Chapter Notes: Commonly referred to as the “West Maui Mountains,” Mauna Kahalawai is in fact a single mountain that spans across Maui’s north, central, and west side communities. Our chapter serves farmers and community members within this district, which also includes the sacred Nā Wai ʻEha (“The Four Waters) that flow on the windward side of Mauna Kahalawai.
Despite a mild climate and year-round growing season, Hawai‘i currently imports an estimated 90 percent of its food. We believe that a multitude of diversified farms that implement regenerative food production techniques will create a resilient, vital, and productive agricultural system to better feed Hawaiʻi’s people.
We are proud to support HFUU initiatives including the Farm Apprentice Mentoring (FAM) program, Regenerative Business Development classes, and volunteer work days on local farms.
In addition, we host monthly locavore potlucks that include chef presentations, educational speakers, and networking opportunities.
You donʻt have to be a farmer to join us! Backyard gardeners, curious community members, and anyone who is concerned about where our food comes from are welcome.
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 budding 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. She and her husband are currently working to revive their three-acre Waiehu property, which was formerly in kalo production, into a thriving edible landscape. 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, Thomas Allen “Toma” Craig is an engineer/consultant trained in environmental health, permaculture, organic-farm standards, hydrology and efficiency audits for energy-water-farm resource management. He previously supervised the operation of the three Upcountry water treatment systems and continues to advocate for sustainable management of island energy-water-farm (food, fiber, fuel, forest, fauna, fishery and reef) systems modeled on the many-century-long success of the ahupua'a land and water resource management, and on core values so elegantly demonstrated by the islands' indigenous Kanaka Maoli culture. He joined the Mauna Kahalawai board to support efforts to find suitable land for small diversified and regenerative farms with long-term affordable leases.
Director, Winsome Williams, moved to the island of Maui in 2014 to immerse herself in its regenerative farming scene and yoga community. She is currently a co-creator at Fairyland 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. Winsome has a background in education and a passion for teaching/sharing the joys of nature, farming and natural up-cycled building practices. Follow her @ windstorm307.com.
Director, Alex Quintana is a certified arborist and owner of Grafted In Nursery & Orchard Management. His main interest is collecting and maintaining fruit tree varieties through grafting and other propagation techniques with the hope of growing improved seedling cultivars adapted to Hawai'i. He aims to achieve this by implementing agroforestry systems consisting of Polynesian introduced crops and native species along with the fruit trees. Alex believes that moving back to agroforestry systems and the biodiversity that they bring, above and below the soil, will be the best form of regenerative agriculture for the Hawaiian islands.