The Story of One Hawaiian Farmer, Lehia Apana

The Future Organic Farmer Grant winners were judged to have the strongest combination of commitment to leading a lifelong career in organic agriculture, investment and participation in the organic community, and dedication to growing the organic movement. Each grant recipient will receive $5,000 to apply toward their studies in organic agriculture. 

Find out how to apply for your own Future Organic Farmer Grant.

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Lehia Apana

In a recent interview, Lehia Apana, multi-year Future Organic Farmer grant recipient and co-founder of Polipoli Farms on Maui, Hawaii, recalled her struggle identifying as an organic farmer. Despite using agroforestry and applying organic methods on the farm for many years, Apana speaks of having imposter syndrome and wondering when she and co-founder Brad Bayless could call themselves farmers. Their journey is not unlike that of other young farmers across the United States or even of young professionals in the first five years of their careers. The learning curve is steep, especially in organic, and with new seasons and climate change bringing a different set of challenges with every planting and harvesting cycle, farmers are in a constant state of learning.

For this reason, among many others, the CCOF Foundation and Inspira Studios recently co-produced a video highlighting Apana’s story. Watch the video and join Lehia Apana and the CCOF Foundation for a special Earth Day virtual event.