SARE Professional Development Program Annual Report for Hawaii
January 1 - December 31, 2013
State SARE co-Coordinators:
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
45-260 Waikalua Road, #101
Kaneohe HI 96744
Summary of 2012 PDP Activities and Results
In 2013 PDP activities focused on disseminating data and information to support several priority areas, including:
- Reduced reliance on imported fertilizers
- Beginning and underserved farmer programs
- Ecological pest control
This year was marked by yet further expansion: (1) Jari Sugano served as PDP co-coordinator, (2) five new topic leaders were added to the program (bringing the total to 20), and (3) SOAP expanded its presence on social media via FaceBook and Twitter.
During 2013, the PDP program engaged 16 CES agents, 10 NRCS planners and conservationists, 5 agricultural consultants, 5 representatives from private nonprofit organizations, 120 master gardeners and 5 high school vocational ag instructors. Highlights of this year include continued expansion of our training efforts with USDA NRCS, featuring Western SARE-funded and other sustainable ag projects at four statewide workshops and in the SOAP newsletter, and travel scholarships for CES. Additional activities were conducted by leveraging Western SARE funds, described in detail below.
Context and Overview
To maximize the impact of limited resources and address the breadth of training needs, Hawaii SARE PDP continues to collaborate with other programs within UHM to finance and provide relevant training programs for CES agents and specialists, NRCS staff and other agricultural professionals. This is done primarily through the trans-disciplinary Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program (SOAP). Summaries of Western SARE PDP activities and products are posted to the SOAP webpage, and Western SARE PDP funding continues to support website maintenance. Additional details are addressed below, and may be found on the website.
Our program continues to benefit from healthy working relationships with the CTAHR Office of Cooperative Extension, USDA NRCS, Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation (HFBF), the Hawaii Organic Farmers Association (HOFA), Kohala Center, University of Hawaii Hilo Sustainable agriculture program and programs at several UH community colleges. The extensive use of electronic media to distribute information continues to be effective in supporting our geographically dispersed clientele.
Activities and Methods
Western SARE Funded Activities
Travel Scholarships: Western SARE-funded professional development activities during this reporting period were: (1) AgPro workshop for CES staff (September 25-26, 2013); (2) A total of four travel or workshop scholarships for extension agents and advisory council members; (3) support for a workshop on Protecting Beneficials in Hawai‘i and the American Pacific; (4) partial support for the Sustainable and Organic Program website, YouTube channel, SurveyMonkey services and our Hanai’Ai newsletter. Additional activities were conducted by leveraging Western SARE funds, described in detail later.
AgPro: Hawaii Western SARE Professional Development Program (September 25-26, 2013)
Fourty-one agricultural professionals, which included CTAHR researchers, specialist and agents, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, USDA,and organic certifying agency representatives from across Hawaii gathered for a two-day program to focus on sharing information about sustainable practices for pest control, livestock management, urban gardening, ornamental and landscape production, and honey and bee production and to integrate these practices into new farmer training programs in Hawaii. The agenda and presentations are posted.
A summary of the results of the AgPro program evaluation (conducted via SurveyMonkey) is available. Of our 41 participants, 24 completed the evaluation (79% from Extension, 13% Researchers, 8% State/Federal Agency). One hundred percent of respondents rated the usefulness of information from the workshop either as excellent or good, on a scale of 1=poor, 2=fair, 3=good and 4=excellent. All the participants indicated that the AgPro: Hawaii Western SARE Professional Development Program improved their awareness about sustainable and organic agriculture practices and provided them with new knowledge. Seventy four percent of attendees indicated they obtained new skills and competencies and the educational program modified their opinions and attitudes towards sustainable and organic agriculture practices. Eighty-eight percent of participants felt the AgPro training improved their ability to provide advice or recommendations to their various stakeholder groups.
Participants were also asked to provide examples on ways they would utilize the information obtained at the AgPro: Hawaii Western SARE Professional Development Program event. Testimonies included: “I supervise a lot of staff so I will work it into our work discussion; know topic area contacts and expertise for clientele references; will use the knowledge in my research and presentation; I would love for all UH MGs and urban gardening public to know about the amazing research that CTAHR produces. I satisfy some of this knowledge outreach through the core classes of the MG training program. But I'd like to add a "research update" article to our statewide newsletter. And/or webcast a research update highlighting a research update; I have new knowledge of practices to pass on to home gardeners, commercial farmers and via my extension programs; I will use the knowledge gained in my field assistance in advising farmers, especially on the fertilizers and spray coverage; The SOAP workshop provided me with a bird's eye view of the different programs and an opportunity to meet and establish important contacts for future collaborations; Networking with other agents and agencies allows me to understand the different programs available and that others are working on. I hope to build awareness with my farmers on topics that may be important to them by providing them with contacts, with information, or by inviting speakers over to discuss these topics; We will incorporate some of the information provided at the event into our resources for our Hawaii clients; The presentation were very informative, which increased my knowledge and its part of my educational tools; In promoting the college and its activities to the general public and key constituents (e.g., lawmakers); To help to better organize CES programs; encourage non-chemical pest control measures based-on ongoing research developments specific to Hawaii and Hawaii crops; seeing and understanding new models access to resources; will apply some of the demonstrations found at the Poamoho Research Station; spoke to Ethel Villalobos about doing beekeeping classes at our garden; let people know of programs; Use of compost in cropping systems; I will use Matthew Loke (HDOA) stats when writing up grants. I can now refer new farmers to several programs that I'm made aware of through presentations; utilized new materials learn in my research or teaching whenever possible; considering the intense debates regarding GMOs, pesticides, land use, water resources, etc...I know that I'll use information presented with my stakeholders.”
Participants’ testimonials about the recent Sustainable and Organic agricultural professional development program included: “The variety of speakers was very good; second day field tour with talks; involvement of successful growers; seeing those that I work for and with to catch up; the chance to exchange with other agents; It was all good and valuable; in general, all topics presented on both days; the diversity of participants and presenters; coming together to learn from and talk with other agents, specialists, researchers and agency personnel; the networking with peers was the most useful and enjoyable for me; I am very isolated as a telecommuter and the islands are expensive to traverse, so being in a group of ag-minded folks is very refreshing; hard to pick one, but it would probably be getting to visit the Poamoho station. Beyond that, I'm always interested in learning about faculty projects and research; seeing the breadth of science-based work in a wide range of issues involved in food production; discussions with participants; presentations; interaction with other agents; meeting new people, networking, knowledge about what is occurring on the neighbor islands; interacting with colleagues and learning what they are doing; Seeing what everyone is up to; engaging with other extension agents and specialist, developing the network and awareness of agricultural outreach in our CTAHR ohana; Hearing about impact from the new farmer programs on Molokai and in Hau`ula, and Natural Farming on all islands; reports from field agents on farmers and farms, particularly in neighbor islands; Hearing first hand what others are doing in CTAHR...that has been missing for so long.”
Aquaculture: The Western SARE PDP coordinators, UH faculty and staff continue to support aquaculture by presenting at two important conferences during 2013.
- Aquaculture of Tilapia in Hawaii (March 16, 2013)
- Aquaponics in Hawaii (May 25, 2013)
Urban Horticulture: The Western SARE PDP coordinators, UH faculty and staff continue to support urban horticulture via the UH Master Gardener Program, providing training in sustainable and organic gardening. Five CES and ~120 master gardeners were engaged directly during this reporting period. On-line MG training materials for the MG class of 2013 can be viewed for Maui and Oahu.
Pearl City Urban Garden continues to feature an organic and sustainable gardening demonstration area and offer public workshops related to these practices.
Socially Disadvantaged / Underserved Farmers: The Western SARE PDP coordinators, UH faculty and staff continue to support the Local Immigrant Farm Education (LIFE) Program, coordinated by CES agent Jari Sugano. Over 62 educational events were coordinated in conjunction with SOAP on a variety of topics from safe pesticide use to vermicompost teas. Conversion of the LIFE Training Farm to a second SOAP Learning Center at the Poamoho Research Center was also established this year. The SOAP Learning Center at Poamoho includes areas such as aquaponincs, screenhouses for pest control, cover crops, hydroponics, vermicomposting, companion planting, etc.
New Farmers: There is a ground swell within our state, supported by investments from the Hawaii Department of Labor, to expand the number of people working in agriculture. Many new beginning farmer programs are forming in the state, and we work actively with these programs. Among those most served are the Hawaiian Farmers program in MolokaʻI (served by Glenn Teves and Alton Arakaki) and the GoFarm Hawaii program on Oʻahu (served by Ted Radovich and Steven Chiang). Our newsletter, HanaʻI ʻAi, also now features a special section for New Farmer information.
SOAP Learning Centers: In the spirit of Western SARE, SOAP initiated the first learning center at the Waimanalo Research Center. The Waimanalo Learning Center includes the college’s only certified organic plots, projects such as aquaponics, Hawaiian taro and sweet potato collections, moringa collection, vermicompost, cover cropping, Go Farm Hawaii, etc. In 2013, SOAP initiated its second learning center at the Poamoho Experiment Station. The Poamoho Experiment Station is frequently threatened to close down due to the lack of visible activity and degraded facilities. SOAP initiated its second learning center at Poamoho to revitalize the station and provide support due to the increase in demand for agricultural professional training and farmer education programs. The site host projects such as aquaculture, hydroponics, cover cropping, Hawaii Tea, Blueberry Project, Low Chill Peach Project, morninga collection, IR-4 minor crop registration program, etc.
Newsletter, Website and YouTube Channel: The Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program (SOAP) continues to serve as a major vehicle for promoting sustainable agriculture. The group of topic leaders now numbers 20, with Dr. Ted Radovich and Jari Sugano serving as co-coordinators and Jody Smith as program assistant.
The Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program (SOAP) published our quarterly newsletter, HānaiʻAi, and Western SARE continues to be prominently featured in each issue. Our current readership is fairly stable (730 active contacts as of 12/31/2013).
SurveyMonkey: Western SARE funding supports our SurveyMonkey account, used by our program and available to partner programs for input and evaluation. In addition to AgPro 2013 (27 respondents), other surveys conducted include a 2013 Cacao Survey (28 respondents), Hawaii Chocolate & Cacao Association elections (18 respondents), and the Coffee Berry Borer survey (83 respondents).
Twitter and Facebook: New social media tools have become available over the past few years that could significantly enhance Extension’s ability to reach new and existing clientele groups. SOAP adopted social media strategies such as Facebook and Twitter as its distance learning tools to exponentially increase our delivery of research based information to CTAHR’s traditional and nontraditional stakeholders. New technologies enable extension faculty to engage with end users without compromising personal relationships and the quality of service. Increasing extension faculty and stakeholder awareness about new sustainable and organic agriculture technologies could turn research advances into economical benefits and also enhance clients’ satisfaction with our SOAP program. Since the establishment of the SOAP Twitter account in fall 2013, over 250 individuals and organizations follow our postings on a variety of sustainable and organic related topics. Maintenance and upkeep is performed daily to ensure followers are kept abreast of recent and upcoming events around the state.
Reporting Period 1/1/2013 – 12/31/2013
The SOAP website received 20,141 unique page views in 2012 (27,922 in total), which is a ~20.66 % increase in hits from the last reporting period. In 2013, our top ten pages (receiving over 1,000 unique page views each) were: (1) CTAHRʻs Sustainable and Organic Program, our opening page, (2) production information, (3) Dr. Clyde Tamaru (Aquaponics Extension), (4) SOFT (Student Organic Farm Training), (5) AgriBusiness Links, (6) Cover Crops database (Western SARE "Covering New Ground: Tropical Cover Crops for Improving Soil Quality" EW98-012, 1998-2002), (7) New Farmer FAQ (Western SARE "New Farmers: Choosing the Road Less Traveled" EW03-002 (2004-2006), (8) Organic Agriculture, (9) New Farmer opening page (EW03-002), and (10) HanaʻI Ai landing page.
Our YouTube presence, HIsustaing channel, remains active and our videos on vermicomposting (2313 views), sunn hemp (1176 views) and producing organic papaya seed (335 views) are once again the most popular.
PDP-funded Publications/Educational Materials and Products
With our agricultural professionals located across the island chain of Hawai’i, electronic publications continue to be one of our best investments for information delivery. We have made a concerted effort to provide information and handouts from our educational workshops available on-line. In summary, our products are:
Western SARE PDP Fully Funded
Western SARE PDP Partially Funded
- Hanai’Ai Newsletter, Vol 14
- Hanai’Ai Newsletter, Vol 15
- Hanai’Ai Newsletter, Vol 16
- Hanai’Ai Newsletter, Vol 17
- SurveyMonkey evaluations for AgPro 2013 and support to other programs (2013 Cacao Survey, Hawaii Chocolate & Cacao Association 2013 elections, 2013 Coffee Berry Borer Survey).
Changes in Ag Professionals’ Knowledge, Skills and Action
(1) Acquisition of new knowledge and skills:
Sustainable agriculture (SA) methods continue to be validated under Hawaii conditions via competitive Western SARE grants, NRCS CIG grants and other funding sources. Examples from this year include aquaponics trials (including organic, providing habitat for beneficial insects (ladybeetles, wasps), improving pollination services by bees, organic nematode control, cover cropping and locally produced composts and continued investigation of Korean Natural Farming.
CES staff participates in the research, obtaining new knowledge and skills based on local tropical research for sustainable systems.
NRCS continues to vigorously assist in the dissemination of information relating to SA production for Hawaii, as well as to identify related funding opportunities for farmers interested in SA. Articles submitted the USDA NRCS helped us to expand our delivery of information about erosion control and coral reef protection.
Funding remains very limited and support from Western SARE grants is critical in maintaining this growth. Success in obtaining extramural funding has improved with data and products generated by SARE program support.
The topic leaders within our SOAP program are actively engaged in obtaining funding to expand their outreach into the farming community via workshops, newsletters and articles in our newsletter (e.g. Tamaru, Radovich, Stevenson, Wang, Hue etc).
(2) Changes in attitudes or understanding:
Sustainable Agriculture continues to become “mainstream” in Hawaii.
Expanded partnerships across UH-CTAHR, crossing departments, linking with community colleges, agricultural NGOs and local agricultural consultants accelerate our efforts at adapting SA systems to tropical ecosystems. This year saw yet stronger alliances with our partners at the community colleges.
As more extension specialists become affiliated with the SOAP program (topic leaders), obtain research funding and promote the use of SA practices, CES and NRCS are adopting the SA methods as sound. Adoption of SA as a marketing strategy in now accepted as viable.
3) Changes in behavior and action
- Annual Sustainability Festival by Hawaii's largest private landowner.
- Proliferation of Beginning Farmer training programs across the state, New Farmers Network on Maui, GoFarm Hawaii on O’ahu, Moloka'i Native Hawaiian Beginning Farmer Program, and Ku I Ka Mana (Kohala Center Beginning Farmer Program)
- The Strategy recommends actions to market “Buy Local/It Matters” and to brand and label local food products. A critical factor towards successful implementation will be building partnerships with the increasing number of organizations involved in food self sufficiency/food security.
2013 HDOA funded Organic Industry Advisory Group final report
Involvement of Others in State PDP Planning and Implementation
The following people served on the Hawaii Western SARE PDP Advisory Committee in 2013: Alton Arakaki, Dr. Carl Evensen, Tane Datta, Ranae Ganske-Cerizo, Una Greenaway, Grant Hamachi, Susan Matsushima and Jerry Ornellas. Located across the state, Western SARE funding is not sufficient to allow us to meet in person. Communication is accomplished primarily through email, phone calls and personal visits when possible by the Western SARE PDP Coordinators. Our advisory committee reviews both our annual report and our annual grant proposals.
Beefing up Basil Protection. CTAHR Notes. Issue 142, December 3, 2013
In the Fields, CTAHR Notes. Issue 137, November 5, 2013
Totally Tomatoes. CTAHR Notes. Issue 137, November 5, 2013
Get to the Root of Sustainability. CTAHR Notes. Issue 136, October 31, 2013
Outwit the Viruses, CTAHR Notes. Issue 134, October 14, 2013
Sustaining Extension, CTAHR Notes. Issue 133, October 6, 2013
Feast for the Mind. CTAHR Notes. Issue 131, September 19, 2013
Full Plate for Farmers: CTAHR Notes, Issue 125, August 8, 2013
The Triumph of Taro, CTAHR Notes, Issue 123, July 18, 2013
Bravo for Taro. CTAHR Notes, Issue 120, June 26, 2013
Corm to Waimanalo. CTAHR Notes, Issue 119, June 20, 2013
CTAHR Set Sails. CTAHR Notes, Issue 117, June 4, 2013
Waimanalo Lani, CTAHR Notes, Issue 116, May 28, 2013
Malama Ke Kalo, CTAHR Notes, Issue 115, May 22, 2013
Know How to Share Your Organic Know-How? CTAHR Notes, Issue 113, May 6, 2013
Sustainability at Kamehameha. CTAHR Notes, Issue 113, May 6, 2013
One Stop Shop. CTAHR Notes, Issue 109, April 10, 2013
A Farm Information Extravaganza, CTAHR Notes, Issue 108, April 2, 2013
Living with the Borer, CTAHR Notes, Issue 103, February 21, 2013
Down with Diamondbacks, Issue 101, February 05, 2013
Speedy Diagnosis, CTAHR Notes, Issue 99, January 14, 2013
Pesticide Protocols. CTAHR Notes, Issue 98, January 8, 2013