Here at Oahu Agriculture and Conservation Association, we see the value in everyone. We want to be a catalyst for positive change and appreciate you taking the time to get to know and work with us.
OUR MISSION: Support sustainable agriculture and conservation through education, research, and partnerships.
OACA was founded by a group of long-time farmers, business owners, landowners, and land managers who wanted to see ag thrive in Hawaii and be part of that solution. The founders comprise our board and staff. We operate with that same spirit and intent today and welcome all partners to collaborate and advance the sector together.
Efforts focus on expanding knowledge, support for producers, and implementation of best management practices for conservation and agriculture. We have three program areas:
Farmer and Rancher Education and Training
Together We Farm is the OACA signature producer program, which provides training and support in the following areas:
Soil Health and Nutrient Management
Worker Protection Standard
Pesticide Safety and Handling
Since January of 1950, West Oahu Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has advanced stewardship of Hawaii’s soil and water resources. The landscape of agriculture in Hawaii has shifted from plantation-style agriculture to small-scale operations. With hundreds of novel producers interested in utilizing the land, the leadership of West Oahu SWCD has increased support to educate and implement sustainable practices. OACA is a program manager for West Oahu SWCD.
OACA provides producers with supports to grow business. We host workshops that feature diverse partners with expertise in:
Conflict Resolution (often financial)
Grant and Loan Programs
Staff also provide producers with one-on-one consultation to review grant and loan programs available through partners. Opportunities include:
Branding and Marketing
Branding and Marketing
P-20 Initiatives: PreK-College Education
Educational programming for the public, schools, non-formal educators, and colleges is supported by a strong network of partners.
OACA supports schools and nonprofits such as the Hawaii Farm to School Hui, Future Farmers of America, 4-H and the Hawaii Farm Bureau through in-class presentations, educator workshops, and occasionally strategic planning.
Outreach is connected to standards and mission-oriented outcomes.
Educator workshops feature access to curriculum as well as place-based and culturally relevant materials. Training opportunities, teacher-direct grants, and a network of partners committed to supporting environmental education are shared with participants. Materials are aligned to NGSS and Common Core. Workshops are low to no cost due to our generous sponsors to funders and donors.
OACA is a charitable 501c3. All donations are used to advance Hawaii agriculture and conservation. Donations can be allocated for a particular program upon request.
Michelle Gorham Dasic
Vice President and Founder
Michelle enjoys the opportunity to leverage community assets by developing targeted training, strategic partnerships, and comprehensive educational initiatives that advance agriculture and conservation in Hawaii. With more 15 year’s experience advancing Hawaii’s conservation and agriculture fields, she encourages innovation and colalboration.
Board President and Founder
Kalani brings his years of experience and skills to help our organization grow and succeed. Kalani is a Kamehameha Schools Land Asset Manager, coach, and CCIM. His work includes community systems development and analysis, planning, strategic development of agricultural assets, and more.
Meet The Team
Amanda Shaw is the Executive Director of OACA. Raised on the Windward side of Oʻahu (Waimānalo), Amanda’s work over the past 15 years has focused on economic development and social equity in the fields of international development, trade and agriculture. At OACA, she leads strategic visioning for the organization's economic development, training and education and conservation programs.
Andreanna is the Outreach Coordinator of OACA. Raised in Makakilo, she is a recent graduate of the University of Hawaii West Oahu majoring in Sustainable Community Food Systems and Political Science. She is an experienced farmer and passionate advocate of Aloha and Malama Aina. At OACA, she is focused on community outreach through in-person contact and through the use of social media platforms. She is eager to help farmers and ranchers throughout the state gain the proper funding resources.
Ramsey is the Vice President of Diversified Agriculture at Pono Pacific Land Management, where he oversees Kuilima Farm. He and his team are developing and implementing a diversified agriculture farm production, having completed construction of a new wash/pack facility and receiving USDA Food Safety GAP certification in 2022. He and his team manage and support eleven other partner farmers on the 468-acre farm. Ramsey’s background in mechanical engineering, power generation, and energy efficiency provide an emphasis on leveraging technical innovations, power solutions, and overall operational efficiencies. Ramsey is a dedicated leader to his team, passionate about local agriculture in Hawaii’s food system, and a member of the Hawaii Farm Bureau.
Joe Para is the Agronomy Lead for Monsanto Kunia where his work focuses on all aspects of farming hybrids and nursery plants on this 2,200 acre parcel; a position he has held for the past 12 years. His career started on Maui where he initially settled his home and heart in the islands for 6 months before relocating to Molokai for approximately 2 years. Joe's connection to ag started long before this, however, through his work with local seed growers in Indiana and Ohio through high school and college. He is a dedicated father and agriculture leader in Hawaii. Joe further serves the ag community as a West Oahu SWCD Director, Hawaii Farm Bureau member, and treasurer of the Kunia Water Cooperative.
John McHugh, Ph.D., is the State of Hawaii, Department of Agriculture, Pesticides Program Manager. With 42 years of wide-ranging experience in agriculture as an entomologist, educator, manager and consultant, John has taught at Leeward Community College and the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. John also worked at DuPont Pioneer, Hana Hou Seed Harvest, LLC, Sumida Farm, Inc. and Crop Care Hawaii, LLC. John McHugh is also a dedicated community leader - serving the Hawaii Farm Bureau, Oahu Resource Conservation and Development Council, and the West Oahu Soil Conservation District.
Peter Gibson is an Oahu native who started his career in conservation with Castle and Cooke at the Dole Wahiawa plantation. Following this, for 25 years he served as the Natural Resource Coordinator for James Campbell’s non developed lands and then as the Project Manager for their Agricultural lands. Peter currently is consulting with Kapolei Property. As the longest-standing Director on the West Oahu SWCD board, Peter's quiet thoughtfulness is valued as is his commitment to community, ag, and conservation.