A. Whalen has a strong commitment to agriculture as an industry, and also to the
lives of the farmers who contribute to it.
Director of the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center since 1994, Stephanie has
been with the organization since 1973. Overall, she has more than 40 years' experience in the agricultural industry in Hawaii. She has been involved in issues
ranging from pesticide registrations and monitoring, water quality
monitoring, environmental community concerns over agriculture and asset
Stephanie’s biggest accomplishments is the creation of a holistic agriculture
community at the site where low-income housing for agriculture workers was
slated to be demolished. With a failing infrastructure, Superfund status and
zoning concerns, Stephanie saw only opportunity. Undaunted by many years of
zoning, financial and bureaucratic roadblocks, she championed a team of leaders
to support the development of a new community complete with educational facilities,
a farmers market, a gym and community center, and other facilities. The community must be located in
close proximity to employment for the agricultural workers and made available at a price
point these important economic contributors could afford.
she directed the acquisition of some prime agriculture lands on a major highway
corridor and preserved them in perpetuity for agriculture through a
conservation easement. The site includes a state-of-the art research
laboratory, offices, infrastructure and lands to support tillable crops.
believe in the need for agriculture and am inspired by the hard working people
who make it possible,” says Stephanie. “I hope to create a rural community
model that is sustainable, energy independent and a desirable place to live.”
Stephanie is a committed leader and works to find innovative solutions to some of the
most difficult economic problems that face the agriculture community. Not
dissuaded by roadblocks, she works to find common ground and always keeps her
eye on the end goal: building a better life for the people of Hawaii and caring for the
environment and society that the agriculture industry impacts.
Follow the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center on Facebook
Explore Top 100 Honorees
Back to Honorees