Hawai'i Island-East Hawai'i-Chapter
Chapter Notes: The East Hawai'i Chapter is on Hawai'i Island.
Meeting Schedule: Quarterly
Meeting Time: Varies*
Meeting Location: Varies*
*Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified of the time and place of upcoming meetings, potlucks and educational events.
President, Eric Drake Weinert Jr. was born to legendary fruit tree propagator Eric Sr. in an orchard on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Drake loves building machines that build machines and studied Computer Science when he realized that the best artificial intelligence software is that which mimics nature. He has been the most persistent Korean Natural Farmer and has now inherited much kuleana to spread the microbes to the world. He joined HFUU because he believes all farmers need a space to come to the table around good food. We are an endangered species and we need to create love with one another to sustain all humanity.
Vice President, Yuri Zhuraw, is a graduate of UH Hilo college of Agriculture and specializes in tropical fruit and, in particular, coconuts. Yuri has been farming on various properties in Hamakua for almost ten years. A pioneer of local business entrepreneurship, Yuri has helped organize and educate many young farmers. As part of HFUU, Yuri hopes to build legislation that encourages local business and production.
Secretary, Jess Sobocinski, is a school garden educator and ecological literacy specialist and has been working in schools on the Big Island since she moved to Hawaiʻi after graduating from Indiana University in 2013. Growing up in Indiana, Jess developed a passion for growing food as a tool for building community and connecting people with the natural world that sustains us all. As part of HFUU, Jess hopes to help expand local food production and support beginning farmers!
Treasurer, Aleysia-Rae K. Kaha, is very happy to serve the East Hawai`i Chapter Board as Treasurer. She currently works with UH Hilo’s College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management as an embedded advisor, working with the students to make stronger connections within their college and community. Aleysia and her family own and are cultivating a 1-acre homestead, and also participate and support various other agricultural programs.
Board Member, Chris Hardenbrook, and his wife own 13-Mile Farm in Kurtistown. This family farm integrates Natural Farming and permaculture principles to raise chickens for egg production. They are members of the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association and the Sustainable Poultry Network, and are now raising a flock of Standard Heritage chickens to breed a sustainable source of high-quality, utility chickens for small family farms and homesteaders in Hawai'i. Bringing food sustainability back to Hawai'i is their passion. Chris is the chapter Communications Chair.
Board Member, Ala Keolanui, was born and raised on Hawai'i island and grew up in Keaukaha. Her Dad saved up enough money to buy land in Waiakea Uka to run a small-scale cattle operation to feed his wife and seven children. Ala spent most of her childhood on this land and it exposed her to the outdoors. She admits she was never really into 'farming' until she met her husband 11 years ago, and he supported her in leaving her job at a prestigious school to work with him on their farm, OK Farms. Ala has been at OK Farms for the past four years supporting her husband, managing tours that come to the farm, running the gift shop, developing markets for spices and marketing the farm products general. Ala is looking forward to growing and learning with HFUU and HFUU East Hawai’i Chapter 'ohana. Mahalo piha!