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Puanani Brown

Operations Coordinator

Puanani (Pua) is the Operations Coordinator for the Real Food Generation (RFG). Inspired by her father, an environmental lawyer, and mother, a Native Hawaiian rights activist, Pua is deeply committed to environmental justice and Indigenous rights. Pua is also a former ballet dancer. After a series of knee surgeries brought her career with American Ballet Theatre to an end, Pua completed her undergraduate studies at Harvard College 2018 with a degree in Environmental Science and Public Policy. Pua’s interest in food sovereignty began while studying abroad with the School for International Training. Traveling from California to Vietnam, Morocco and Bolivia, Pua witnessed the common struggle of marginalized people around the world who are hit hardest by the impacts of climate disruption. She was particularly struck by the vulnerable position of subsistence farming communities whose ancestral lands and traditional practices are threatened by powerful corporate interests. Those issues resonated with her because of her familiarity with similar challenges in Hawai‘i, which inspired her senior thesis on Native Hawaiian food sovereignty and water rights. Pua’s thesis allowed her to reconnect with her cultural heritage and kuleana (responsibility) as an Indigenous student and activist. Pua was thrilled to win the 2018 Thesis Prize in Ethnicity, Migration, Rights at Harvard College and to have the chance to present her research at the SAEA National Conference held in Hawai‘i that summer. She joined RFG in March of 2019 after working on food policy at Friends of the Earth.

Pua’s pronouns are she, her, hers.

Email Pua at pua@realfoodgen.org