CTAHR students get their hands
(and feet) dirty harvesting rice alongside their Hong Kong hosts.
is an ancient global practice, and international exposure can provide a broader
perspective as students enter this venerable profession. Two groups of students
recently visited China for the wide variety of experiences that only ag in its
many forms can offer.
Plant and Soil Sciences (TPSS) students David Shepard, Aleta Corpuz, and Flora Chen
and their professor Hye-Ji Kim spent two weeks in Beijing, Nanjing, Fu Zhou,
and other areas studying horticulture production, joined by other U.S.
professors and students interested in the unique challenges and innovations of Chinese
agriculture. The students learned that a fifth of China’s arable soil is
polluted and cannot be cultivated, but they experienced hydroponic systems and
large-scale production factories where they compared Chinese and Hawai‘i
practices for familiar products such as anthuriums and mushrooms. Many of the facilities
they toured, from biotech companies and agricultural research stations to tea plantations,
demonstrated the work that goes into keeping more than 1 billion people fed, utilizing
concepts that Hawai‘i’s much smaller but equally land-strapped population and
ag producers might do well to heed.
TPSS students, led by Professor
Kim (right), enjoy a two-week tour of China’s agriculture.
other international student journey truly embraced the “work” in work-study.
Felicia Geronimo (TPSS), Tyler Daguay (Plant and Environmental Protection
Sciences), and Miho Fujii and Kelli Zakimi (Food Science and Human Nutrition)
joined Sylvia Trinh of Academic and Student Affairs on a 10-day adventure in
Hong Kong to learn about farm and food issues. They stayed at a workcamp and
traveled to other farms to weed, till, harvest, repair facilities, uproot
trees, and aid in pest management. They had the extra challenge of cooking and
feeding the group on a budget comparable to that of the average farm worker.
participants came from all over the world, so the CTAHR students got to learn about
many other cultures and share some aloha with new friends.
one student reflected, “I learned not only a great deal about Hong Kong’s
culture, environment, and economy, but I also learned a whole lot more about
myself. Being so far from home, I found out what I truly stood for… I
understood myself, my decisions; most important, I became more confident in
Travel blogs by the students and their advisors: