FIND A FARM, FIND A MENTOR
Support, shop, and connect with women-owned/operated farms, ranches, and agribusinesses across the islands now.
O’ahu Resource Conservation and Development Council’s Women Farmers Network (WFN) teamed up with Mauka Market to raise awareness of the WFN Directory. Mauka Market is a platform that connects the public to local artisans creating handcrafted products made from ethically sourced materials to create economic drivers for ecosystem restoration.
Aloha, my name is Kailin Kim, co-founder of Hoʻōla Honey. My family’s mission is to save honey bees and contribute to a healthy, sustainable island ecosystem. We produce a variety of healing Hawaiian honey products infused with homegrown lāʻau lapaʻau, medicinal Hawaiian plants. All of our honey and beeswax comes from hives that we have rescued. We relocate bees from unwanted homes and buildings across Hawaiʻi island to our home community of North Kohala where they can provide necessary and beneficial pollination for local farms and gardens.
I became a beekeeper and farmer to support my family, my community, and our home Hawaiʻi for generations to come. As an ʻohana run operation, our keiki are a part of everything we do, from catching bee swarms to planting, tending, and harvesting vegetables used to feed our community. I think the most important thing about what we do is raising them as the next generation stewards of our island home who care about the environment and are deeply connected to our Hawaiian culture. It is also very fulfilling work to help people through our Honey Bee Relocation project and make a positive impact together as a family.
While honey is a sweet benefit to our operation, it is not the priority and focus of our organization! The health of our rescued bees is of upmost importance and we judge our success by how big of a difference we can make in our community. We love sharing our passion for honey bees from a unique Hawaiian perspective, making bees relatable and exciting to youth through educational programs, and inspiring others to get involved and build their own personal relationships with nature.
Hoʻōla – to save, to heal, to thrive. Our mission is to save honey bees, heal communities, and contribute towards a thriving island ecosystem for generations to come.
Now recognized as pioneers in renewable fuel production in America, we began in 1996 making clean-burning biodiesel out of local used cooking oil. Our operations started as a recycling effort to divert UCO from the Central Maui Landfill and turn it into fuel that reduces Greenhouse gases and can be used in any diesel engine.
As the demand for biodiesel outgrew the supply of UCO on Maui, Pacific Biodiesel first expanded our research into the extraction of oil from grease trap waste and then turned to agriculture. We realized that, in order to be cost-effective, we also had to develop high-value products from our farming efforts. This approach has created a model for the circular economy – food, fuel, and healthy natural beauty products that are grown, processed, and used locally!
The sunflowers we’re farming on Maui are part of that whole sustainable model. We make culinary-grade oil out of the sunflower seeds that is sold to local restaurants. We then collect the used cooking oil from the restaurants and make it into biodiesel. The restaurants are now part of this sustainability loop.
Maiden Hawaii Naturals
Natural cosmetic ingredients and culinary oils handcrafted in Hawaiʻi.
I am so lucky to be caring for bees and sharing honey through Nalo Meli Honey. I was trained by Howard McGinnis, who sadly passed away in 2017. He was a great mentor, and I love to mentor new beekeepers to learn this old art. My honey is raw, and I pride myself on having small batches of different blossoms coming from a wide range of apiaries on O’ahu and Big Island. Providing food for people is a gift!
What keeps it interesting is never knowing what the next honey harvest will taste like, or how a hive will respond to a new and challenging location.
I connecting with customers and hearing where my honey ends up in the world.
Nalo Meli started in 2004 with Ian Damon, who at the time was also president of the Hawaiʻi Beekeeping Association. The company has always been known for its unique varietals, and one of the first batches of honey was banana honey that is still missed today.
Nalo Meli Honey
Nalo Meli Honey brings you the best 100% raw Hawaiian honey sourced from small farms and backyards.
My partner, Matthew McKinnon, and I combine our passions and talents to feed our community, inspire the next generation of farmers, and elevate the ecosystem. We grow fast-yielding and nutrient-dense vegetables including leafy greens, herbs, beets, radishes, kale, tomatoes, and eggplant. We choose our varieties based on the best quality and taste along with pest and disease resistance. All of our produce is grown organically which ensures increased biodiversity and soil health. Our organic practices include using organic pesticides to manage pests and diseases and incorporating locally produced compost, vermicompost, and bonemeal into our soil. We also aggregate and sell products from other small farmers who share our values and agricultural practices.
Our mission is to increase Oʻahu’s food security by growing healthy products, creating a reliable local food system, and educating future generations, all while practicing responsible stewardship of the ʻāina.
I’m one half of the duo that runs Tea Hawai’i & Company, a farm that sells Hawai’i grown specialty Camellia sinensis teas including white, green, oolong, and black! My husband and other half of the Tea Hawai’i & Company duo, Chiu Leong, also makes hand-crafted porcelain teaware.
At Tea Hawai’i & Company, an agroforestry approach is taken to cultivate their shade-grown teas with sinensis cultivars in the native forests in Volcano Village at 4000 ft. elevation and robust assamica cultivars. We also have full sun pasture lands in Hakalau at 900 ft. elevation, with microclimates that express Hawai’i’s unique island tea terroir.
I’m especially proud to have established a tea production processing facility that provides for the surrounding island communities, while also reaching a global market. I also look to educate the public on tea, so I welcome folks to experience tea at her farm. Tea Hawai’i & Company represents Hawai’i’s first generation of tea growers in commercial production, establishing a healthy relationship with the Camellia sinensis tea plant, shrub, and tree, cohabiting with native species (such as ‘Ōhia, Koa, and Hapu’u ferns), providing a value-added food crop, and participating in long-term carbon sequestration initiatives combating climate change for generations to come.
Chiu and I decided to blend art and agriculture in 2000 after the Pacific Basin Agriculture Research Center conducted research that showed Camellia sinensis teas were found to be well suited specifically for the environment in Hawai’i. We’ve been farming and processing tea ever since.
Tea Hawaiʻi & Company
Artisanal Hawai’i grown tea.
Aloha! My name is Lehia Apana, and my husband Brad Bayless and I founded Polipoli Farms in Waiehu, Maui. We are growing native and Polynesian plants in an agroforest, including our primary crops of ʻulu (breadfruit), māmaki (endemic nettle), maiʻa (bananas), and kō (sugar cane).
Our farming methods combine indigenous wisdom and modern knowledge. It’s our way of honoring the past while growing for the future.
Ancient mahiʻai were experts at regenerative practices, which focus on improving soil health, and ultimately plant and human health as a result. Hawaiians knew that farming in this way was a matter of survival—not just for themselves, but for the following generations.
Here at Polipoli Farms, we improve our soil through planting cover crops, composting, rotational grazing, and agroforestry.
Tucked away in the Waiehu foothills, Polipoli Farms sits on the same ʻāina momona (fertile land) that fed generations of Native Hawaiians. As a Hawaiian-run farm, we blend indigenous and modern growing practices.
FIND A MENTOR OR OFFER AN APPRENTICESHIP OPPORTUNITY IN YOUR COMMUNITY!
WFN Mentor Feature
Soil Health Hero Mindy Jaffe
The Hawaii Women Farmers Network (WFN) Directory
Supporting and empowering women owned/operated farms and agri-businesses is an important step in the growth of our local agriculture industry. The Hawaii Women Farmers Network (WFN), with generous support from the Hawai’i Department of Agriculture (HDOA), is excited to introduce our Directory, which allows users to access, support and connect with female agriculture producers, makers, entrepreneurs and leaders in their communities. To be included in this Directory, the farm/agri-business needs to be owned by a woman/women (50% or more) AND the woman/women must have major leadership role(s) in the decision-making and management of the agriculture operations and business. The WFN Directory’s map-based interface covers all islands and includes agriculture businesses and endeavors of all sizes.
Please watch our video (above) about how women are leading the way in generating new businesses across the islands, from starting CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs to developing online stores for local produce, to producing value-added products from specialty crops, such as mamaki tea, to running agri-tourism and education programming. This video also raises awareness of the benefits of women working together through our network and emerging opportunities for women in agriculture during this opportune time. We hope this video serves as a source of inspiration for women interested in exploring a future in agriculture. Women interested in learning from other women can use the WFN Directory to locate those in our network who offer agriculture training, internships or other forms of mentoring.
This WFN mentor feature is dedicated to Mindy Jaffe in honor of our Summer Soil Health Workshop Series. Co-founder and coordinator of Zero Waste Windward School Hui, Mindy’s program annually turns more than 55 tons of unfinished sandwiches, spoiled milk and other food waste into rich soil for school gardens. In 2004, she started her agri-business, Waikiki Worms, which she was able to pass on to Leslie Foster who continues to meet the needs of vermicomposting enthusiast throughout Hawaii. Over these past 17 years, Mindy has mentored many apprentice.
In asking Mindy how she started her program, she points to her mentors, Betty Gearen and Evelyn Giddings. As Mindy recalls, “Betty really started this whole thing. She passed me a note at a conference which read, ‘You really need to see what we’re doing at Palolo Elementary. We’re the first zero-waste school.’ At that time, the idea of doing a full zero-waste program seemed out of reach in her mind. Betty’s presentation was really powerful though and showed Mindy that it could be done. In addition to providing inspiration for Mindy, Betty also provided a hub for innovators through, The Greenhouse.
Evelyn Giddens, artist by profession and affectionately referred to as a ‘composting guru’ and ‘community treasure’. As Mindy reflects, Evelyn’s methods for composting were ‘truly works of art’. “Even at the age of 80, Evelyn was picking up 150 lbs of food scraps from town and driving the buckets up to Waialua to start build the soil at Mohala Farm. As Mindy shares, “I took Evelyn’s perspective to heart. The aesthetics of everything in my program is important to me. I approach everything we do with composting as though it is an art installation. People expect composting and worms to be dirty and stinky, but our standards are high and it looks beautiful. When people look at our composting system, they have an emotional reaction even if they don’t realize why. This unspoken component has amazing power in receiving buy-in from the schools and public. Evelyn gave me validation for how I worked with the land and it built my confidence in my approach.”
These women were kind enough to share their knowledge, which set me on my path that I’m able to share with others to this day. We have a 40 week apprenticeship program. Our apprentice will build over 150 compost pile to hone their art and develop the feel for consistently building compost to the standards that Evelyn taught me. We were connected to our newest apprentice, Carolyn, through the WFN network. Peer-to-peer networks, like the WNF, support natural ways we learn and grow together, which is through experience and sharing knowledge.
The Hawaii Women Farmers Network (WFN) Directory was produced with funds from the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture.