2016 Board of Directors – HFUU – Haleakala Chapter

Simon_Grows_FarmersSimon Russell – President (legechair@gmail.com)

Simon Russell has been farming actively since 1984 when he grew up helping his family operate Ahonui Nursery in Princeville, Kauai.  Between 1988 and 1997, Simon also worked nights in a commercial kitchen environment.  Currently Simon operates 3 farms for a total of 29 acres on the North Shore of Maui, producing, processing and marketing certified organic fruits and vegetables and value added products.

Locally, Simon voluntarily serves HFUU Haleakala Chapter as a board member at large.  He also serves Maui County as a representative and director to the Board of Agriculture, which is charged with establishing broad operating policies for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

State wide, Simon also serves as the President of the Hawaii Farmers Union Foundation, a 501(c)(3), which exists to fund the programs of the Hawaii Farmers Union United.  Additionally Simon serves as the Chairman of the HFUU Legislative Committee, which creates and promotes legislation that supports vibrant and prosperous agricultural  community, state-wide.  None of Simon’s Farmers Union or HDOA positions are paid.

Simon is married and has 2 beautiful children, who he is busy supporting and growing a world for, that will sustain them, and their great grandchildren.  Simon’s goal in life is to be a good ancestor by co-creating a food secure Hawaii Nei using a 21st century ahupua’a model that is sustainable in every sense of the word.


jenny pell teaching graftingJenny Pell – Secretary (jennypell@gmail.com)

 Jenny Pell joined the HFUU Haleakala Board in January 2015.  Former tree    planter, helicopter pilot, carpenter, and yurt builder, Jenny Pell  stays busy managing her growing full-service design and  consulting company Permaculture Now. Based on Maui, HI,  Jenny divides her time  between Maui and Belize, with ongoing  projects in the Pacific NW. Projects include design, installation,  permaculture education and   trainings, and ongoing management  of projects over time.   

The company’s portfolio spans organic agriculture, farm cooperatives, agri-tourism, building resilience through farm diversification and  value-added product lines, appropriate technologies, urban permaculture design, and policy work related to food security. Jenny has many years experience living and working on organic farms, and is especially keen to work with Maui farmers on perennial agroforestry strategies, seed banks, and growing profitable, thriving farms serving Maui residents and visitors.

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Melissa Jenks-Olivit – Treasurer (melissa.hfuuhi@gmail.com)

As Treasurer of HFUU, I work with the other board members to fulfill our Mission and Vision. Ensuring fiscal responsibility and clarity is my goal.

HFUU is important for empowering people to grow and eat healthy food, while improving the land for future generations. I derive great joy from helping create the meetings where we all have opportunities to share knowledge, joy, and inspiration with others. It is wonderful to see this organization growing and reaching more members of the community. I am thrilled to be a part of it.

Professional Profile: I have always been a bit obsessed with food. I trained as a chef and had a catering business in London and then a restaurant in Singapore. There I met George, a yacht builder, and embarked on a new chapter of my life, joining George in his business and raising a family. We set sail from Singapore with our two young children. Our journey led us to the Hawaiian Islands where we have become more interested and involved in farming and food issues. As an organic farmer myself, my life experiences have built on my innate appreciation of good food, and have developed my strong desire to analyze and research the connections between health, happiness, and soil.

JD@OliveviewJohn Dobovan – Director (jd@kulahaven.com)

My goal is to support Maui’s sustainable agriculture in all of its myriad forms. I firmly believe that we can feed ourselves on this lush land but we must do so with intelligence and care.

I have been a Hawaii resident since 1966 and was a co-founder of a successful aquaponics startup in Waimanalo. I relocated to Maui at the end of 2013 in order to pursue my dream of raising Rainbow trout. I have established a trout hatchery and Hawaii’s first successful rainbow trout recirculating aquaponic operation. I recently completed an A.S. degree in Sustainable Tropical Crop Management at University of Hawaii Maui College and am currently studying Agricultural Sciences through Oregon State’s Ecampus program.

Growing food has been a lifelong interest but from 1975-2012 I worked as an independent videographer and garnered numerous State, National and International awards. Commercial clients included Disney Cable, The Discovery Channel, ABC and CBS Television, Nippon Television, Fuji Television and NHK. I pioneered the special interest video market in Hawaii and my “Forever Hawaii” remains the best-selling Hawaii video of all time.

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Susan Teton – Director (Susan@ChefTeton.com)

As a member of the HFUU Haleakala’s Board, I attend every Board meeting and monthly community meeting. One of my specific roles was to create a manual that describes the structure of the monthly meetings so that volunteers would have a guide, and gatherings, such as ours, could be reproduced by other chapters. I continue to act as a liaison with the head volunteer and the BOD as we refine our meeting content, strategies, and structure. I am also a member of the Legislative Committee with a goal to learn as much as I can about legislation in the coming year. My favorite role is to recruit chefs in the area to present for Chef’s Corner at monthly meetings.

HFUU embodies my passion and purpose which is sustainable, regenerative agriculture. From my perspective, this area of work is one of the single most powerful things we can focus on within our current culture. The health of our land and people depends on clean air, water, and soil. The quality of our food supply not only determines our current health and the health of future generations, but also fosters a strong sense of community as we work together in a mutually enhancing relationship with all life on Earth.

Professional Profile: Susan Teton Campbell has spent the last 23 years as an author, speaker, student, and activist in the area of food and its profound effects on personal health and the environment. She first authored The Healthy School Lunch Action Guide which included an award-winning curriculum for students, parents, teachers, and food service personnel. Her experience included working closely with leaders in environmental practices, food producers, and organizations working together in the rising natural foods industry. Since moving to Maui, Susan launched a multimedia company focused on education. Her Essential Cuisine DVD series and online courses inspire and teach people how to steward their body and the Earth with vibrant organic food.

Tara2015Tara Grace – Director (taragrace808@gmail.com)

 Tara Grace joined the HFUU Haleakala Board in January 2015. Tara has been a full time resident of Maui since 1978. Mother of four, Grand Mother to one. Since 2004, Tara has been a full time real estate sales agent, specializing in North Shore AG land & homes. She carries a burning passion to support the sustainability of the island home of her family and greater community. Tara bridges worlds and helps projects fulfill their goals by networking resources. She is an eternal optimist and hard work is what drives her forward each day of her life.




100_1096Michael Howden – Director (michael@permaculturemaui.com)

I was born and raised in San Francisco when most things were more human scale. It was a wonderful area in which to be raised, with trips to the Sierras and interracial summer camps where we helped with apricot harvests.  Later, as I was drawn to Asian culture, I watched carefully the Japanese gardener who cared for my mother’s small back yard, the focus and care with which he tended to the potted lemon trees, etc. I also lived and worked on communal farms in Northern California and on the East Coast. Eventually, I went to live for about two years in Japan, where I was exposed to traditional natural farming and, as far as I know, was the first barbarian to meet the great Japanese horticulturist, Masanobu Fukuoka–but that is
another story. I had worked as a landscaper/gardener in the Bay Area, but moved to Hawai’i because of its great beauty and unique atmosphere. living first in Kaupo (Maui’s first commercial organic farm)and later ‘Ulupalakua, where we helped create an unusual dryland forest of mixed fruit and nuts, as well as agroforestry and native plants. I now live on a few acres in upper Olinda(3400’) with an ever-evolving landscape, mostly perennial tree crops with an eye toward supplying Chinese medicinal herbs for my acupuncture practice.

Robert Ward – Director

I have been a resident of Maui County since 1979 witnessing many island changes working as an activist/ supporter in our Maui community.. I have a varied background: performing (Roberto, the clown, variety art),  health- laughter, yoga therapy, Buteyko Breathing respiratory re-education, and agriculture- years of experience locally with permaculture and related farming projects. I received my Permaculture Design Certification with Bill Mollison in 1996 in Bill’s last course taught in the US.  I have been a steward of various properties on Maui since then from Ulupalakua to Haiku, and currently work on an ongoing agroforestry, education and resource project with HAPI- Haiku Aina Permaculture Initiative. 

I have sought to find the keys to health and well being in pursuit of positive, progressive and creative activities. Primary in that pursuit is the discovery of growing food, working to create healthy regenerative soil full of creative micro organic activity; inspired to be a useful Earth helper working with the enchantments of nature toward a sustainable, healthy, and vibrant future. I am inspired and enthusiastic to be working with all those connected and united with the Farmers Union in the ever changing social, political, and environment climate.

You can often see me with my partners juggling at Paia beach park as you pass in your vehicles… give a honk!

jenniferevansJennifer Evans – Director (lovinmyohana@gmail.com)

I first fell in love with growing food and working with the land nearly 20 years ago while homesteading in the mountains of northern New Mexico, where chopping firewood and hauling water was part of my daily practice.  I worked as a teacher and a director of a non-profit program that worked with teen-aged girls and studied medicinal herbs in my free time. 

I moved to Maui seven years ago to pursue a nursing job at Maui Memorial Medical Center AND to be able to grow food year-round. I left the hospital 3 years ago to live and work at the Haiku ‘Aina Permaculture Initiative (HAPI) so that I could pursue my love of growing food and working with plants full-time, no longer just as a hobby! Since living at HAPI, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about permaculture, agroforestry, aquaponics, soil health, wild foods, and tropical plant medicine. It’s been an amazing classroom, laboratory, and opportunity.

Other ways I support sustainable agriculture on Maui is by being one of the organizers of the Maui Permaculture Guild, leading workshops in the ‘Let’s Get Growing, Maui!’ series & most recently heading up the Maui Eat Local Pledge Campaign for 2017.

I was very pleased to be asked to join the board in September 2016.  I believe it’s our kuleana to leave the world a better place than how we found it.  There is much work to be done and I feel it is crucial to be part of the solution.  HFUU is an amazing and influential organization in our community and they are doing much good work to help lay the foundation for a positive and resilient future for Maui.  I am honored to be part of the team!

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