Updated April 13, 2021
These are the participants in this year’s Mahi‘ai Scale-up, Kamehameha School’s agricultural business plan competition that helps established local farms and food system organizations grow their businesses. The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA) and The Kohala Center (TKC) are partnering with KS to provide participants with business training and wraparound services. This year, the competition welcomes new sponsors Turtle Bay and Sensei Ag.
CNHA is providing participants with business training through a special edition of its KūHana Business Program focused on food system businesses. The 10-week intensive program is offering technical assistance services and various courses to help participants grow and strengthen their businesses.
Haley Miyaoka, Co-Owner
Ahiki Acres connects food-conscious people with local, organic produce to support sustainable eating and the local food system. Haley Miyaoka launched Ahiki Acres with a mission rooted in respectful land stewardship and growing healthy, tasty products to improve Oʻahu’s food security.
Brynn Foster, Co-Director
Canoe Plant Collective partners with like-minded companies to innovate energy-efficient, value-added food systems that provide access and availability of canoe plants for our local communities. The collective comprises farmers, millers, bakers and homemakers who transform canoe plants such as taro, breadfruit, sweet potato, banana and arrowroot into healthy products for consumers and other businesses. Co-Director Brynn Foster and her team aim to transition Hawai‘i to a regenerative food and farming system focused on livelihood and culture, which will improve access to and availability of underutilized indigenous crops.
Ashley Lelie and Ben Wilkinson, Owners
Ashley Lelie and Ben Wilkinson created Golden Farms Oʻahu to educate consumers on Native Hawaiian tea and the impacts of bees through experiences and mo‘olelo. The pair is dedicated to perpetuating sustainable farming practices and knowledge. Golden Farms Oahu’s mission is to mālama ʻāina while sharing its bounty with the rest of the world through hands-on experiences.
Dafna Epstein, Co-owner
Through the creation of a hui of micro-farms and building a system that connects consumers directly with their food system, Haleiwa Plantaition hopes to increase the community’s access to locally-grown food and support local agriculture. Co-owners Dafna Epstein and Dave Delventhal collaborate with three other micro-farms to share resources, marking sales and education. The pair also care for and manage a 20-acre parcel of farmland leased from Kamehameha Schools. In all, Haleiwa Plantation aims to build a hui of farmers to support the growth of a community-based, modern and sustainable food system in Hawai‘i.
Ginger PD Bray, Co-Owner
Ginger PD Bray of Hanahanapuni Farm is dedicated to helping people eat well and live healthy lives. Through her farm, Bray helps health-conscious individuals access affordable, fresh produce through in-person, online or delivery services. Hanahanapuni Farm’s mission is to grow natural, healthy food and create value-added products, while supporting individuals impacted by the criminal justice system.
Randie-Leith Lunn, Alaka‘i
Randie-Leith Lunn strives to build pilina between people and ʻāina by providing Hawaiian farm products through her business, Hanohano Huliāmahi. She grows native foods using indigenous practices and values to enrich the community, perpetuate a dynamic ecosystem and honor ‘ike kupuna. The mission of Hanohano Huliāmahi is to restore the ahupuaʻa of Pāpaʻakoko by stewarding a vibrant, indigenous farm that is in harmony with the surrounding community and ecosystems.
Dallas Stewart, Co-Founder
With a passion for sustainable entrepreneurship rooted in Hawaiian culture, Dallas Stewart co-founded Hawaiian Kine Trading Co., a boutique distribution company, in 2018 with her husband, Sean. The couple’s mission is to share Hawaiian culture with the world by placing Hawai‘i-inspired snacks and goods on shelves worldwide.
Lena Colobong, Owner
Keaʻau, Hawaiʻi Island
With a strong foundation in ʻāina cultivation earned through her experience with Hoa ‘Āina ‘O Mākaha and Ka‘ala Farms, Lena Colobong built her own business called Hawaiian Paradise Pork. Colobong helps to provide Hawai‘i families with locally-raised, healthy and high-quality pork products.
Kailin Kim, Co-Founder
Hawi, Hawaiʻi Island
Kailin Kim strives to help families access ethically and responsibly harvested honey products rooted in Hawaiian healing through her business, Hoʻōla Honey LLC. As a mother, farmer, and beekeeper, Kim is an advocate for protecting our pollinators from a culturally grounded perspective. The word “hoʻōla” means to save, heal or thrive. Hoʻōla Honey LLC brings this meaning to life through its mission to save honey bees, heal communities, and contribute towards a thriving island ecosystem for generations to come.
Joshua Mahuna, Co-Owner
Kamuela, Hawaiʻi Island
With a passion for environmental management, Joshua Mahuna follows in his family’s footsteps as a fourth-generation rancher for JC Mahuna Ranch. The ranch produces low-stress, antibiotic, hormone-free and grass-fed cattle so local consumers can enjoy healthy and hearty beef products. JC Mahuna Ranch’s mission is to provide a sustainable protein source while restoring the symbiotic relationship between people and land through responsible livestock grazing.
Nicole P. Fuertes, Support Staff
Kapa‘au, Hawaiʻi Island
Kahua Pa‘a Mua is a family-run non-profit dedicated to enhancing communities through economic development, conservation, preservation, and education for youth and adults. The organization is working on the Expansion Project KAPA (Kohala Agriculture Processing Area).
Krisha Zane, Project Developer
Hilo, Hawaiʻi Island
Kū-A-Kanaka helps ʻōpio cultivate staple crops by developing a regenerative agricultural wetland kalo operation at Kapapa Loʻi o Kealiʻikuaʻāina in Waipiʻo Valley. As a project developer with Kū-A-Kanaka, Zane brings her passion for food sustainability and soil health to her work in developing programs to encourage the next generation of land stewards and leaders. Through its site in Waipiʻo Valley, the organization seeks to revegetate the land and reconnect young native Hawaiians to the ʻāina.
Lucas Murillo, Co-owner
Life and Land Hawaiʻi provides technical, practical, and creative services to assist local farmers and resident land stewards in building healthy soils and productive landscapes for their families and the future. The business supplies these individuals with cover crop seed and bulk natural farming inputs. Co-owner Lucas Murillo helps farmers invest in their soils by using what is locally available in an effort to cut labor costs and more.
Roberta Taira, Owner
Roberta Taira helps consumers connect to lā‘au lapa‘au or Hawaiian medicinal herbs products through her business, Māmaki Native Hawaiian Herbal Tea. Her farm is 100% organic and produces an assortment of Hawaiian herbal teas – like māmaki – based on the traditional practices of lā‘au lapa‘au. A 2020 Mahi‘ai Match-up finalist, Taira aspires to help individuals take charge of their own health and experience the natural remedies of old Hawai‘i.
Wendy Acosta, Owner
More than 20 years ago, Wendy Acosta lost the use of her hands and arms for more than a year after being exposed to toxic mold. Nutrition, not medication, restored her mobility, inspiring Acosta to launch Maui SweetnSpicy. Her specialty food business focuses on creating powdered cacao-based drink blends, spices and superfoods that are clean, healthy and delicious.
Amanda Gilroy, Owner
Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i Island
Amanda Gilroy has transformed what began as a hobby 10 years ago into a commercial cultivation operation with her indoor, vertical mushroom farm. Mermaid Mushrooms provides the people of Hawai‘i with gourmet mushrooms at an affordable price so they can use the fresh, nutritious mushrooms in their kitchens. Gilroy’s business focuses on diverting our local green waste streams – arborist, agricultural, and other wastes – to grow healthy, rich food for the local community.
Matt Johnson, Co-Owner
In 2015, Matt Johnson launched Oʻahu Food Hub to help small to mid-sized local food businesses get their products to market. The hub helps local agricultural companies grow, while utilizing locally-made items. Johnson also launched O‘ahu Fresh, a local food delivery service, and lectures on agriculture entreprises at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Lehia Apana, Co-owner
Lehia Apana started Polipoli Farms to connect health-conscious individuals with farm products made from culturally-significant crops, increasing consumers’ well-being and enhancing their connection with Hawaiian culture. Polipoli Farms strives to nourish the community and foster a cultural connection that feeds people’s na‘au.
Rose Polvado, Co-Owner
The mission of Pomai Kulolo is to make you ‘ono for poi! Rose Polvado and the Pomai Kulolo team work to ensure everyone from keiki to kūpuna can enjoy fresh and delicious poi, kulolo, and haupia.
Ethan West, Owner
Ethan West created Punahele Provisions to provide families with healthy, trustworthy, and clean-label nutritional products for their keiki. The business hopes to help parents worry less about what they’re feeding their children so they can spend more time on the moments that matter. West combines his upbringing as a farmer with his MBA education from Chaminade to deliver on his commitment to sustainable and regenerative agriculture. He also advocates for innovation in Hawai‘i’s food industry and diversifying our economy by advising private industry and public policy.
Penelope “Penny” Tukimaka, Co-Owner
Kalihi Valley, O‘ahu
TKO productions is a family-run business owned and operated by Penny and Maka Tukimaka, specializing in traditional Tongan kava. The Tukimakas help Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders access traditional kava or ‘awa and understand the traditions surrounding the plant and drink in our cultures. TKO Productions aims to provide a quality supply of Tongan kava to consumers locally and internationally.
Kaiolohia Maii, Owner
Uluehu LLC seeks to improve Hawai‘i’s food security through the cultivation of ulu trees. Owner Kaiaolohia Maii researches best practices to propagate and grow endemic plants, ferns and ulu trees. Maii’s mission is to help make ulu trees a staple in people’s yards and kitchens across the islands.
Umi Martin, Owner
Umi’s Farm – owned by Umi Martin – is a high-density tropical fruit farm on Kaua‘i. Through his business, Martin helps those who enjoy eating locally-grown tropical fruits by providing a wide selection of fruit options. The farm’s mission is to increase the production of Hawai‘i’s tropical fruits in a sustainable manner.
Natalie Kealiʻinohomoku, Owner
Through Waihualani Juicery, Natalie Keali‘inohomoku creates healthy plant-based juice and food products to support the overall health and wellbeing of the lāhui and people of Hawai‘i. The juicery supports organic farms across the state, utilizes native plants and locally-grown products, and shares the benefits of a plant-based diet. Keali‘inohomoku also believes in the importance of aloha ʻāina and the connection between people’s health and the health of our land.