JAMES (KIMO) SIMPLICIANO
“My food revolution began in 2007 when I was volunteering my time with a youth at risk program called ‘Alternative Learning Center’ (ALC) at Lahainaluna High School in Hawaii.”
Simpli-fresh produce LLC Hawaii
Food revolutionist with Chef Jamie Oliver
I was always farming or gardening back on Oahu with my family, mom and dad and other relatives. I am growing at a couple of private estate homes which supplements my private chef friend, Riko Bartolome. During my time here on the island of Maui, my passion was reignited when I started volunteering at Lahainaluna High School’s ALC program. I wanted to share my knowledge in good fresh home-cooked meals. As a lead Banquet cook at the Westin Maui I not only enjoy cooking but also devoting my time towards growing healthy nutritious organic fruits and vegetables, wherever possible trying to maintain and sustain localvore: buying local produce and growing community gardens. I was inspired by a great Oahu Mao Organic Farm and I truly believe every community should have more outlets like these for the youth. I believe teaching about food is great, and creating an activity such as gardening keeps kids fit and out of the house. Coupled together these could be a solution to fight childhood obesity.
I have been given farms on private land. I knew I couldn’t do it alone so I asked a few friends to lend me a hand. They, in return, get to plant and sell vegetables. I test plant seeds from my dad and heirloom organic seed companies. The business is growing and the demand for local produce is on the rise. From citrus to root vegetables, I have been able to grow, forage and sell. I don’t have the full time luxury of farming full time–I work another job full-time and do this part-time. Equipment is expensive, but I’m starting a savings for farm implements. Since I do not spray unless organic OMRI certified, I’m having trouble with pests. I would like to take classes to get organic food safety certified. Although I have faced some challenges, I have received great support in this mission. Restaurants that support me include Honu, Mala, Merrimans, I’o, Hula Grill, Pineapple Grill and Humunukunukuapua‘a. I also sell at the Launiopoko farmers market on Saturdays.