Friends of Mukai

Friends of Mukai is a Vashon Island based non-profit organization dedicated to operation of the Mukai Farm & Garden.  Since 2012, FoM has worked to secure and preserve the Mukai house, garden, and fruit barreling plant—all constructed almost 90 years ago. 

As stewards of the historic Mukai Farm & Garden, FoM works to interpret and celebrate the following themes: 

– The history of Mukai Farm, including the land, the structures, the people who shaped it, and the family’s prominent role in the island community

Island Agriculture including the evolution and impact of strawberry farming and other forms of pre-World War II agriculture on Vashon Island

Gardening in the Japanese tradition, with a focus on Kuni Mukai’s garden and its stylistic relationship to gardens in the Pacific Northwest

Japanese American Presence on Vashon and the region including the experiences, contributions and culture of Japanese immigrants and their descendants including post-war Nikkei-Americans

Social Justice and Human Rights, with a special focus on past and present day issues related to immigrants of ALL origins to the United States 

FoM has assembled funding for capital improvements to the Mukai house and Japanese garden, thanks to our amazing public partners.  We expect to finish restoration of these soon.  Already, the house and garden are open to the public with featured events, parties, picnics, workshops, and general garden strolls. 

We are in the process of raising restoration funds for the fruit barreling plant.  We have secured phase one funds, and are in the process of stabilizing the building and beginning a tenant selection process. We will look to establishing a capital campaign in 2021 to begin phase two.

Friends of Mukai
2019-20 Board members

Bottom row, left to right: Rita Brogan (President), Meg Nelson (Secretary), Kay Longhi (Treasurer), Nancy Wolff, Steve Brown

Top row: Tina Shattuck, Stephen Jeong, Mary Rabourn (Vice President), Mary Bergman, J. F. Mannina, Dan Connolly

Not shown: Joe Okimoto

2021 Board Bio's

Name

Bio

Mary Bergman

Mary Bergman is a retired physician, researcher and administrator.  She is a very active volunteer on Vashon Island, and a past Vice-President with Mukai.  She serves on the Facilities Committee. 

Rita Brogan

Rita Brogan is a communications professional with deep ties to Seattle’s Asian Pacific community. She is a former board member of SCIDPDA, ACRS and US Japan Council. She currently serves as President of the Mukai Farm & Garden Board of Directors.  Born in Japan, she is an avid reader, gardener and food geek.

Steve Brown

Steve Brown has deep experience in construction, building restoration, and grant development.  He serves on the Finance and Facilities Committees.

Dan Connolly

Dan Connolly is a retired pharmacist and administrator.  He is active on Mukai’s Facilities Committee and handles many Mukai improvement projects

Stephen Jeong

Program and Communication Chair Stephen Jeong is an Events Coordinator at Asian Counseling and Referral Service where he manages special events, contracts, vendors, and volunteers.  He has a long history of activism in the Asian-Pacific Community.  He is a former professional dancer, an avid chef and enthusiastic gardener.

Ayumi Luke

Ayumi Nakada Luke’s passion is in U.S.-Japan relations.  She was born in a small town near Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture in Japan and is married to a retired U.S. diplomat.  She served as a reporter/editor for an English language publication in Japan and later served as a teacher to bilingual students in both the U.S. and Japan.  She is currently working to promote international educational travel from Japan to the U.S. through her company, Vashon Island Homestays.

Frederick Stimson Harriman

Fred Harriman lives with his wife Takayo in Burton on Vashon Island. He is a professional interpreter of Japanese and Spanish. Fred and Takayo and their two daughters lived in the city of Hamamatsu in Japan during the 70s, 80s, and 90s. He currently serves as the Chair of the Education and Research Committee of Friends of Mukai. 

Michal J. Kleer 

Mike Kleer is a retired landscape architect and a certified ESL instructor. He

currently runs a non-profit foundation which funds education and humanitarian efforts for Burmese refugees living in Northern Thailand. He is active with the WSU Master Gardener program and spends an inordinate amount of time tending his own extensive garden.

J.F. Mannina

Jean-François Mannina serves as FOM’s Treasurer.  J-F has worked in a number of leadership roles for insurance companies based in the Seattle area. J-F has lived and worked in Japan and has served on other boards that support both Japanese-American relations as well as second, third and fourth generation Japanese-Americans.  J-F’s focus for FOM is to build a sound financial footing to grow and sustain the cultural and educational programs that its members and the public can enjoy.

Meg Nelson

Mukai’s Board Secretary, Meg Nelson is a native Seattleite who has happily lived on Vashon Island for the past 5 years. Meg is an archaeologist with research interests in prehistoric hunter-gatherer land use.  She has completed many archaeological surveys, excavations, and considers herself lucky to be paid to be outside, at least when the weather is good.

Mary Rabourn

Mary Rabourn serves as board vice-president. Born in Japan, she works on communications and cross-cultural outreach for King County’s Department of Natural Resources. She co-chairs the Programs Committee.

Nancy Wolff

Nancy Wolff lives on Vashon Island with her husband, Len Wolff.  She has a son, daughter in law and granddaughter who live nearby in Tacoma.  Nancy Wolff is currently a Real Estate Broker with John L Scott on Vashon Island.   She has a background in Healthcare Management, operations and direct patient care.

Paula Wong

Paula Onodera Wong is a Seattle-born Sansei with a keen interest in the Asian American experience. A descendant of Tule Lake and Minidoka survivors, she has worked on projects for Densho, Wing Luke Asian Museum, Vashon Heritage Museum and Mukai Farm & Garden.  After a fulfilling career as a creative director, she now pursues ceramic arts and actively supports the empowerment of marginalized communities.

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