When the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts welcomed its first students in 1908, the entire school fit in a house on Young Street. But Hawai‘i’s land-grant college didn’t stay in one place for long. Through 4-H clubs on O‘ahu, Maui, Hawai‘i, and Kaua‘i, the college that is now CTAHR served communities throughout the territory well before the federal government began supporting this work through the Cooperative Extension Service in 1928. In the decade that followed, the federally funded Hawai‘i Agricultural Experiment Station merged with CTAHR, and the college’s research and extension expanded further.
Today we offer services on all the major Hawaiian Islands and conduct research, outreach, and instruction at 27 locations statewide. Our 10 extension offices on five islands make the college’s assistance easy to access, and the varied climates and soils at our research stations enable us to better serve clients by studying a broad range of crops and conditions. Our programs address the needs of students, farmers, ranchers, landscapers, businesses, resource managers, care providers, gardeners, homeowners, children, elders, and families.
Given the scope of CTAHR’s activities, it’s not surprising that folks think we’re more than one organization. Some clients assume that our county extension offices are staffed by county employees. Many believe that CTAHR’s nearly 100 faculty and staff on the outer islands work for nearby UH schools rather than UH Manoa. Our cooperation with those schools can make matters more confusing. For example, the annual garden fair presented by CTAHR and the Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau has been held at Kaua‘i Community College, and CTAHR’s Kahului and Moloka‘i extension offices are located on Maui Community College land.
Whether we’re helping Big Island residents maintain safe water catchment systems, working with growers to foster brand identity for Maui onions, or sharing the whimsical Children’s Garden with young visitors at the Pearl City Urban Garden Center, CTAHR is committed to serving all of Hawai‘i’s communities.