Friends of Mukai

Friends of Mukai is a Vashon Island based non-profit organization dedicated to operation of the Mukai Farm & Garden.  Since 2012, Friends of Mukai 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, Friends of Mukai works to interpret and celebrate the following themes:

  1. 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
  2. Island Agriculture including the evolution and impact of strawberry farming and other forms of pre-World War II agriculture on Vashon Island
  3. Gardening in the Japanese tradition, with a focus on Kuni Mukai’s garden and its stylistic relationship to gardens in the Pacific Northwest
  4. 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
  5. 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

Friends of Mukai 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 establish a capital campaign to begin phase two.

2024 Board of Directors

Name Biography
Jade Keala Agua (Vice President) Jade Keala Agua recently moved to Vashon Island after earning her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California. She also holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration. She currently serves as Chief Learning Officer at the USC Race and Equity Center. She has been involved in leading trips to the Manzanar concentration camp in California and serving as a docent at the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles. Her relevant skills include budget planning, coaching, creative problem-solving and strategic planning.
Tom Alderson  (Treasurer) Tom Alderson has been a Vashon resident for nearly 40 years.  In 2020 he retired from a career in the maritime industry, having owned and managed a business, Emerald Maritime, that I started 30 years ago for shipping Washington apples and other fruits and vegetables to many countries worldwide. He has been a member of FoM since its inception and joined the Fruit Barreling Plant committee in 2019, partly because of the connection between the plant’s historic function and his career exporting fruit.
Rita Brogan Rita Brogan is the founder and former CEO of PRR, Inc. a national strategic communications and marketing agency focused on community building, the environment and human health. Her social justice activism has included roles such as former chair of the Washington State Women’s Council, co-founder of the Asian-Pacific Women’s Caucus, and the appointment by President Jimmy Carter to the National Commission for Women. Rita has served on the boards of the Seattle Chinatown-International District PDA, Washington State Transportation Commission, Asian Counseling and Referral Service, Downtown Seattle Association, Pacific Medical Center and City University. She currently serves on the board of the Japan America Society of State of Washington and as past President of Friends of Mukai on Vashon Island.
Lynn Greiner Lynn Greiner is an attorney and one of the founders of the Friends of Mukai. She is active in many Vashon organizations and has contributed immensely to the Farm and Garden’s development for over ten years as an active volunteer and former Board Chair. Her primary goal is to support completion of the fruit barreling plant restoration.
Asano Hayama Asano Hayama and her husband were drawn to Vashon in the midst of the pandemic because of its natural beauty, art scene, sense of community, proximity to Seattle, and, finally, because of Mukai. Inspired by natural beauty, art, community, and Japanese culture, Asano continues to seek opportunities to connect with the local community and find new friends with common interests. Asano has loved the experience of getting to know the Friends of Mukai and is excited about more Mukai projects and activities in the future.
Riya Kuo (President) Riya Kuo is an executive coach to unconventional leaders who know what it’s like to be the “only one” of them in the room, as well as a mediator and arbitrator. Previously, she spent over a decade as a corporate attorney in big law and big tech. Social justice has been a core value for her since the beginning, and she believes that involvement at the local community level is vital to the greater movement.
Kay Longhi Kay Longhi grew up on Vashon, and is now back on the island after retirement. Her experiences visiting in New England, and living in Alabama gave her a deep appreciation for historic preservation. Kay is a past president of Friends of Mukai, and now volunteers to create Mukai programming and facilitate preservation of the fruit barreling plant.
Meg Nelson (Secretary) Mukai’s Board Secretary, Meg Nelson, is a native Seattleite who has 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.

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