Mikala Minn, sustainable agriculture advocate and manager of Mahele Farms in Hana, is the 2019 recipient of the Mālama i ka ʻĀina Award. The award is given each in recognition of achievements to address the threat and spread of invasive species in Maui County. The award is sponsored by the Maui Invasive Species Committee, the Maui Association of Landscape Professionals, and the County of Maui.
Minn’s efforts to both develop and promote a rat and slug management protocol to safeguard against rat lungworm disease prompted his selection as the 2019 recipient. Minn’s devotion to Maui agriculture and commitment to protecting the community from the threat of invasive species extends beyond the 2016 spike in rat lungworm disease in East Maui. Minn, both in his role at Mahele Farms, as active member and officer in the Hawaii Farmers Union United, has alerted his East Maui neighbors and fellow farmers to proactive steps they can take to prevent the establishment little fire ants and protect the health of the land.
The award was presented by Makalae Ane, Environmental Coordinator with the County of Maui, Allison Wright, president of the Maui Association of Landscape Professionals, and Adam Radford, manager of the Maui Invasive Species Committee, in a ceremony at the Arbor Day Maui Garden Expo and 10,000 Hawaiian Tree Giveaway, November 2nd, at the Maui Nui Botanical Garden. The award featured a sculpture of a native hibiscus, kokio ula, by glass artist Jupiter Nielsen.
Hawaii Farmers Union United President Vincent Mina accepted the award on behalf of Minn. He praised Minn, speaking of his efforts in Hana as well as in the statewide efforts such as his role on the taro task force, preserving cultivars of taro. “Mikiala does so much to pass on his knowledge of local agriculture through mentorship. He is taking a responsible leadership path in his He is a beacon of light and leadership.