SARE Professional Development Program Annual Report for Hawaii
January 1 - December 31, 2012
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 2012 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
During 2012, the PDP program engaged 15 CES agents, 30 NRCS planners and conservationists, 3 SWCD planners, 5 agricultural consultants, 15 representatives from private nonprofit organizations, 120 master gardeners and 5 high school vocational agriculture instructors. Highlights of this year include continued expansion of our training efforts with USDA NRCS, featuring Western SARE-funded and other sustainable agriculture 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 WesternSARE PDP funding continues to support website maintenance.
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
Western SARE funded professional development activities during this reporting period were: (1) Cover Crop Calculator workshop for CES and NRCS agents planners and staff (April 23-26, 2012); (2) A total of three national travel scholarships for extension agents and staff; (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 and newsletter Hanai’Ai. Additional activities were conducted by leveraging Western SARE funds, described in detail below.
Organic Fertilizer and Cover Crop Calculator workshop (April 23-26, 2013)
Fifty agricultural professionals, including NRCS planners, were engaged on three islands to introduce them to the Cover Crop Calculator developed by Oregon State University with funding from the Western SARE R&E program. Workshops were presented by Oregon PDP coordinator Nick Andrews. Calibration and testing of the calculator for Hawaii conditions was identified as high priority by attending ag professionals. More info.
Attendees of the Western SARE PDP funded covercrop calculator workshop reported improved understanding of topics related to calculating plant available nitrogen contributed by cover crops. See attached report.
New England Beginning Farmer Training Tour (July 17-20, 2012)
Hawaii's agricultural professionals are dealing with a growing number of beginning farmers with very little or no previous experience. To fast track development of new farmer support programs statewide, the University of Hawaii Agribusiness Incubator Program (AIP) arranged a tour of existing programs in New England. In many ways Hawaii growers have more in common with farmers in New England than they do with their nearer neighbors in the West, including small farm size, exorbitant land costs and tenuous lease lengths. Representatives from Windward Community College, Maui Community College, Kamehameha Schools (Hawaii’s largest landowner), CES Moloka‘i, the Kohala Center and AIP participated in the tour. Western SARE PDP supported travel of the Hawaii PDP program assistant to better assist approximately 40 agricultural professionals in serving new farmers.
An article about the tour which appeared in the fall issue of Hanai’Ai.
The Hawai'i State PDP program will continue to support Beginning Farmer initiatives, including GoFarm Hawai'i.
Strengthening Agriculture Infrastructure Conference (December 2-5, Portland Oregon)
The Hawaii PDP program funded the travel of two livestock CES agents to the conference. Read their report and expected impacts.
In addition Western SARE awarded travel funds to SOAP co-Coordinator Linda Cox to attend the conference. Read her report.
Check the Western SARE Conference Website for PowerPoint presentations from the conference, and video and audio.
Protecting Beneficials in Hawai‘i and the American Pacific
The Hawai'i PDP program assisted with the planning of this workshop, which was conceived and sponsored by the Western IPM Center. Hawai'i PDP also sponsored the attendance of three neighbor island extension agents as well as posting the presentations on-line, including presentations by PDP coordinator and SOAP topic leaders.
The Western SARE PDP coordinator and staff continue to support urban horticulture, building capacity in the Master Gardener Program in the area of sustainable agriculture. Five CES agents actively support this important statewide program. A total of 120 master gardeners were engaged directly during this reporting period. The Pearl City Urban Garden continues to feature an organic and sustainable gardening demonstration area and offer public workshops related to these practices. There are efforts to incorporate more sustainable agriculture practices into home gardening publications and at public outreach events. This year also saw the adoption of sustainable agriculture techniques within the newly developed UHMG school outreach curriculum materials “2012 School Garden Basics Workshop for Educators.”
- Introduction to School Gardens Program
- The Natural Environment of Hawai’i
- Let’s Plant!
- The Life of Plants
- Soils and Composting Module
- Insects, Diseases and IPM
The Western SARE PDP coordinator, UH faculty and staff continue to support the Local Immigrant Farm Education (LIFE) Program, coordinated by CES agent Jari Sugano.
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 15, with Dr. Ted Radovich and Dr. Linda Cox 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 2/17/2013).
The SOAP website received 16,692 unique page views in 2012 (23,415 in total), which is a ~14% increase in hits from the last reporting period. Some of our most popular pages which receive the largest number of hits are the cover crops database (funded by Western SARE "Covering New Ground: Tropical Cover Crops for Improving Soil Quality" EW98-012, 1998-2002), links relating to the new farmer programs (production, ag business, frequently asked questions, New Farmer), Hanai’Ai newsletter, aquaculture, and organic production methods.
Our YouTube presence, HIsustaing channel, remains active and our videos on vermicomposting (3199 views), sunn hemp (922 views) and producing organic papaya seed (505 views) are once again the most popular.
PDP-funded Publications/Educational Materials and Products
This year’s publications and educational materials and products are electronic and have been described in the narrative above. As our extension agents are located across the island chain of Hawai’i, electronic publications have proven to be one of our best investments for information delivery. We have made a concerted effort to provide descriptions and handouts from our educational workshops are available on-line. In summary, our products are:
Western SARE PDP Fully Funded
Western SARE PDP Partially Funded
- Hanai’Ai Newsletter, Vol 10
- Hanai’Ai Newsletter, Vol 11
- Hanai’Ai Newsletter, Vol 12
- Hanai’Ai Newsletter, Vol 13
- Protecting Beneficials in Hawai‘i and the American Pacific
- Agribusiness Incubator Program Beginning Farmer Training Tour
- Aquaponics in the Classroom
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 research on Korean Natural Farming, aquaponics trials, cover cropping and locally produced composts.
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 the Oahu RC&D and by USDA NRCS helped us to expand our delivery of information about erosion control and wildlife habitat.
- Waimānalo Farmers Implement Best Management Practices for Improved Water Quality
- Prepare for the Rainy Season – Simple Steps to Reduce the Risk of Soil Erosion
- Farmers Can Help our Hawaiian Hoary Bats
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. One example from this year is the adoption of SA methods within the UH Master Gardener statewide school outreach curriculum materials “2012 School Garden Basics Workshop for Educators.”
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.
Three land managers representing Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii’s largest landowner (365,000 acres), attended the AIP Beginning Farmer Tour to New England. They promote SA practices in their leases with ag tenants.
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)
- Hawaii’s Strategy for Increased Food Security and Food Self-Sufficiency: Hawai'i DBET and DOA "Increased Food Security and Sufficiency Strategy" (October 2012). 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.
- Hawaii Public Seed Initiative by Kohala Center
Involvement of Others in State PDP Planning and Implementation
The following people served on the Hawaii WSARE PDP Advisory Committee in 2012: Alton Arakaki, Dr. Linda Cox, Tane Datta, Ranae Ganske-Cerizo, Una Greenaway, Grant Hamachi, Susan Matsushima and Jerry Ornellas. As they are 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 Coordinator. Our advisory committee reviews both our annual report and our annual grant proposal.