for ALFH in 2019 while her husband was stationed in Hawai‘i. She and her family are currently stationed in Oklahoma where she continues to support ALFH through the wonders of telework. She enjoys spending her free time with her husband and two daughters, hiking, kayaking and sewing.
Sensei Ag, Director of Sales and Business Development | O‘ahu, Lana‘i
Blair Richards was born in Washington State and relocated to Hawai‘i in 2016. Blair started working in the agriculture sector as a seasonal employee for Charlie’s Produce while studying at Washington State. He joined Charlie’s full-time where he enjoyed a successful 15-year career. He then became General Manager of Rogge Co., a division of Charlie’s that specializes in providing goods and services to Alaska. Upon relocating to Hawai‘i, Blair became Chief Operating Officer of D. Otani Produce, a family-run distribution company located in Honolulu. In 2018, he joined Sensei Ag as Director of Sales and Business Development. Blair’s passion is to connect people with food — sharing the experience and journey with others.
No Spray Hawai‘i, Farm Manager & Co-Creator | Hawai‘i
Laura Rieber obtained a B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo with a focus on sustainability and agriculture business. She designed, created, and maintains a one-acre agroforestry operation along with her partner on Hawai‘i Island. It produces most of their dietary needs as well as supplies the crops which support the small business they founded through value adding. She is a Master Gardener, Forest Steward, consulted both privately and for non-profits, as well as created various educational material for regenerative farming practices in the tropics helping to guide over 60 W.W.O.O.F. (World Wide on Organic Farms) volunteers. One of her current projects is the transformation of a one-acre “yard” surrounding a house on former sugar-cane land into a high-density, sustainable food forest with perennial edibles and a variety of fruit trees. A love for the land and a passion for knowledge combined with the desire to teach others is what drives Laura Rieber to continually grow within the agriculture sector.
Kualoa Ranch, Sustainability Manager | O‘ahu
Stephanie Mock was raised in Maryland and received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and International Development from Tulane University where she focused on environmental economics and conservation in international countries. She studied abroad in Accra, Ghana and also in Costa Rica with the Organization of Tropical Studies. She has backpacked around Southeast Asia extensively and was an English teacher in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for some time. During her travels, she picked up a love of scuba diving which initially brought her to Hawai‘i in her aim of becoming a divemaster. The ocean may have enticed her to Hawai‘i but the land is what has made her stay. For the past five years, Stephanie has worked hand-inhand with local farms and ranches on conservation planning, soil health, marketing, agritourism, and sustainability planning. She currently serves as a board member of the Sustainable Tourism Association of Hawai‘i. When she’s not working, Stephanie is daydreaming of her next trip, brainstorming new value-added Hawai‘i products, or laying outside reading a book.
Umi’s Store, Owner | Kaua‘i
Umi Martin was born and raised on the west side of Kaua‘i, where he currently lives and operates a small retail store, Umi’s Store, as well as Umi’s Farm, a high density tropical fruit farm. Umi has a B.S. in Psychology from Missouri Valley College. He began farming in 2006, growing taro and other vegetables, on an acre of Kuleana land that has belonged to his family since the beginning of private property in Hawai‘i. In 2016, Umi moved his farm to the next town over to begin a tropical fruit orchard, with mango as his primary crop. Umi loves spending time with his wife and kids while enjoying the good life on Kaua‘i. His goals are to grow and improve Hawai‘i’s tropical fruit industry by incorporating new innovative techniques that have been very successful for other tropical fruit growers throughout the world.
Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Environmental Health Specialist | O‘ahu
Victoria “Tory” Matsumura has had a love of all things buggy since a young girl. She moved to Hawai‘i in 2007 after completing her Master’s Degree in Entomology from Purdue University. She began her career working as an entomologist at the Vector Control Branch at the Department of Health, where she met her future husband, Kevin. After a reduction in force in 2009, she left the HDOH to work in private pest control, where she worked as the technical director and entomologist for a large, locally owned pest control company. After three years of cockroaches, bedbugs, and many other urban pests, Victoria pursued dreams of working with pesticide regulations at the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. Tory loves regulatory work and has always wanted to pursue the ideal that there must be people to maintain balance between the ability to produce the food people need, and the protection of human health and the environment. In her free time, Tory loves spending time with her husband and two kids, cooking, learning home improvement, beautiful walks, and of course, enjoying a coffee and a nice conversation.
Kamehameha Schools, Sustainability Manager | O‘ahu
Amy “Kālai” Brinker is the Sustainability Manager for Kamehameha Schools, supporting sustainability strategy and programming across the enterprise. Amy works to identify triple-bottom line outcomes that benefit the community, environment, and economy for topics such as water, energy, waste, emissions, food systems, and ʻāina. Amy graduated from the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law with Environmental and Native Hawaiian Law certificates. While completing her legal education, Amy founded the Legalize Pa‘i ‘Ai movement and drafted legislation to indigenize state law to recognize the traditional culinary practice of pounding poi. She is a member of the 2014 class of Forty Under Forty Business Leaders by Pacific Business News. Her past work includes roles such as: facilitator of the Honolulu Living Building Challenge Collaborative, member of the State Water Conservation Advisory Board, president of the Hawai‘i Food Policy Council, alaka‘i for poi board and poi stone carving classes for the community.
Bird and Bee, Owner | Hawai‘i
Susan Collins is the owner of Bird and Bee Hawai‘i, LLC apiary. She is also currently a librarian in the Hawai‘i Public Library System. She holds a Bachelors degree in Social Work and Environmental Education; a Masters degree in International Education from Teachers College/Columbia University; and a Masters in Information and Technology Science. Susan grew up on a small farm in New Jersey. She taught environmental education in Nicaragua through the Peace Corps in 2001–2003 and in Panama in 2010. She currently lives on 5 acres with her husband and a menagerie of animals and apiary. Her goal is to educate others about the importance of honey bees and pollinators in the area of agriculture in Hawai’i.
County of Hawai‘i Food Access Coordinator | Hawai‘i
Sarah was born in Missouri, where she grew up homesteading with her family. She holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies from UC Berkeley and is a trained Natural Chef. She moved to Hawai’i in 2017 and worked for HIP Agriculture as their Farm Manager and Managing Director. Currently, she is the Food Access Coordinator for the County of Hawai’i and facilitates the Hawai‘i Island Food Alliance. In her position, she works with diverse partners to expand collaboration on projects such as healthy food access, addresses challenges in local agriculture and emergency food planning, conducts a food system study, and is developing a Food Action Plan. As a member of the Farm to School Hui she is supporting the development and implementation of the Farm to School and Garden to Cafeteria Programs statewide. At home, she stewards a tropical fruit orchard and poultry flock in Hamakua and loves being creative in the kitchen and sharing food and laughter with others.
President, CS Accounting & Tax Services, Inc.
Financial Advisor, Vision Wealth Strategies, LLC
Matt is the President at CS Accounting & Tax Services Inc., (CSATS) a CPA firm in Honolulu, Hawai‘i specializing in accounting and tax consulting for small businesses and individuals. His career path has not been a typical one for an accountant and has allowed him a broad range of experiences. Prior to joining CSATS, he was the Director of Financial Reporting at The Gas Company (now Hawai‘i Gas), a gas utility company in Honolulu and the Assistant Controller for Alexander & Baldwin in Corporate Accounting. At both companies he was responsible for corporate reporting both internal and external to the company as well as budgeting, planning and internal controls. Matt began his accounting career as an auditor with Ernst & Young in the Honolulu office where he was an audit manager before joining Alexander & Baldwin. Before his CPA career he served as a nuclear trained mechanical engineer aboard two fast attack submarines based in Pearl Harbor, and had the opportunity to visit many countries along the Pacific Rim. After his tour of duty in the US Navy he brought his engineering experience to the H-Power plant in Kapolei, Hawai‘i where he was part of the startup team. Matt is a CPA licensed in Hawai‘i. He attended the Hawai‘i Pacific University for his accounting degree and the University of Hawai‘i for his MBA (EMBA 14). Matt now lives in Mililani. As a past treasurer and now advisor for ALFH, Matt has enjoyed supporting the organization’s work to help shape future leaders in agriculture.
Pacific Center for Collaboration
For over 30 years, Donna served on the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources faculty at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. During that time, one of her primary responsibilities was coordinating the Agricultural Leadership Program which was an intensive, 18-month training program that included statewide and mainland seminars. Donna is one of Hawai‘i’s premier practitioners of group facilitation and the founder of the Pacific Center for Collaboration. Donna’s workshops on leadership, facilitation, group process, and strategic planning are very popular with participants from non-profit, for-profit, and government organizations. In her role as a practitioner, Donna facilitates a variety of meetings in community and organizational settings. As a consultant, she is sought after for her expertise in facilitating strategic planning initiatives.
Vice President, Investments
As a vice president, Jesse provides financial and technical due diligence for investment decisions on various projects. His main focus at Ulupono has been to seek and support organizations that are working to increase local food production in the islands. Jesse oversees a team of investment associates and provides crucial guidance on Ulupono’s agricultural strategy. His financial knowledge helps Ulupono decide which investments are worthwhile to meet its mission of creating more local food for Hawai‘i’s families. A graduate of St. Louis School in Honolulu, Jesse earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory University and a Master of Business Administration from the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. Prior to joining Ulupono, he worked at Hawaiian Airlines, The Walt Disney Company, Harren Equity Partners and the Wachovia Leveraged Finance Group. He is a recognized CFA® charterholder and is a member of the CFA® Society of Hawai‘i.