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MauiGrown Coffee official joins Mahi Pono

Falconer to lead company’s community farming, coffee efforts

JAMES “KIMO” FALCONER, Joins Mahi Pono as adviser

The president of MauiGrown Coffee, James “Kimo” Falconer, has agreed to serve as an adviser to Mahi Pono and will lead the company’s community farming effort — which is currently accepting queries from farmers — as well as provide expertise and guidance for the company’s coffee operation.

Mahi Pono, a joint venture of California-based Pomona Farming and the Canadian Public Sector Pension Investment Board that purchased of 41,000 acres of agricultural land from Alexander & Baldwin late last year, made the Falconer announcement Friday.

“With more than 30 years of experience in Maui’s agricultural community, Mahi Pono is pleased that Kimo has agreed to be a part of our team as we launch our community farming efforts and work on our company’s coffee operation,” said Shan Tsutsui, senior vice president of operations at Mahi Pono. “His passion for agriculture and proven success in running the MAUI Origin coffee brand will be invaluable.”

Falconer established MauiGrown Coffee in 2003 in the wake of the closure of Pioneer Mill Sugar Co. on the west side. As the former director of agricultural research for Pioneer Mill, he was actively involved in the initial planting of certified MAUI Origin coffee at the Kaanapali estate in the late 1980s.

Today, in partnership with landowner Kaanapali Land Management, the 500-acre estate is home to Falconer’s MAUI Origin coffee brand, the news release said.

“Keeping as much land in agriculture on Maui is extremely important to me and our community,” Falconer said. “When Mahi Pono approached me to share my expertise, I couldn’t refuse an opportunity to help secure Maui’s future for generations to come.

“Mahi Pono’s commitment to providing opportunities for community farming is a project that I am passionate about and excited to work on. This is a win-win for everyone.”

Maui residents interested in community farming opportunities with Mahi Pono can fill out an online inquiry form available on Mahi Pono’s website at www.MahiPono.com.

Tsutsui has said the company hopes to begin the community farming effort by the end of this year. Other company officials said the community farm would offer 1-, 5- and 10-acre blocks to local farmers. Farmers would be able to use the land and also have access to Mahi Pono’s equipment, management, budgeting and marketing services.

Mahi Pono is looking at sites around the Puunene Mill for the community farming effort, company officials said,

Falconer also expressed interest in partnering with Mahi Pono on its coffee venture. He said the main issue with his MAUI Origin coffee production is that he has been unable to produce enough coffee to meet market demand.

“We have fallen short every year; I hope we will be able to change this in the future,” he said.

In other Mahi Pono staffing news, Tiare Lawrence has taken the position of director of community affairs at Mahi Pono. Lawrence ran unsuccessfully for the state House last year.