img_6638Meet Zoe! Born and raised in Minnesota, Zoe Kosmas has been living, learning, and farming in Hawai`i since 2010. After graduating from the University of Vermont, she found her way to the soils of Kohala and helped to start the Hawai`i Institute of Pacific Agriculture. As her connection to food and land deepened, Zoe was inspired to take a life-changing  trip through South America to explore farming and community living. Upon returning to Hawai`i in 2013, Zoe worked as a Farm Production Assistant for the Kohala Center’s Demonstration Farm, helping to run their Beginning Farmer Training Program and High School Agriculture Internship. Zoe brings a sincere love and respect for the earth, knowing it provides so much, and finds joy in sharing that with others. She is looking forward to learning more about the `aina of Waimea and from all the keiki that have helped create beautiful Mala`ai! We are thrilled to have her join us.

11Program Director, Amanda Rieux was invited to the Big Island in January 2005 to start WMS’ Mala’ai Garden after working as a garden teacher for several years at chef Alice Waters’ Edible School Yard in Berkley, Ca. – the project that Mala’ai is patterned after. Ms. Rieux earned a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the Center For Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at U.C. Santa Cruz. Her Bachelors degree in International Relations with concentrations in Peace and Conflict Resolution and Intercultural Communications is from The American University, Washington, DC. She also holds an International Baccalaureate from United World College of the American West, Montezuma, New Mexico.


Executive Director Alethea Lai started at Mala`ai in 2010. Alethea moved to the Big Island in 1994 to finish her undergraduate degree in Marine Science at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo. She then went on to complete a Masters of Art in Geography from the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. Before working for Mala`ai, Alethea was the Development Director at the Kahilu Theatre. An avid locavore, Alethea brings her passion for fresh sustainable food to the garden.


47Garden Leader, Holly Sargeant Green became involved with Mala`ai when her son was a student there. Since then, she has been a volunteer, a board member, a part time assistant, and is now our full time Garden Leader! Holly’s enthusiasm and care for the garden is a true asset to the organization, and her experience and master gardner credentials are adding a richness and diversity to our programming.  Holly works hard to ensure that all her classes reinforce classroom lessons, as well as teach health and wellness and care for the land.  She is dedicated to each and every one of our students finding life-long success.