Supporting the Land & Community

Our Leadership Team

Get to know the dedicated individuals behind HIP Agriculture and learn about their mission to restore food sovereignty through regenerative farming practices. Meet the board today.
Our Board
Gayle Yamasaki
Board President

Born in Hilo, Gayle is an education and cultural leader in Hawaii and Oregon. She is currently the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program coordinator for the Klamath Falls City School District and an advocate for the arts, culture, and heritage through her role as a “story catcher.” Her goal is “to increase access for rural and at-‘promise’ youth, to have them take part in the richness of culture that is reflective of who they are and what they can be.

Ashley Lukens

Ashley Lukens, PhD is an independent philanthropic and development advisor in Hawaii and Oregon. She has worked in and with the impact sector in Hawaii since 2006 as the founder of the Hawaii Food Policy Council, owner of Baby Awearness, the Director of the RISE Program at Kupu, and the Director of Hawaii Center for Food Safety, and today as the Executive Director of the Frost Family Foundation. Her work with the Hawaii Center for Food Safety earned national recognition, resulting in a cascade of new pesticide regulations. She has a degree in Women Studies and Economics from Vassar College and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa where she examined culturally appropriate strategies for food system transformation. Currently, Ashley’s passion project is a women’s learning circle, Project Thesis. Ashley is a proud cancer thriver and her commitment to holistic health and well-being knits her personal and professional life together.

Bennett Dorrance

Bennett Dorrance, Jr. was born and raised in Arizona and currently works and resides on the Island of Hawai‘i. He completed his undergraduate degree at Princeton University followed by a master’s degree from the Naropa Institute. Dorrance is a Managing Director for the DFE Trust Company and the Vice President of The Dorrance Family Foundation, which supports education, natural resource conservation, and programs that improve the quality of life in their communities: Arizona, California, and Hawai‘i. Dorrance is devoted to and active in the North Kohala community as an advocate and promoter for local farmers, local schools, alternative energy initiatives, mindfulness, land and historic preservation. Dorrance also actively supports programs and projects that celebrate, honor, and promote the culture and resources of Hawai‘i, preserving its history and its future.

Makana Risser Chai

Makana has been an attorney specializing in human resources and employment law since 1979. She founded and managed a law firm in Silicon Valley, and a national training company providing management development programs on preventing employee lawsuits. She moved to Hawaii in 2000 and continues to present management training, conduct internal investigations, consult with business owners and HR managers, and counsel managers and employees one-on-one on effective workplace behaviors. She was an exempt employee for 7 years for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Human Resources for Kamehameha Schools. She authored a book on law for managers for Prentice Hall and a book on Hawaiian massage Lomi Lomi published by the Bishop Museum. She cares about creating a sustainable organizational system to support the mission of HIP Agriculture.

Nancy Redfeather

Nancy is an educator, gardener, and seed grower. She and her husband Gerry Herbert spent the past 20 years developing home gardens, orchards, and educational programs at Kawanui Farm in Mauka Kona. She recently retired from The Kohala Center where she directed many agricultural programs and continues to mentor young teachers. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Hawai’i Farm to School Hui, which supports and advocates for Farm to School Programs (School Gardens and Local Procurement & Scratch Cooking in Cafeterias) statewide. Founder of the Hawai’i Public Seed Initiative, she is a member of the Hawai’i Seed Growers Network who recently created the first online Seed Marketplace for locally grown seed varieties adapted for Hawai’i.

Advisory Board
Dr. Deborah Winter

Dr. Winter is a psychologist and retired professor from Whitman College. She has written numerous books on environmental sustainability and peace psychology. Dr. Winter serves on the advisory board as an academic advisor and curriculum specialist.

Kai Kaholokai

Kai was born and raised in Kohala and recently moved to Montana, however he still serves as a cultural advisor for HIP Agriculture. Kai is the founder of the Kai Malino Wellness Center, and is a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner, Kumu La'au Lapa'au (teacher of Hawaiian herbalism), Kumu Lomi Lomi (teacher of Hawaiian massage). Kai Kaholokai holds a BA in Sociology and Anthropology with a minor in history. Kai Kaholokai has been propagating and gathering indigenous Hawaiian plants, farming taro, and studying archeology in North Kohala district since 1973.

Donna Maltz

Donna is an entrepreneur, farm to table restaurant owner, wellness and business consultant. As an environmental activist, she is passionate about doing her part in contributing to a peaceful thriving world for people and the planet. Donna also teaches culinary classes and mentors budding entrepreneurs. She has over 33 years of experience in socially and ecologically responsible business entrepreneurship, including going national with the first organic cocoa and chocolate syrup in the nation. She serves as a business advisor for HIP Agriculture.