HFU Regenerative Business Development - 2017 Class Showcase

Meet the 2017 HFU Regenerative Business Development 12-week webinar series  participants - people who have dedicated themselves to the cause of a vibrant local economy fueled by nutritionally dense food grown locally via regenerative farming practices.

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Briana Rodrique

Briana Rodrique is a substitute teacher who, thanks to this webinar, is interested in becoming an entrepreneur. Although her background is in physics, she grew an appreciation for sustainability and local agriculture. She and her husband Jake hope to create a permaculture farm in the coming years, as well as a worm castings business and programs for agricultural education and getting high school students interested in business.


Lehia Apana
Farmer, Editor, Journalist, Author

Lehia is currently the Managing Editor at Maui Nō Ka ʻOi and Kāʻanapali magazines. She and her husband Brad are currently working to revive their three-acre Waiehu property—which was formerly in kalo production—into a thriving edible landscape. As Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United Mauna Kahalawai secretary, Lehia combines her communication experience and passion for local agriculture to promote food security in Hawaiʻi.

Joining Brad and Lehia are Bradʻs parents Leona and Richard Morgan who are developing an edible mushroom business.


Brad Bayless

Brad Bayless’ earliest memories include working alongside his grandma in the garden, which sparked his passion for all things horticulture. Many years later he was introduced to cannabis as a recommendation to help ease his chronic back pain caused by a bodysurfing accident in his early 20s. Experiencing positive effects of medical cannabis started a chain reaction of growing other edible crops, and eventually learning organic soil building and integrated pest management. Brad and his wife Lehia are currently working to restore their three-acre property in Waiehu, which were previously in kalo production.

Jana Bogs

Dr. Jana Bogs
Author, Researcher, Consultant

Dr. Jana Bogs is a nutritionist turned horticulturist and educator who is developing online interactive course “Perfect Soil” to compliment her face-to-face consulting.  She has also written a book summarizing her work titled Beyond Organic… Growing for Maximum Nutrition and Flavor.which has hit #1 in two categories on Amazon.com.  Learn more on her website at www.BeyondOrganicConsulting.com

Irene Plunkett Mina+

Irene Plunkett-Mina
Kahanu ʻĀina Greens, LLC

Irene Plunkett-Mina has owned and operated Kahanu ʻĀina Greens, LLC with her husband Vincent since 1994. This small urban family farm produces about 500 pounds a week of greens on a 2,000 square-feet in Wailuku. She and Vincent started the first chapter of Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United in Hawaiʻi.


Eli Nygren
Maui Sake Brewery

Eli Nygren is a husband, sake brewer, aspiring entrepreneur, and graphic designer. Born and raised on Maui, he grew up with a strong connection to food, nature, and community. After attending college in Portland, OR, Eli lived and worked in Japan for 3+ years, where he discovered his love for sake through his volunteer work growing rice with a farmer in Niigata Prefecture. Eli's mission is to demystify sake and make it more accessible by starting the first (current) locally-owned, locally-produced sake brewery in Hawai'i. He also plans to re-ignite an interest in organic locally-grown rice through rice farming in the near future.

Aram Armstrong

Aram Armstrong
Design Thinking Educator

Aram is a design thinking educator, innovation catalyst and creative technologist from Maui. He has worked internationally in executive education at the Fung Academy and as an interaction designer at IDEO in San Francisco and Shanghai. He is the founder of Generative Ventures Hawaii and artLABMaui.


Winsome Williams
Agroforestry & Innovative Housing

Winsome is creating a up-cycled, off the grid ag building/yoga studio using Earthship principles and localized materials.  She is a co-creator at Fairy Land Farm and Forest LLC in Keokea where their mission is to use agroforestry, pasture land, and permaculture methods to regenerate and honor the land while inspiring community. As a team of 6, their goal is to instill a sense of magic, joy and connection with nature with all who visit the farm.


Ashley OʻColmain
Petaloom Floral Co.

Ashley recently graduated from phase one of the Hawaii Farmers Union Farmer Apprentice Mentorship program. The experience has helped realize her vision of a regenerative farm growing non-tropical cut flowers and vegetables. In March of 2017, Ashley started the Petaloom Floral Co. as a family business with her mother and sister. Ashley is also the assistant director of the environmental education non-profit, the Maui Huliau Foundation. Their latest project is to make all of Maui’s community events waste free. @petaloomfloralco @huliaufoundation. Website


Tim Gunter

Tim Gunter
Maui Earth Composting

Tim Gunter grew up in Minnesota on a family farm where they grew grain, soybeans and operated fertilizer and animal feed plants.  Tim moved to Hawaii in 1979 to work for Haleakala Ranch.  In 1989 he helped launch Mauiʻs first biosolids composting business at the Puunene land fill.   Two years later he started Maui Earth Composting to support organic farmers and over the years he has worked with over 4,000 back yard gardeners and farmers.

The HFU is working with Tim to create a economically sustainable and easily duplicatable commercial soil amendment operation incorporating the generation and use of renewable energy.  The business plan for this is the first coming out of the class ready for investors.


Christopher Spezzano

Christopher Spezzano
Form & Matter - Online Technology for Food System

The food we eat today can be sourced locally by creating a secure food network.   Given the growing amount of technologies available, it can be overwhelming to find the exact solutions that we need.  The need to use fifteen different apps is obsolete, all of your digital technologies can be brought under one roof to save on time and money.

Our team has developed their skills through years of working with both public and private sectors, including such organizations as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, various private and non-profit organizations in fields such as community development, online and mobile development, business and economic development, and education and research development.

Blaine & Beth

Blaine & Beth Apo
Maui Crisps

Blaine and Beth Apo have been developing value added products including thinly sliced beef jerky as well as fruit leathers with a the goal of being primarily sourced with Maui raised and grown ingredients.  They have been at this over the last three years starting  in the certified kitchen of their family-owned gas station before moving in to their own soon to be USDA approved facility.   This involved working with David Fisher to create a business plan, getting loans and grants, developing financial and safety accounting systems.  Blaine and Beth are sharing this experience with the class while developing their team and exploring expansion plans with new products being careful not to grow too fast.



Janell and James Simpliciano

James (Kimo) Simpliciano Farm-to-Plate advocate James  has come full-circle in fostering the art of farming for culinary using the freshest sourced locally- grown fruits and vegetables.  While farming, he takes initiative to mentor students who aspire to be future farmers, talented chefs, and environmental engineers.  James also leads the West Maui Chapter of the Hawaii Farmers Union.    http://www.simpli-fresh.com/

Reba and Devin

Reba OʻDay and Devin Lopez
Birds with Arms Farms

We are a third generation farm spanning 25 acres in Haiku, Hawaii.

We are looking to provide our community in Maui the most nutritious and best tasting fruits and vegetables on the island.  Including mangosteen, heart of palm, and sugar cane.  Local food tastes better and is better for you!

Reba is also representing Hawaii as one of 20 in the National Farmers Union Beginning Farmer Institute for 2017-18.  http://www.olaponofarms.com


Vincent Mina
Farmer/Educator/Community Leader

Husband, father of two, President & founding member of HFUU. Since 1993, Vince & wife, Irene, have co-owned organically managed urban family farm, Kahanu Aina Greens LLC.  Chair of Natl. Farmers Union special committee “Regenerative Agriculture Local Food” (RALF). Loves to farm/garden, swim in the ocean & jacuzzi in Iao river.


David Fisher
Small Business and Community Consultant

Getting “hands on” developing a small diversified backyard garden in Huelo. 27 years experience on Maui helping small businesses.  Working on an enterprise accelerator for the “slow” movement – working name: Hawaii Community Exchange.  Much traveled youth via a Foreign Service family, played bass in the Maui Highlife Band. Husband & father.

Get Involved!

The best way to add your voice to our efforts to promote regenerative farming practices is by becoming a member. Interested in getting more involved? Join a committee, or the board of your local chapter. For more information about how you might get involved, contact the HFUU communications chair; hfuu@hfuuhi.org.