The Food Provider ~ September | October | November 2014

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter

In This Issue


Aloha Kākou

Cover Crops, Food Safety, Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement take center stage in this Fall 2014 issue of HānaiʻAi, the sustainable agriculture newsletter of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Join us on a trip to Kauaʻi to meet a longtime sustainable agriculture advocate and this issue's featured farmer, Jerry Ornellas.

Make sure to visit the "back pages" of the newsletter as well, which feature Publications & Programs, upcoming Workshops, Conferences and Meetings, and the Organic Update.  Stay up to date with our weekly SOAP activities via our twitter feed at: https://twitter.com/SOAPHawaii. As always, the mission of HānaiʻAi is to provide a venue for dissemination of science-based information to serve all of Hawaii's farming community in our quest for agricultural sustainability, and we would like to hear from you.

Welcome to CTAHR

Cynthia ReevesWe want to welcome Cynthia Reeves who joined the college in September as Maui County Administrator.  She is a UH Master’s alumna, who comes to us from her previous post as National Program Leader in Nutrition and Health for USDA NIFA, where she provided strategic planning, policy analysis, and leadership for Extension staff and programs in all US states and territories. We can feel very fortunate that she will bring her high-level experience and skills to this position.

Featured Farmer: Jerry Ornellas
Jerry's Farm, Kapaʻa Homestead, Kauaʻi

Jerry Ornellas

Area under production: approximately 12 acres

Years farming in Hawaiʻi: 40 years

Crops grown: I grow longon as my primary crop. I also grow lychee and breadfruit and have begun preparing areas for both dry and flooded kalo (taro). Bananas used to be my main crop, but now I grow bananas just for home consumption because of banana bunchy top virus (BBTV).

Fertility Management: I use a combination of conventional and organic management strategies. I use mulch, compost and commercial fertilizers when necessary as indicated by soil tests. I foliar feed with kelp extract and conventional fertilizers when trees are fruiting.

Read the full article here.

Hot Tips from Jerry's Farm

Jerry Ornellas


Mahalo nui loa to Jerry Ornellas for this interview and photos.

Sustainable & Organic Research and Outreach News

Effect of Intercropping Three Legume Species on Early Growth of Sweet Corn (Zea mays)

Amjad A. Ahmad, Theodore J.K. Radovich, and Nguyen V. Hue, UH-CTAHR

Corn/Cowpea performed significantly better compared to other legumes.

Two field experiments were conducted in Hawaii to study the effect of three legume species intercropped with sweet corn, soybean, bush bean, and cowpea, and corn alone served as control, on the growth, relative chlorophyll content, biomass, and yield in sweet corn. We got more chlorophyll, taller plants, higher biomass, and heavier corn ears under corn/legume intercropping treatments compared to corn only. Corn/Cowpea performed significantly better compared to other legumes. The results suggest that lower competition and/or the contribution of fixed N in the corn/cowpea treatment, contributed to the better growth. Read here.

FMI: Amjad Ahmad, email: alobady@hawaii.edu

Evaluation of Various Pathogen Remediation Strategies for Soil and Soilless Farming Systems in Anticipation of the New Food Safety Guidelines

Jensen Uyeda, Jari Sugano, S. Fukuda, and J. Odani

Treatment equipment

We evaluated different corrective measures such ozone, UV, chlorine and peracetic acid to reduce the microbial activity of E.coli in irrigation waters. We feel all remedial treatments evaluated hold promise for soil and soilless farming systems. Water quality issues need to be taken into account when implementing a remediation program. Read here.

FMI: Jensen Uyeda, email: juyeda@hawaii.edu

CRATE: Center for Rural Agricultural Training and Entrepreneurship


CRATE is a USDA NIFA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) funded grant for Small and Medium-Size Farm programs to develop sustainable agricultural practices that rely on efficient use of on farm resources and integrate natural biological cycles and controls that will eventually lead to promoting local community entrepreneurship in the tropical Pacific region. In this column, the CRATE team will publish recent project activities that will help local farmers to explore competitive and economically viable organic crop production methods.  

CRATE logoEvaluation of Microbes for Field Application in Hawaii

K-H. Wang, J. Sugano, J. Uyeda, T. Radovich, S. Ching, S. Mishra, A. Park, D. Meyer, M. Quintanilla, S. Fukuda, and S. Migita, UH-CTAHR

Soil Inoculum field trials

Sustainability of agricultural productivity on Hawaiian farmlands is dependent on maintaining or enhancing soil fertility and increasing on farm efficiency. Unfortunately, many short-term, intensive crop farming systems rely on frequent soil tillage that disturbs soil microbial activities which may eventually lead to a "tired soil."  In terrestrial farming systems, introducing beneficial soil organisms could serve as a faster approach to restore soil health in disturbed agroecosystems. A replicated field trial was conducted to evaluate the effects of several commercially available soil inoculi as well as a farm prepared soil inoculum known as indigenous microorganisms (IMO) following the practice of Korean Natural Farming on a sweet corn agroecosystem. Identification of a good soil inoculum which local farm communities can easily acquire, multiply, and utilize may heighten the use of on-farm resources, recycle farm waste, while ultimately fostering soil health. Read here.

FMI: Koon-Hui Wang, email: koon-hui@hawaii.edu

CRATE logoSuppression of Mites by Vermicompost Tea on Tea plant (Camellia sinensis)

S. Mishra, A. Park, J. Sugano, J. Uyeda, and K.-H. Wang, UH-CTAHR

Defoliation of tea leaves caused by mites.

Drenching plant root system with vermicompost tea is another approach to introducing beneficial soil organisms to agroecosystems. A field experiment was recently conducted to examine the effect of root drenching of vermicompost tea on tea (Camellia sinensis) plants infested with mites. In addition to its ability to increase plant available nutrients and plant growth promoting organic acids, research efforts have shown that vermicompost tea promotes high microbial activity in the soil which may lead to increased plant tolerance against stress and minimized pest damage of new plant growth. Read here.

FMI: S. Mishra, email: shova@hawaii.edu

From the Agribusiness Incubator

AIP logo

Target Markets:
Increase your sales by knowing who you’re selling to

A Target Market is a defined group of potential customers that is the focus (target) of your sales/marketing efforts. The more you know about this group, the better you are able to reach them and address their needs, thus increasing your sales. Read here.

FMI: Steve Chiang, email: schiang@hawaii.edu

Publications & Programs

Proper Technique for Injecting Albizia with Herbicide Milestone


Newly available as a FREE DOWNLOAD

Organic Update

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the award of over $52 million in support of the growing organic industry and local and regional food systems through five U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant programs. Read here.

Consumer demand for organic products continues to grow across the country, representing a $35 billion dollar industry in 2013.  To meet this demand, USDA has initiated a number of new and expanded efforts to connect organic farmers and businesses with the resources they need to ensure the continued growth of the organic sector domestically and abroad. Read here.

DIY Plant Breeding pub

Organic farmers are always on the lookout for better ways to combat weeds, insects, and disease, and produce an abundance of the healthiest and best-tasting crops. Having plant varieties that are suited for organic systems may be key to producing higher yields and better quality crops, and could play an important role in increasing organic farmers’ success. Read here.

For New Farmers

Molokai Native Hawaiian Beginning Farmer Program logo


Citizen Science

Bringing the Community Together

Ilima Ho-Lastimosa, CTAHR Community Coordinator

The Waimānalo Research Station welcomes Ilima Ho-Lastimosa as the new community coordinator for the Waimānalo Learning Center. Ilima is a lifelong resident of Waimānalo and a Master Gardener, and she has extensive hands-on experience in community development. She is already busy strengthening our existing relationships and developing new ones. In addition to her duties as the community coordinator, Ilima is currently a master’s candidate in the UH School of Social Work with a focus on behavioral and mental health, as well as the executive director and director of operations for God’s Country Waimānalo, the Waimānalo Ahupua‘a coalition that works to perpetuate traditional Hawaiian culture. Welcome, Ilima! CTAHR and the Station are lucky to have you!

There is renewed interest in home egg production, in part due to the work of CTAHR extension agents Glenn Fukumoto and Matt Stevenson. About two years ago Matt came out to show CTAHR students how to build a chicken tractor Glenn Fukumoto designed. One of the cages was demonstrated at the Waimānalo station, and donated to Hawaiian Homesteaders when mongoose started killing the chickens. This piece is a report from one of the homesteaders who is now our community coordinator at the Waimanalo station. Read here.

For more information on building a similar chicken tractor, see:

Workshops | Conferences | Meetings

UHMG logo CRATE: Center of Rural Agriculture Training for Entrepreneurship

UH CTAHR’s project entitled Center of Rural Agriculture Training for Entrepreneurship (CRATE) aims to develop sustainable agricultural practices that rely on efficient use of on farm resources and integration of natural biological cycles and controls to promote rural community entrepreneurship in the tropical Pacific region. A field day will be held at the Poamoho Experiment Station to show case the following techniques:

Soil Health:

Pest Management (field demo)

Videos & Webinars

Na Maka o ka ‘Aina - HawaiianVoice

Jerry Konanui gives an overview of how to document taro varieties using the list of plant descriptors found in “Descriptors for Taro – Colocasia esculenta,” published by the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute. From measuring the position and size of the leaf, to matching the colors of the petiole and corm flesh with botanical color charts, approximately 50 descriptors for each variety are recorded. Along with the scientific documentation, Jerry provides a wealth of cultural and historic information. His goal is to document as many of the Hawaiian taro varieties as possible for reference by future generations. http://youtu.be/Y1A0iqZHboE



Funding Opportunities

View them all at: http://www.westernsare.org/Grants/Types-of-Grants

Farmer/Rancher Grants

These one- to three-year grants are conducted by agricultural producers with support and guidance from a technical advisor. Individual farmers or ranchers may apply for up to $15,000, and a group of three or more producers may apply for up to $25,000. Producers typically use their grants to conduct on-site experiments that can improve their operations and the environment and can be shared with other producers. Grant recipients may also focus on marketing and organic production. Applications are due by 1 p.m. MST Dec. 3, 2014.

Professional + Producer Grants

These one- to three-year grants are similar in concept to the Farmer/Rancher Grants with a few key differences. Instead of a producer serving as the project coordinator, an agricultural professional – Cooperative Extension educator or Natural Resources Conservation Service professional, for example – coordinates the project. A farmer or rancher serves as the project advisor. Applicants can seek up to $50,000 and must have at least five producers involved. Applications are due by 1 p.m. MST Dec. 3, 2014.

Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (WSARE)

Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program WSARE

View the fall issue of Simply Sustainable with articles on Montana producers testing cover crops, managing Iron deficiency in dry beans, project visits by Western SARE, and ag in Alaska.

Since 1988, the WSARE program has been supporting agricultural profitability, environmental integrity and community strength through grants that enable cutting-edge research and education to open windows on sustainability across the West, including Hawai'i. The goals of WSARE are:

For more information, please see: http://www.westernsare.org/ or contact Hawai'i WSARE co-coordinators Dr. Ted Radovich (theodore@hawaii.edu) and Jari Sugano (suganoj@ctahr.hawaii.edu). 

This e-publication has been prepared by CTAHR research scientists and extension staff to deliver science-based information about sustainable and organic production systems to serve Hawaii's farming community.

Mahalo nui loa,

Jari Sugano and Dr. Ted Radovich
Jody Smith, e-Extension Manager
Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program
Cooperative Extension Service
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources