Our mission is to provide leadership development opportunities for people committed to strengthening Hawaii’s agriculture.
The Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai‘i (ALFH) was founded in 1982 in response to the major shift in Hawai‘i away from plantation agriculture. This shift critically affected nearly every sector and in particular the small agribusinesses which formed the emerging foundation of the industry. Through the foresight of several key leaders in the agricultural industry, ALFH, the only leadership organization in the state focused on agriculture, was created. These leaders, led by Monty Richards, Yoshi Watanabe, Dr. Tadashi Higaki, Slim Takayama and Jane Yamashiro acted on their vision of building a cadre of leaders to help support businesspeople and their businesses during the important transition from plantation to diversified agriculture.
With initial support from the Kellogg Foundation and the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo the program was launched in 1982. In 1986 the Foundation partnered with UH-CTAHR and Dr. Donna R. Ching coordinated and delivered the training activities. For the next 20 years, Donna developed the program into a multidisciplinary, well-networked program. Acting on a strategic plan developed by the board in 2005 a full time Executive Director, Kim Coffee-Isaak, was hired in 2006 and a strategic fundraising plan was put into place. In 2007 the Foundation celebrated is 25th Anniversary on the island of Hawai‘i with workshops, story telling and fellowship. In 2009 ALFH contracted with Pauline Sato as Program Director in order to begin a succession plan pending Dr. Ching’s retirement. Donna and Pauline co-directed Class XIII and Peter Adler was brought on to teach the leadership components for Class XIV. For Class XV (2015-16) Pauline, Peter and Donna will be leading the class.
In 2014 Class XIV graduated and currently the Agriculture Leadership Program has trained more than 170 professionals from across the state. These alumni have formed a strong network and many individuals are actively serving in leadership roles for their industry and community organizations as well as the overall agricultural sector.
The Biennial Statewide Agriculture Conferences in 2008, 2010 and 2012 were sponsored and produced by ALFH. Prior to 2008 ALFH was a sponsoring partner of the conference along with Hawai‘i Farm Bureau Federation, Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture and UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
ALFH received a grant for the City and County of Honolulu for a scholarship program for youth and the Youth Agricultural Leadership Program is launching in 2015.
Kim Coffee-Isaak left the organization in August 2014 to start her own business and Lisa Soong was hired as an Administrative Coordinator.