Board of Directors
Interim President | Wife of a veteran and Realtor at Hawaii Life, Jeanna specializes in veteran-owned land purchases.
Jeanna has spent the last 20 years developing a well -rounded management perspective at several successful multi-million dollar global companies.
Jeanna’s passion to get back to the simpler things in life, brought her and her family to Hawaiʻi Island in 2014. She is reconnecting with the land and the community as her family focuses on becoming self-sufficient and sustainable.
Vice President | Josh has more than 6 years of experience acting as a liaison on behalf of various 501c veteran organizations.
Josh is a 13-year decorated Special Operations Forces (SOF) veteran who served with Marine Corps. Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) as an Operator. He received a medical retirement in 2014 for a multitude of injuries sustained during his service. He is extremely passionate and dedicated in his continued service to veterans and their families in all aspects of life.
Secretary | John is a former school teacher who enlisted and served in the Army immediately following the 9/11 attacks.
After his Defense Department service, he returned to the land to find a new mission in service of those who serve our nation—our veterans and their families. He believes that providing natural agriculture education and training can positively benefit humanity and improve a person’s physical and mental well-being.
Treasurer | Rochelle is the founder of Kuleʻa Tax and Financial Services and the proud mother two active-duty military children.
Emily’s prior experience includes a career in marketing and sales, nonprofit management, and veteran advocacy on the national, state, and local levels. She has also participated in two Farmer Veteran Coalition National Conferences. As one of the founders of Hoʻōla Veteran Services, Emily was motivated by her husband who is a military veteran living with traumatic brain injury and PTSD. After taking up gardening, Mr. Emmons experienced significant positive changes in his health and psychological conditions, and the couple was inspired to provide this therapeutic opportunity to other veterans coping with PTSD and other conditions and hardships.
Since 2014, Emily has held influential positions, including service as a field representative for U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and an Elizabeth Dole Foundation Fellow. Through this work, Emily has been an advocate for veterans and their families living in rural areas and has developed a strong network of local, state, and national stakeholders who support Hoʻōla. Emily has been a speaker at the Farmer Veteran Coalition, Elizabeth Dole Foundation Hidden Heroes event, two Department of Defense conferences, and, most recently, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, where—as a panelist—she dicussed transitioning military personnel and the role of the caregiver, along with the importance of supporting agriculture programs for veterans on a local level.
Program Manager | Tara channels passion for sustainability and experience in design and event management into making our programs a success.
After relocating to Hawaiʻi Island in 2015, Tara discovered her newfound desire to address the challenges of local food security and agricutlural sustainability on the island. Becoming part of the solution became her true focus. Hoʻōla Farms encouraged Tara to get involved and learn from the community what our food security challenges are and how we can do our part to bridge the gap.
Tara spent the next two years working and volunteering with local stakeholders like The Vet Center in Hilo, Hawaiʻi Island Food Alliance, Hawaiʻi Island Food Basket, Blue Zones Project, Rotary Club of South Hilo, and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s Campaign, as well as completing the Beginner Farmer Rancher Development Program with the Kohala Center in 2017.
Tara is excited to begin the mobile program working to educate veterans and their families to sustainably grow their own food and raise awareness that this simple process can be a healing one.
Veteran Advisor | Joshua has over 23 years of service as a Navy Combat Veteran, Intelligence Analyst, Human Trafficking Officer, Police Officer, and Emergency Manager.
Joshua is a serial entrepreneur with business ventures in real estate, sales, fabrication, analytics, and now geospatial business analytics. Josh has volunteered and supported nonprofit organizations such as Team Rubicon, Wounded Warrior Project, Team Red, White, and Blue, Habitat for Humanity, and has served as a coach for youth baseball. Joshua jumped at the opportunity to work with Hoʻōla Farms, fulfilling his passion to serve veterans and assist in problem-solving solutions for agriculture sustainability. Josh’s hobbies are Jiu Jitsu, beekeeping, farming, and riding motorcycles anywhere and everywhere.
Financial Administrator | Born in Hilo and raised on the Hāmākua Coast, Aimee is a proud veteran of the Air Force with 11 years served on active duty and in the Guard.
After living in England and Texas, Aimee returned home where she earned a BA in Geography from University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Shortly before leaving the military, she discovered her passion for dog training and is currently working on completing her Professional Dog Trainer certification.
Aimee has had previous volunteer and internship experiences in geographic information systems, environmental conservation, animal welfare, and community outreach. She is a strong believer in finding healing and clarity through the great outdoors. As part of the Hoʻōla team, she is looking forward to providing support to fellow veterans on their journeys as they learn to heal and grow alongside nature. In her free time, Aimee enjoys reading, hiking, gardening and spending time with her pets.
Consultant | Jason served in the Marine Corps from 1991 to 1996. After visiting Hawaiʻi several times a year since 1995, he relocated to the Big Island as a full-time resident in April 2019.
Jason always loved the island and the sense of extended ʻohana and aloha that he found here. These days he’s focused on agroforestry, working on cultivating a two-acre parcel into a fruit forest—a little slice of paradise! Jason’s other interests include blacksmithing, woodworking, and building. He is currently working on completing his workshop so he can continue to fine tune his knifemaking skills and create more awesome metalwork. Check out Da Hawaiian Viking, Jason’s DIY builder-maker channel on YouTube!
Farm Workshop Coordinator | Danny loves being outdoors. Hailing from a military family, he’s aware of what veterans and their families sacrifice in the line of duty.
Farm-to Car Coordinator | A Big Island agricultural business owner herself, McKenzie is proud to support local farmers through the Farm-to-Car market!
After graduating college, McKenzie moved to Hawaiʻi in 2013 to pursue an internship with Big Island Coffee Roasters. In addition to seven years spent working in the coffee industry, McKenzie has experienced the island through the lens of Cultural Surveys Hawaiʻi working as an Archaeological Technician for two years. She also lives and works on her partner’s family farm, Puna Gardens, where they grow and harvest heart of palm to supply restaurants around the world.
When COVID-19 began to impact Hawaiʻi Island businesses in 2020, McKenzie worked with the Hilo County Farm Bureau to launch East Hawaiʻi Farm-to-Car, a virtual farmer’s market for local products with drive-thru pickup. When grant funding for the market ended in 2021, Hoʻōla Farms assumed management of the program. During her time on the Big Island, McKenzie has learned that sustainable agriculture is vital to our collective well-being. She is passionate about growing and strengthening our local farming community in order to increase our island’s food security for the future. McKenzie is delighted to work with Hoʻōla Farms to continue to grow Hawaiʻi Farm-to-Car.
Digital Developer | Cody is Co-Founder of Big Island Made and is contracted by Hoʻōla to assist with digital organization, workflows, communications, and publishing.
Cody has a masters in Conservation Biology from University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and a BA in Marine Science from Texas A&M—Corpus Christi. After graduating from UH in 2009, Cody spent some time on Oʻahu and the West Coast before ultimately returning to the Big Island following the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. He enjoys spending time with friends and hanai family, hiking, snorkeling, and spending as much time in or near the ocean as possible.
In addition to his role at Big Island Made, Cody currently works as a freelance digital developer. He previously worked as a Legislative Aide in the Hawaiʻi State Legislature (2015-2016), Communications Coordinator for the Greater Seattle Business Association, and Community Manager with Seattle Good Business Network and the Seattle Made program. He looks forward to helping value-added agricultural producers to succeed on the Big Island in an effort to help localize Hawaiʻi’s economy.
Groundwork to Grow Program Manager | Anthony is the founder of Big Island Box, a subscription gift box company featuring products exclusively from Big Island businesses.