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Meet Our Team

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Dashiell Kuhr

Executive Director and Instructor

dash@hipagriculture.org

Dashiell (Dash) Kuhr, founder and director of Hawai'i Institute of Pacific Agriculture (HIP Agriculture), is the lead facilitator for the organization, and personally dedicated to the restoration of human and environmental health.

Dash has educated and mentored hundreds of youth and young adults on the benefits of healthy eating and hands-on gardening skills. Working with non-profit organizations, food cooperatives and farms, Dash has lead and developed numerous gardening and sustainability initiatives.

Dash apprenticed under master permaculture designer Tom Baldwin (who studied directly with Bill Mollison, Geoff Laton, and Bullock brothers) for three years, as a farm manager, managing one of the most diverse and well designed permaculture farms on Hawaii Island. He received his Permaculture Design Certificate from Geoff Lawton and attended a Permaculture Convergence at Uluwehi Farm and Nursery.

Currently, Dash leads Living Farm Internship courses and youth program development at HIP Agriculture, while also conducting professional permaculture design work and installations. Current projects included installation of 60 dwarf coconuts and 300 bananas in polyculture systems and permaculture design for a 120 acre food production and reforestation project at Inhabit Hawai’i.

Rooted in North Kohala, Hawai'i, Dash is dedicated to creating a post-carbon civilization that is able to thrive while reforesting and revitalizing the landscape. Dash is thoroughly committed to youth and ensuring they have access to fresh food and land, food sovereignty, Earth justice, and a localized economy that creates peaceful and happy communities.

Dash, with his wife Erika and three beautiful children Cyrus, Jyoti and Kumari are advocates of healthy eating, exercise, and Ayurvedic medicine. He enjoys gardening, swimming, surfing, yoga, and family time.

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Erika Kuhr

Director of Youth Education

erika@hipagriculture.org

Founder and nutrition and food coordinator for Hawai'i Institute of Pacific Agriculture (HIP Agriculture), Erika is dedicated to healing people and the earth through delicious food and healing spices.

Erika received her B.S. in Food Science and Nutrition and B.A. in Spanish from San Diego State University. Since then, she has studied alternative medicine and food preparation that increases digestive health such as cheese-making and cultured vegetables. She is dedicated to creating positive human culture around integrative health based within locavorism. She is very passionate about harvesting, cooking and preparing the easy to grow and very abundant Polynesian starch crops into delicious comfort foods.

A full-time mother of three children, Erika is the head land mama, providing support, guidance for the HIP Team and HIP Ag’s residents.

Erika likes to cook, study aromatherapy and herbal medicine, swim, dance hula and make cheese.

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Lauren Ruotolo

Director of Development

institute@hipagriculture.org

Lauren serves as the Director of Development, overseeing HIP Ag’s grant management, communications, events, donor relations, and fundraising efforts. She began with HIP Ag as the Program Manager and has worn many active hats within the organization. Lauren has been working within the environmental sustainability movement since she was young, protesting to keep her adorned neighborhood hiking trail preserve from becoming a golf course. In college she helped implement a recycling program and community garden on campus. This is also where she started teaching ecology to local high school students through experiential volunteer projects like studying phytoplankton populations and building a mock oyster shell reef to increase biodiversity. Seeing students who struggled in the classroom but found joy outside struck a chord with Lauren. After graduating with a degree in Sociology and Environmental Science, she joined AmeriCorps where she taught K-12 watershed ecology on the shorelines of Cape Cod. She also assisted with the maintenance and education of various agricultural projects; seaweed aquaculture and pollinator gardens being her favorites.

Over the past few years, Lauren has held various positions including farmhand, garden designer, guide at a horticultural therapy center, and environmental technician. When Lauren isn’t working for HIP Ag, you can find her gardening, hiking or swimming the shorelines with her dog, Fern.

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Meg ‘Sunshine’ Roberts

Kohala Food Hub Manager

sunshine@hipagriculture.org

Sunshine serves the HIP team as the Assistant Farm Manager, Farm-to-School Coordinator, helps manage the apprenticeship program, and is the unofficial “Food Safety Queen.” She comes to HIP from a background in art, social justice, healthcare, and nonprofit development, making her path to agriculture a non-traditional one.

She holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with an emphasis in ceramics and a personal focus in socially engaged practice from North Dakota State University. Her research into art, ecology, and reproductive justice culminated in founding a 501c3 community benefit organization in Fargo, ND in 2012. From work with her own, and others, arts and reproductive justice nonprofits, she honed skills in program development, data and efficacy analysis, strategic visioning, and grant review. As a former women's clinic manager, patient advocate, and patient coordinator, she brings experience in systems design, public health, management, and compassionate community care to the HIP team.

Her passion for food justice was kindled by working in a small, rural food pantry with her family in Northern Michigan. Seeing the disparity between the local coops and what was relegated to the most disenfranchised peoples in her community led her to seek out work at a picturesque organic farm just down the road from her family’s legacy of conventionally farmed land. There she grew deep love for working with the land, growing food & medicine for the community, and organizing with the school system to engage local kids in gleaning fresh food for the food pantry.

After living seasonally on Hawaiʻi for a few years, she came to HIP Ag as an apprentice in winter of 2017 to learn and work in service of food sovereignty, education, and community organizing building.

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Hualalai Keohuloa

Educator & Assistant School Farm Manager

Born in Moloka'i, raised on the island of Hawai'i, Hualalai Keaweoluna Keohuloa has dedicated his musical passion from his mother, Lynda Bertelmann, to bring universal awareness to our communities. His uncles sailed upon Hokule'as maiden voyage to Tahiti. Building the voyaging canoe, Makalii his Ohana continues to preserve the Hawaiian culture through the wa'a (canoe). Combining his music, his culture along with his 5 Keiki and Mana Wahine, Alohilani, Hualalai has found ways to protect, preserve and share our Hawaiian culture. Recently arrested for the protection of our Sacred Maunawakea, Hualalai humbly continues his quest as a Kia'i or guardian for all that he holds sacred. From his music to building canoes for the community, to standing Pa'a against negative impacts to our ʻAina and people, Hualalai has come to share his gifts with the community at large. He is new to farming but is loving the learning process and the ability to share his learnings with students while growing food for his family.

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Aaron Bradley

Farm Program Director

aaron@hipagriculture.org

Aaron began his farm education wwoofing on the Hawaiian islands before returning to his roots on the East coast to work on urban farming projects in New York City. After jobs on rooftop farms, hydroponic greenhouses, and educational gardens in the heart of Wall Street, he moved out west and started his own farm just a few miles outside Seattle. There, he created a successful business that grew new farmers along with the freshest vegetables in the area. Aaron has returned to the islands to help localize the food of Hawaii and teach others how to grow thier own prospering farm. He is a knowledgeable farmer with 7 years experience in both urban and rural farms.

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Will Elliott

Farm Manager

will@hipagriculture.org

Will was raised in the Midwest among a sprawling landscape of cotton and soybeans. He has over 20 years of food industry experience and has seen first-hand the disconnect in our food systems. Will saw the effects of poor diet and nutritionally void foods cause a variety of health ailments in friends and family. So, he decided to do something about it. He trained for two months in Costa Rica at Finca Tierra. He left a certified Permaculture designer and an advocate for better food systems. Will, in his second year with HIP Agriculture, is continuing his quest to bring the power of food back to the people.

501(c)(3)

To practice and teach ecologically conscious agriculture, empowering individuals and communities to cultivate alternative systems of living that restore human and environmental health.

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