Program Director, Amanda Rieux was invited to the Big Island in January 2005 to start WMS’ Mala’ai Garden after working as a garden teacher for several years at chef Alice Waters’ Edible School Yard in Berkley, Ca. – the project that Mala’ai is patterned after. Ms. Rieux earned a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the Center For Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at U.C. Santa Cruz. Her Bachelors degree in International Relations with concentrations in Peace and Conflict Resolution and Intercultural Communications is from The American University, Washington, DC. She also holds an International Baccalaureate from United World College of the American West, Montezuma, New Mexico. Amanda is about to begin maternity leave, returning early next year.
Executive Director Alethea Lai started at Mala`ai in 2010. Alethea moved to the Big Island in 1994 to finish her undergraduate degree in Marine Science at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo. She then went on to complete a Masters of Art in Geography from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. Before working for Mala`ai, Alethea was the Development Director at the Kahilu Theatre. An avid locavore, Alethea brings her passion for fresh sustainable food to the garden.
Garden Leader, Holly Sargeant Green became involved with Mala`ai when her son was a student there. Since then, she has been a volunteer, a board member, and is now our new Garden Leader! Holly’s enthusiasm and care for the garden is a true asset to the organization, and her experience and master gardner credentials are going to add richness and diversity to our programming.