President, James Simpliciano is a fine-dining chef turned farmer. He is the owner of Simpli-Fresh Produce, a 20-acre farm in Lahaina that grows 50 different crops. James is a co-founder of HFUU’s Farm Apprentice Mentoring (FAM) program and is dedicated to cultivating our future farmers through hands-on education, which includes a current project to create a farm operation and business plan for marketing the multiple uses of the moringa tree. As farm director for the 12.5-acre Kuʻia Agricultural Center, he also collaborates with young farmers to grow ʻulu (breadfruit). In addition, he is the state vice president for Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers.
Vice president, Jordan Longman, is the manager at the weekly Līpoa St. Farmers Market in Kīhei, orchard manager at Kaimanu Estate Farm and Nani Ola Estate Farm, and sits on the board of directors at the Maui Hemp Institute. In addition, he is a farm mentor with HFUU’s Farm Apprentice Mentoring (FAM) program. Jordan aims to not only preserve plant diversity through regenerative practices, but also help build a community that works to protect our ʻāina.
Chapter Secretary Lehia Apana is a backyard farmer and an award-winning editor, journalist, and travel-book author who has worked across a variety of media platforms. Born and raised on Maui, she has been writing about her home for more than a decade, beginning as a reporter, then Special Sections Editor at The Maui News. She is currently the Managing Editor at Maui Nō Ka ʻOi and Kāʻanapali magazines. As HFUU Mauna Kahalawai secretary, Lehia combines her communication experience and passion for local agriculture to promote food security in Hawaiʻi.
Chapter Treasurer, 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 of greens on a 2,000 square-feet in Wailuku. She and Vincent started the first chapter of Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United in Hawaiʻi. Irene is eco-logical farmer who works to increase soil health in Hawaiʻi through education, outreach programs, seminars and conferences. She is cofounder of Maui Aloha ʻĀina Association and a board member from 2001 to 2013, and is a graduate of the Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawaiʻi.
Director, Bobby Pahia is the farm manager at Hoaloha Farms. The farm supplies its parent restaurant company Na Hoaloha Ekolu (Star Noodle, Old Lahaina Lūʻau and Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina, as well as Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop in Olowalu) with several varieties of kalo and other crops. Raised in rural O‘ahu, the green-thumbed Hawaiian moved to Maui in the 1980s to work for the University of Hawai‘i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Today Bobby grows two-dozen heirloom kalo varieties on his Waikapū farm, including mana ‘ulu, the popular Maui lehua, and the rare ele‘ele naioea.
Director, Gerry Dameron, is executive director of the Go Green Culture Foundation, a 501C(3) charitable trust foundation that does research, publishing, and project management for full spectrum sustainability on the community and town level. Gerry is a sustainability and eco justice advocate and speaker, and he is the author of the upcoming book Sustainability Solutions, 50 Best Practices from Leading Communities.
Director, Vincent Mina is a founding member of HFUU and is the current Hawaii state president of National Farmers Union. Since 1993, he and wife Irene have co-owned and operated their urban family farm in Wailuku named Kahanu ʻĀina Greens, LLC. The 2,000 square-foot organic farm produces about 500 pounds of greens weekly including sunflower, pea, radish and wheatgrass that are grown in a plant-based compost that has been recycled and cultured over the past 23 years. He is also the chair of the National Farmers Union special committee on Regenerative Agriculture Local Food (RALF).