President: Vivienne Aronowitz is a Registered Dietitian working with Kaiser Permanente patient services. She also participated in the Hawai’i Island “Live Well” project with Dr. Terry Shintani and has assisted Mala’ai since its inception, advising on healthy recipes and snacks for students for testing, family events, free food markets, and after-school and summer programs.
Vice President: Patti Cook is the Community Liasion for Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School and serves on several community organizations.
Treasurer: Michelle Chavez-Pardini is mother of three, grandmother of two, who has a long standing interest in community/school gardens; Mediator & Peace Activist who believes eating local and supporting organic gardening will help grow healthy children & communities.
Chef Sandy Barr is formerly with Merriman’s and now teaches culinary arts at Hawai’i Community College. Her knowledge and passion about cooking is a true asset to our organization.
Erin Lee was born, raised and educated in Honolulu, but has been a Hawai`i Island resident since 1978. University of Hawai`i at Hilo graduate from the College of Tropical Agriculture. Director of Landscape at Hualalai Resort at Kaupulehu-Kona since 2000. Also Co-owner and operator of Lokelani Gardens, established in 1988. It is a small family farm in Waimea known for its vine ripe tomatoes.
Jennifer Buddenhagen joined our Board of Directors. Jennifer worked with non-profit arts organization and is now our new graphic designer!
Sam Murray joined our Board of Directors from Australia via Oahu and Oregon. As a Director of the WHH-Foundation, a family foundation, she worked with many organizations but most of her service was dedicated to the City of Gresham in Oregon, as a Parks Commissioner. As a philanthropist serving on numerous boards, she embraced the due diligence component and immersed herself assisting non-profits with their growth. Sam returned to Hawaii in 2008 with her family and quickly learned of the needs of our Island home, while still continuing her work in Oregon. Since then she has partnered with many non-profits here on the Big Island helping our community to prosper. She brings a wealth of international knowledge to us through her philanthropic work in the environmental, educational, arts and catering worlds.
Maria Peterson just joined our Board of Directors. A highly talented private chef Maria brings her culinary and special event skills to Mala`ai.
Joe Gaglione just joined our Board of Directors. Joe runs a heavy equipment business and was raised in Waimea. He is excited to help Mala`ai grown and flourish.
Founder: Dr. Michelle Suber, continues her involvement in the program as an advisor to the staff and Board of Directors, and as a volunteer in the garden.