State SARE co-Coordinators:
Summary of 2015 Hawaii State PDP Activities and Results:
Hawaii Western SARE PDP activities focused on disseminating research based information to support three priority areas, identified by Hawaii’s agricultural professionals in the 2015 HI Western SARE Needs Assessment Survey: 1) Pest Management, 2) Plant / Soil Nutrition, and 3) Food Safety.
The 2015 HI Western SARE Ag Pro was the flagship program of the Hawaii Western SARE PDP program. Cutting-edge updates on a wide array of sustainable agriculture topics and a subsequent field day relevant to the sustainability of Hawaii and Pacific Island farms were organized. Leaders from Hawaii’s Western SARE PDP program engaged nineteen (19) participants from Cooperative Extension, eight (8) USDA NRCS planners, conservationists, agricultural consultants, and two nonprofit organization representatives to the 2016 event. This year, we collaborated with the UH Climate Change Program to leverage funding and expand our reach of attracting more Extension and USDA NRCS participants to the 2015 Western SARE/ SOAP Agricultural Professional Development Program that was held in Maui at the Kahalui Cooperative Extension Service on October 13-14, 2015.
A total of thirty-two agricultural professionals (CTAHR researchers, specialist and agents, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, USDA NRCS, agricultural consultants, decision makers, etc.) from across Hawaii gathered for a two-day program about sustainable agriculture topics such as climate change, biochar (soil amendment), soil carbon, locally produced seeds, fireweed management for pasture management, food safety, Korean Natural Farming, localized fertilizer inputs, multi-generational farming operations, and sustainability of county Extension agents via a formal educational workshop, grower panels and field tours. Ranae Ganske-Cerizo, Western SARE Advisory board member of the USDA NRCS assisted HI Western SARE PDP program leaders in organizing this year’s event and opened the talks introducing 2015 as the International Year of the Soil.
Two out-of-state Extension specialists were recruited for this year’s AG Pro event in Maui. Mr. Nick Andrews and Ms. Elizabeth Sparks. Mr. Andrews from Oregon State University walked participants through the cover crop calculator program with Dr. Koon Hui Wang of UH CTAHR. Dr. Wang included localized research that adjusted the cover calculator’s formulations based on specific soil types found here in Hawaii. Ms. Sparks of the University of Arizona talked about monetizing Cooperative Extension Programs and led the group in some team building activities in the evening. Three industry leaders in sustainable and organic agriculture were a part of our growers’ panel: Mr. Gerry Ross of Kupaa Farms, Chuck Boerner of Ono Farms (former Western SARE advisory member), and Mr. Vincent Mina of Hawaii Farmers’ Union. Day two consisted of field tours of multi-generational taro, persimmon, wine grape, and vertical farming systems.
Overall, ninety-six (96%) percent of extension and USDA NRCS program participants indicated that the Hawaiʻi Western SARE PDP trainings are valuable to their work. In addition, one-hundred percent (100%) of responders were in favor of Hawaiʻi Western SARE PDP program leaders continuing to apply, conduct, and administer Western SARE PDP education workshops, travel scholarships, and social media technology transfer. Field demonstrations, farm tours and focused workshops were the top three educational delivery channels requested for current and future educational programming.
Context and Overview:
Committed to the mission of the land grant university, together the Hawaii Western SARE PDP and the trans-disciplinary Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program (SOAP) strive to provide quality educational programs to ensure agricultural professionals who support farmers in targeted areas are sufficiently informed, have access to existing and emerging research based management tools, and have ample opportunities to advance their knowledge base and competencies so they can correctly choose and utilize specific technology and practices best suited to meet their clients’ diverse educational needs.
To maximize the impact of our limited resources and address the breadth of training needs across our island chain, we collaborated with other programs within UHM & CTAHR to finance and provide relevant training programs for CES agents and specialists, USDA NRCS staff, and other agricultural professionals such as USDA, Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, Hawaii Organic Farmers Association, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hawaii State Department of Agriculture/ Health, county agencies, industry collaborators, Hawaii State Department of Education K-12 programs and other essential public and private organizations.
Western SARE PDP funding continues to support its annual AG PRO educational event, as well as additional face to face, yearlong agricultural professional development programs and mass education utilizing various forms of technology.
Priority topics for the annual event as well as sponsored request for traveled were based on the identified needs brought forth by Extension and USDA NRCS stakeholders. The needs assessment is conducted by HI Western SARE PDP program leaders annually as a way to prioritize the ever-changing needs of the group.
Activities and Methods:
Western SARE funded professional development activities during this reporting period were: (1) coordination and scholarships for interested participants to attend AgPro 2015 in Maui (2) funding to attend Western SARE annual meeting in Durango, Colorado; and (3) partial staff and program support for vital electronic media (website, e-newsletter, SurveyMonkey, Zoom) and social media efforts (Twitter, Facebook and YouTube). Additional activities were conducted by leveraging Western SARE funds.
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 18, with Dr. Ted Radovich and Jari Sugano serving as statewide co-coordinators. The advisory board of SOAP includes eight members of Hawaii’s diversified agriculture industry representing different islands and agricultural commodity groups.
(1) TRAVEL/WORKSHOP SCHOLARSHIPS
AgPro 2015: Hawaii Western SARE Professional Development Program on Maui (October 13-14, 2015)
A total of thirty-two agricultural professionals (CTAHR researchers, specialist and agents, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, USDA NRCS, agricultural consultants, decision makers, etc.) from across Hawaii gathered for a two-day program about sustainable agriculture topics such as climate change, biochar (soil amendment), soil carbon, locally produced seeds, fireweed management for pasture management, food safety, Korean Natural Farming, localized fertilizer inputs, and the Hawaii Association of County Extension Agents were part of the formal educational program. Day two consisted of field tours of multi-generational farms of taro, persimmon, wine grapes, and vertical farming systems.
Two out-of-state Extension specialists were recruited for this year’s AG Pro event in Maui. Mr. Nick Andrews and Ms. Elizabeth Sparks. Mr. Andrews from Oregon State University walked participants through the cover crop calculator program with Dr. Koon Hui Wang of UH CTAHR. Dr. Wang included localized research that adjusted the cover calculator’s formulations based on specific soil types found here in Hawaii. Ms. Sparks of the University of Arizona talked about monetizing Cooperative Extension Programs and led the group in some team building activities in the evening.
Three industry leaders in sustainable and organic agriculture were a part of our 2015 growers’ panel on sustainable and organic agriculture: Mr. Gerry Ross of Kupaa Farms, Chuck Boerner of Ono Farms (former Western SARE advisory member), and Mr. Vincent Mina of Hawaii Farmers’ Union.
The presentations can be downloaded.
(2) COLORADO WSARE ANNUAL MEETING:
Jari Sugano, Hawaii’s Western SARE PDP Program co-leader, joined other Western SARE PDP program leaders in Durango, Colorado in 2015 for Western SARE program planning and development.
(3) Electronic and Social Media:
Agricultural professionals are geographically separated and located across the island chain of Hawai’i. Electronic publications continue to be one of our best investments for information and technology delivery. We have made a concerted effort to provide information and handouts from Western SARE/ SOAP’s educational workshops available on-line. Western SARE funding provided partial support for the following enterprises.
Hānai‘Ai: SOAP Statewide Newsletter
The program published four issues of our quarterly newsletter, Hānai‘Ai, The Food Provider. Our current readership has increased to over 800 active contacts (852 as of 4/5/16). Thirty articles relating to sustainable agriculture were disseminated in 2015 via this newsletter, as well as information about relevant publications, workshops, webinars, videos and grant opportunities. Western SARE partially funds and is prominently featured in each issue. Periodic testimonials received from readership suggest they publication is helpful and beneficial to some, such as “Mahalo for the HānaiʻAi; it’s a great publication for Hawaii—useful and timely.”
Twitter and Facebook
SOAP takes advantage of free social media strategies (Facebook and Twitter) as distance learning tools to exponentially increase program delivery of research based information to CTAHR’s traditional and nontraditional stakeholders. Since the establishment of the SOAP twitter account in Fall 2013, over 1,256 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.
This year saw the addition of two new videos to our HIsustaing Channel.
Western SARE funding supports our SurveyMonkey account, used by our program and available to partner programs for input and evaluation.
Aquaculture: The Western SARE PDP coordinators, UH CTAHR faculty and staff continue to support aquaculture by supporting four educational events in 2015 with Western SARE and SOAP presentation materials and presentations due gaps with retirements.
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. Statewide Urban Garden Centers continues to feature organic and sustainable gardening demonstration area and offer public workshops related to these practices.
Socially Disadvantaged/Underserved Farmers: The Western SARE PDP coordinators, UH CTAHR faculty and staff continue to support the Local Immigrant Farm Education (LIFE) Program. Educational events are coordinated in conjunction with SOAP on a variety of topics from safe pesticide use to cultivar selection.
New Farmers: 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), Wahiawa Farmer Development Program (in conjunction with the City and County of Honolulu and Jensen Uyeda) and the GoFarm Hawaii program which started on Oʻahu and now offered a statewide basis (lead by Steven Chiang). Our newsletter, HanaʻAi also now features a special section for New Farmer information.
SOAP Learning Centers: In the spirit of Western SARE’s lifelong and hands on learning, SOAP initiated the first learning center at the Waimanalo Research Center in 2012. The Waimanalo Learning Center includes the college’s only certified organic plots. Due to its success, in 2013, SOAP initiated a second learning center at the Poamoho Experiment Station. Leveraged funding from Western SARE PDP coordinators and other UH CTAHR faculty members help to sustain these two learning centers on Oahu.
PDP-funded Publications/Educational Materials and Products:
In summary, our products this reporting period include:
Western SARE PDP FORMAL EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM: Western SARE PDP Fully Funded
- AgPro 2015: Hawaii WSARE Professional Development Program (October 13-14, 2015)
- The presentations can be downloaded
Hānai‘Ai NEWSLETTERS: Western SARE PDP Partially Funded
- Hanai’Ai Newsletter, Vol 25 (September to December 2015)
- Hanai’Ai Newsletter, Vol 24 (June to August 2015)
- Hanai’Ai Newsletter, Vol 23 (March to May 2015)
- Hanai’Ai Newsletter, Vol 22 (December to February 2015)
Changes in Ag Professionals’ Knowledge, Intention, 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. However, due to the geographic and cost constraints of providing continuous, face to face, statewide professional development programs for agricultural professionals, we are continuously challenged to think outside our specialties and leverage trans-disciplinary partnerships, when possible, to transfer this data to agricultural professionals and stakeholders across the State of Hawaii.
CTAHR CES staff participates in ongoing educational training and research, obtaining new knowledge and skills based on local tropical research for sustainable systems. USDA 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 and collaborative partnerships on field outreach by the USDA NRCS helps to expand our delivery of information about soil health, erosion control and coral reef protection.
Through post event evaluations, we found that one hundred percent (100%) of the 2015 HI Western SARE PDP program participants rated the HI Western SARE PDP program good to excellent based on usefulness of information. One hundred percent (100%) of participants indicated that the event improved their awareness of sustainable and organic agricultural topics covered and improved their knowledge in new areas.
(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, public and private agencies.
Educational programs that allow participants to learn more about evidence based and localized sustainable and organic practices is vital to our continued success in changing agricultural practices in an island state. Seventy-four percent (74%) of participants of the HI Western SARE PDP indicated the event helped them learn new skills and sixty-seven percent (67%) indicated a modification in their opinion based on the educational program offered. Ninety-three percent (93%) said the HI Western SARE PDP improved the recommendations and advice they will provide to others. Participants indicated that they plan to utilize some aspect of the trainings they received as part of their educational programs (87%) with sixty-seven percent (67%) of participants agreeing to serve as a reference for producers and ninety-two percent (92%) serving as a resource person for other agricultural professionals.
Through increased educational opportunities and research based information, more extension faculty are becoming affiliated with the umbrella UH Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program (SOAP) as topic leaders, obtaining research funding and are promoting the use of SA practices statewide. CES and NRCS are adopting SA methods as sound agricultural practices and promoting SA through new marketing strategies which are now widely accepted.
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. Topic leaders within our program are expanding and diversifying. Members are actively engaging in community outreach and obtaining extramural funding to transfer new discoveries into the farming community via workshop presentations, newsletters, and articles in our Hānai‘Ai newsletter (e.g. Radovich, Stevenson, Wang, Hue, etc).
Overall, ninety-six (96%) percent of extension and USDA NRCS program participants indicated that the Hawaiʻi Western SARE PDP trainings are valuable to their work. In addition, one-hundred percent (100%) of responders were in favor of Hawaiʻi Western SARE PDP program leaders continuing to apply, conduct, and administer Western SARE PDP education workshops, travel scholarships, and social media technology transfer. Noteworthy, fifty-six (56%) percent of participants indicated that travel scholarships are still necessary for their participation and attendance. Field demonstrations, farm tours and focused workshops were the top three educational delivery channels requested for current and future educational programming.
(3) Changes in Behavior and Action:
- One legislative bill on SOAP’s behalf (support for sustainable and organic agriculture program at UH) was introduced to the legislature in 2016.
- In 2014, the organic agriculture industry saw gains with 8.7 million dollars in vegetable production and 3.4 million dollars in fruit production (2014 organic production survey), which surpassed the farm gate sales of the organic industry in Hawaii at 6.3 million dollars in 2012 (2012 USDA Ag Census).
- The 2014 Organic Production Survey conducted by the USDA NASS provides evidence of continued grower adoption of sustainable agricultural production practices such as organic mulch/compost, green/animal manures, no-till or minimum till, maintained buffer strips, water management practices, biological pest management, maintaining beneficial insect or vertebrate habitat, selecting planting locations to avoid pests, releasing beneficial organisms, choosing pest resistant varieties, and planning plantings to avoid cross-contamination; which is applicable and carried over onto non-organically certified crop lands.
- 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) utilizing sustainable and organic agricultural practices.
- 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.
- A wide diversity of cover crop products are being sold and distributed locally by local businesses.
- Agricultural chemical companies are carrying a wide array of crop production products in their inventory which includes organic fertilizers and reduced risk crop protection chemicals.
- Invitation of SOAP topic leaders to present preliminary work on soil microbes at the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit & Expo 2014 (APCES). Hawai'i Convention Center, Honolulu, HI, USA, September 15-17, 2014.
- Two legislative bills on CTAHR’s behalf (establishment of eight statewide extension agent positions and LIFE program) were introduced to the legislature in 2015.
- Recognition of work conducted by members of CTAHR’s Cooperative Extension Service by the USDA NRCS. The award was presented to CTAHR at a field day organized by SOAP and CRATE on October 25, 2014.
In addition to Western SARE PDP’s traditional targeted audiences, in 2015, Hawaii Western SARE PDP coordinators integrated legislators, Hawai‘i Farmers Union Unites, and the Hawai‘i Farm Bureau Federation into its 2015 educational programming. An unintended outcome of our collaboration was the development of a bill that was read and introduced at the 2015 Hawaii State Legislature: SB2141.
Involvement of Others in State PDP Planning and Implementation:
The following people served on the Hawaii Western SARE PDP Advisory Committee in 2015: Alton Arakaki, Dr. Carl Evensen, Tane Datta, Ranae Ganske-Cerizo, Una Greenaway, Grant Hamachi, Susan Matsushima, and Jerry Ornellas. With the 2015 HI Western SARE PDP being on Maui this year, Ms. Ranae Ganske-Cerizo volunteered to help co-leaders in developing the agenda, delivering an educational talk and assisting us with the field tours on Maui.
Advisory members are located all across the state and 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 Co-coordinators.
Our advisory committee reviews our annual report and grant proposals. Our advisory board will receive and review the 2015 Hawaii Western SARE PDP annual report in April 2016 and provide suggestions for improvement. They are currently being solicited for input regarding the 2016-2017 HI Western SARE PDP grant proposal at this time.
SARE PDP Project Short and Medium Term Outcomes:
A total of thirty-two agricultural professionals (CTAHR researchers, specialist and agents, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, USDA NRCS, agricultural consultants, decision makers, etc.) from across Hawaii gathered for a two-day program about sustainable agriculture topics such as such as climate change, biochar (soil ammendment), soil carbon, locally produced seeds, fireweed management for pasture management, food safety, Korean Natural Farming, localized fertilizer inputs, multi-generational farming operations, and sustainability of county Extension agents, via a formal educational workshop, grower panels and field tours.
Agricultural professionals, as well as graduate students, are pursuing applied research funding to promote the adoption of SA practices statewide, through agencies such as Western SARE, USDA NIFA, etc. Leveraged partnerships with external agencies has boosted sustainable agriculture awareness across the state. Evidence of increased awareness and promotion of SA practices include: recognition of conservation work conducted by SOAP members by the USDA NRCS, popularity and increased interest in SOAP Learning Centers, increase in croplands under organic culture, positive feedback from our advisory board, online recognition of our efforts by the college’s Office of Communication Services, and establishment of legislative bills to support more applied research work on sustainable and organic agriculture at the Hawaii state capitol.