Class XIV

“My life both personally and professionally has been enriched by my participation in ALP. By learning about and experiencing diverse aspects of Hawaii agriculture and culture I have gained a tremendous amount of confidence on a professional level. I feel more well-rounded and in-tune with issue affecting our State and Nation. Most of my goals were met, especially in terms of understanding policy and learning how to communicate with representatives in local and federal government, as well as the processes involved with policy making. I would have liked to participate in more exercises such as negotiation or facilitation during class-time. I am not totally confident in my skills in those areas, even after completing the course.” June 2014 Jennica Lowell

“The Ag Leadership Program has opened my view of Agriculture and Natural Resources and how it is all interrelated with people. How the resources can be used properly over the long term without misuse. My participation in the Program and at the same time being the President of the Orchid Growers of Hawaii, a commercial grower association, has allowed myself to meet other leaders in Agriculture and promote all facets of Ag in Hawaii weather Small to Industrial or Organic or Conventional. The visiting of the different sites were most enjoyable but I felt I would have liked or needed more on the Leadership training such as activity based lessons or hands on type. Leadership has improved for me and there is a lot more to learn.” June 2014 Elton Mow

“Participating in the Agricultural Leadership Program has made me realize the potential of my position to work collaboratively with other agencies as well as the constraints of being a part of a regulatory entity. What has been most beneficial has been meeting the many people within agriculture that are leaders already in their own professional lives. Each of them represent a part of what I would like to achieve in my own career. My main goal through this program was to be exposed to different sectors within agriculture and learn more about the needs of these sectors and what is being done to meet those needs. I was hoping to have a little more seminar sessions on collaboration and conflict resolution, practice through exercises, perhaps, to assist in my confidence in dealing with any volatile issues, as that is where I definitely am lacking. Overall, this was a wonderful experience that will help me grow in my current position.” June 2014 Christina Bauske Zimmerman

“This program has provided me with many advantages, from more confidence in my area of work, and in group situations, leadership situations, and with improving my communication experience both understanding styles of communication to working towards facilitation and better listening. I have grown in my understanding of different agriculture systems, different crops and distribution systems in Hawaii, and in how natural resources and agriculture can co-exist and provide advantages for each other. I feel blessed to have had a great group of classmates and now know that there are people on each island I feel confident in calling with questions, or just to get their opinion on an issue.” June 2014 Lisa Zeman

“ALP has given me a greater understanding of agriculture and food systems in Hawaii. Appreciation of the basic needs and challenges facing the agriculture and food industry – land, water, labor, marketing, opposition – will help me in future projects or negotiations. Through the relationships with class members and people met during site visits, I feel confident to pick up the phone and call when issues arise, and that I have increased my professional network to be more effective in the natural resources field. I had hoped to engage the class in more discussions related to conservation issues. Overall, I truly appreciate this opportunity to spend time with class members, site visits, alumni, and meeting legislators and congressionals.” June 2014 James Kwon

Class XIII

“Without a doubt, the relationships developed with my classmates over the period of the program have been the greatest benefit. I would then include the relationships established with other Ag. Leadership alumns. I feel a part of the broader ag. community throughout Hawaii. Hawaii Agriculture: The ALF Program has brought me into contact all aspects of the Hawaii Ag. community from Ag. Cooperatives, Food Distribution, Horticultural Production, Animal Husbandry, Industrial Agricultural Systems to Ag. Policy and regulatory framework. The program has brought the challenges facing ag. to light as well as providing me with many of the tools necessary to help face these challenges.” Palo Luckett

“I am very grateful to be a part of this unique community and awesome class. It’s challenging to find the words to describe what an amazing opportunity and collection of experiences this has been. This program has truly advanced my confidence and “tool kit” for good leadership, deepened my understanding and thoughtfulness on many complex issues, and broadened my network of contacts, colleagues, and friends. It has helped me to better define my role within a much larger context and to gain an even deeper connection with and love for ku’u home, Hawaii.” Lydi Morgan Bernal

“First and foremost – I have a much broader and deeper understanding of many of the key issues that affect Agriculture and natural resources here in Hawaii. Secondly, I now have a network of incredible people and resources to go to if there is something I need help with or want to know.   I have already been making much use of the facilitation and semi-mediation skills we have learned and use those on a regular basis in daily work. Most of all, I think this is a program that a great many people could benefit from, and I see it as something that I wish was available to everyone because there is so much basic misunderstanding and division between many people and industries that could so easily be overcome by forging a basic relationship which this program has done.” Chris Lee

Class XII

“. . . the ALFH program provides an outstanding opportunity to learn important leadership skills, to see a diverse assortment of agricultural operations and farming practices, and closely related support industries, and to develop valuable lifelong agricultural industry relationships to help further their future agricultural leadership activities and the success of Hawaii agriculture.” Ron Weidenbach

“This program will help you grow as a leader and develop life-long relationships with other key leaders in the agricultural sector in Hawaii. By program completion, you will be a more vocal, confident spokesperson for your commodity and agriculture as a whole.” Laurie Goodwin

“I am definitely more aware of and educated about current ag issues such as GMO vs non-GMO, organic vs non-organic, etc. and feel more confident when such conversations arise. I would say that the Ag Leadership Program is an outstanding, rewarding program that I am extremely proud to be a part of. It will open your eyes and broaden your knowledge of agricultural issues across the state. You will make life long friends and gain an invaluable resource of support!” Kylie Matsuda

“The program has increased my knowledge about agriculture, made me aware of the impact that policies at the national and local level can have on agriculture, introduced me to agricultural leaders and other educational resources, opened my mind to the possibilities for Hawaii, made me well aware of some of the barriers to success in agriculture and generally provided me with a good skill set for facilitating positive change in both my work place and for agriculture in Hawaii. Donna’s leadership classes were priceless and I find myself using the tools she taught us on a regular basis.” Marissa Harman

“Ag groups to improve relationships and minimized misunderstanding or misinformation. We have to approach different opinions with an open heart and respect for one another. I cherish the knowledge and friendship gained in this Ag Leadership course.” Hawaii Island Seminar, October 2008, Thong Teng Neo

“On a self-interest level, I really enjoyed the travel component of the program, especially access to the farms we visited and the farmers we were able to meet. Not too many residents of our state ever get this kind of experience and you have to be in this type of program to do so. It is definitely a program that gives back what you put into it. . . . It is a program that gives you the tools but you must be ready to learn, not just be an observer or follower. It is a program where you will hear a lot of people’s opinions but you must be able to discern the truth behind the stories.. . . You will get more out of this program by being prepared for each meeting, whether it be with your classmates, the farmers, or with the industry leaders you will encounter. Try to leave your judgments of people behind or how you think the world really functions.” Luisa Castro

“My participation in the Ag Leadership program has strengthened my leadership skills that I use everyday in the work environment I am in. The National trip was a once in a lifetime experience. If not for this program, I would have never experience Washington D.C. to the level I have. Meeting the delegates was an honor and a privilege.” Mark Lopes

“Meeting our politicians on both a state and national level has also changed my perspective. Before the Program I wouldn’t have known how to approach them with an issue. Now I have had personal contact with them or their assistants and would have no reservations about getting in touch with them.” Sabrina White

“Being in the program has made me feel more confident in everything that I do. . . . I find myself wanting to be more aware of everything and everyone around me . . . wanting to engage in conversations with people. This is something I never liked doing in the past. I find myself to be more understanding and wanting to be on “common ground” when dealing with decision making and looking at things with a broader perspective. . . . I feel proud and grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a participant of the program which has changed my life in so many ways. It is a life changing experience that gives you tools to mature professionally and personally. . . . You learn to look at things with a broader perspective and it gives you the tools to be more confident in everything that you do and makes you want to be engaged and be more aware of what is happening around you.” Mike Shimatsu

Class XI

“The power of community to gather around a collective goal was illustrated by Carlos and Chipper, Waipa Foundation and Hanalei Community Center. The two examples of community gathering places were as different as the constituents they represented and yet with perseverance and patience, individuals put aside suspicion and conflict and united. I am heartened to find that while there are large socio economic challenges facing this state to which no immediate solutions are apparent, there still are individuals committed to innovation, the integrity of our food supply system and the importance of communion around food.” Traditional Ag and Community Empowerment Seminar, January 2007, Tova Callender

“The Kauai trip proved to be a great opportunity to meet true leaders of the community as well as listen to their testimonials of the challenges of working in groups. I believe that small communities everywhere have some common themes, and that is if it is a desirable place to live, newcomers will displace locals eventually. Unless there are some individuals in the community who can organize and collaboratively lead the group to a collective decision that allows for all members, old and new to have a voice in how they want their community to evolve. One thing that is certain is that change is inevitable and so the real challenge is managing change and not preventing it. I think this was evidenced in many of the discussions we had, from developing the farmer’s market to community input regarding rebuilding Hanalei School and bridge after hurricane Iniki, as well as re-establishing the ahupuaa system.” Traditional Ag and Community Empowerment Seminar, January 2007, Keoki Wood

“This program has clarified and defined my vision of what can be with regards to initiating collaboration on many different levels to help Hawaii Ag grow on solid ground.” Lani Wiegert

Class X

“The thing I got most value from ALFH seminars is the ability I gained to improve my participation in meetings. This includes all types of meetings from work-related planning sessions to staff meetings, community meetings such as Farm Bureau or 4-H, it made a difference. Whether I am a participant, facilitator or running the meeting I have made great strides in listening, legitimizing, expressing my views and coming up with a plan or solution. It has changed my ideas/views on topics and I have been less critical of people. I tend to judge them less on a personal basis and try very hard to grasp their point of view.” Harry Cambra

“Hawai‘i agriculture faces many challenges, but none as threatening as our inability to organize into a cohesive force and single voice. The Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawaii’s 18-month training program gives industry and community leaders the necessary tools to facilitate public meetings and bring people together on important issues that affect all members of their communities. During the course of the program, class members experience a comprehensive tour of Hawaii’s agricultural enterprises gaining insight into the challenges and opportunities faced daily by agricultural producers on all islands. This wide-ranging exposure to Hawaiian agriculture and the subsequent industry perspective is only available to those fortunate enough to be selected for this incredible program. If you are a farmer, rancher, landscaper, or agricultural business person; the best investment you will ever make is the time you spend as a student in the Agricultural Leadership Program.” Mark Cummings

“The value of my experience in Ag Leadership training has been in broadening my exposure and experience in agriculture in Hawaii and the U.S. The National Trip was especially useful in understanding the work and impact of our Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. Interacting with our host colleagues on the state visit (North Carolina) was illuminating and enriching. The session devoted to strategic planning was especially helpful as a practical learning experience for leading meetings but, more importantly, as a vehicle for honing my leadership skills.” John McHugh

“I have both a broader and deeper understanding of current agriculture and the people farming, ranching, and improving their communities because of this program. I have a stronger network of friends and contacts that help me do my job better because I can ask questions of people who have practical experience trying to solve similar problems. I have seen and spoken with a greater diversity of people working their fields, farms, nurseries, orchards, and improving their communities and those that provide Hawaii’s agricultural and community entrepreneurs services and goods. The value of this program to my job is worth many times the time and dollars it costs to be a participant.Kevin Kinvig

Class XII

“Participation in the ALF program affords a unique experience to grasp the ‘bigger picture,’ the critical issues and multitude of opportunities facing agriculture in Hawaii, nationally and globally. Exposure to the political and legislative process puts people into the halls of our state and national capitols and encourages immediate and future involvement in the process. The critical skills of strategic thinking, planning and facilitation provide invaluable tools for increased productivity, creative solutions and new opportunities. A person gets as much out of the class as they put into it…ALF, a super, profound and incredible life experience.” Diane Ley

Class II

“Cowboys are greenies too, but no one needs to know that; it’s part of our subterfuge. I keep my Birkenstocks hidden in my closet.” 2008, during a board conversation about sustainability, Corky Bryan