Food Policy Specialist
Nani hails from the islands of O’ahu and Maui, where she grew up rooted in the concept of mālama ‘āina — caring for the lands, waters, and communities that nurture us. Nani aims to translate community priorities into evidence-based policies and programs that shift the food environment in support of public health and social equity.
Nani brings extensive experience with food and nutrition policy and food system planning. She researched the approach to food systems change in 25 state food system plans and helped to develop a toolkit for planners and policymakers. She is now managing the first-ever food system policy plan for Hawai’i as part of Transforming Hawai’i’s Food System Together, an initiative that centers Indigenous knowledge in pursuit of a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient food system for Hawaiʻi. She is also leading the development of a stakeholder-driven farm to food bank and gleaning sustainability plan for Hawai’i.
In addition to her work with New Venture Advisors, Nani is a Community Health Fellow with the American Public Health Association and Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy, where she researches the health equity implications of policies related to issues like climate change, technology, and food security.
Nani received her MPH at the University of California at Berkeley where she was a fellow with the UC Global Food Initiative and received the Dean’s Diversity Award. She received a dual BA in Sociology and Philosophy from Williams College. She currently lives with three generations of her family in Kula, Maui, where they cultivate native crops like kalo (taro) and ‘uala (sweet potato) and support restoration of their local watershed.