Sustainable and Organic Production Techniques

Toward Sustainable Agriculture graphic

General Production Information

The UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Website contains hundreds of questions and answers to a great variety of topics. It includes access point for CTAHR's Publications Database, Knowledge Master (weeds, diseases, and pests), and The Farmer's Bookshelf (production information about many fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, and home garden vegetables).

eXtension is an interactive learning environment delivering research-based information emerging from America's land-grant university system.

Florida Cooperative Extension Electronic Information Data Source (EDIS) includes listings for agroforestry, aquaculture, citrus, field crops, forage, fruit (non-citrus) and nut crops, home garden crops, organic farming, vegetable crops, nursery crops, pesticides by crop, crops management, postharvest and handling.

ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas) National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is one of the single best sources of general information about sustainable and organic farming production methods. Topics include horticultural crops, field crops, soils and compost, pest management, organic farming, livestock, marketing and business, energy and agriculture, education, and other resources.

National Continuing Education Program

Beneficial Insects

Topic Leader

Mark Wright, Insect Ecology and Sustainable Pest Management

Ethel Villalobos, Pollinator Conservation, UH Honeybee Project

BENEFICIAL INSECT FLASH CARDS (set of downloadable flash cards, jpg files). AVAILABLE April 2015: Beneficial Insect Flashcard sets can be purchased for $10 from your local Master Gardener Office. Click HERE to find the one nearest to you.

Farming for Beneficial Insects: Pollinators, Predators and Parasitoids (YouTube)

Natural Enemies Gallery (UC Davis IPM program)

Wasps Nesting Block: a condominium to attract natural enemies of pests

Extension Entomology & UH-CTAHR Integrated Pest Management Program. Knowledge Master contains general information on pest hosts, distribution, damage, biology, and management. This website is helpful for pest identification. The management recommendations are for conventional agricultural practices and will most likely need modification for sustainable systems. Contact CTAHR experts directly for more information.

Crop Knowledge Master: Everything You Wanted to Know about Agricultural Pests. This website is helpful for pest identification. Provides information on Hawaii pests sorted by crop, pest type (insects and other pests, plant disease pathogens), scientific name, and photos

Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center: CTAHR lab which offers insect identification services.

Cover Crops & Green Manures

Cover Crop and Green Manure Database at CTAHR provides information about 25 plants which are suitable for tropical climates with downloadable plant descriptions, plus updated links to related articles and research for Hawaii and the Pacific.

Managing Cover Crops Profitably: USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) book which explains cover crop characteristics and management, soil fertility, crop rotations, pest management and cover crop selection, plus gives information about introducing cover crops into any farming operation. Although written for the continental United States, it gives an excellent introduction on this important sustainable agriculture technique.

Plant Information Databases

Native Plants


  • Bornhorst, Heidi. Growing Native Hawaiian Plants; A How-to Guide for the Gardener, The Best Press, Honolulu, Hawai'i, 1971. (introductory guide on growing native plants)
  • Culliney, John L. and Koebele, Bruce P., A Native Hawaiian Garden, University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, Hawai'i, 1999. (more advanced guide to native plants and their propagation)
  • Growing Plants for Hawaiian Lei, CTAHR University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawai'i, 2002. (guidebook to growing lei plants for home or commercially, including horticultural, cultural and business information). Click here for more information.
  • McDonald, Marie A., and Weissich, Paul R. Na Lei Makamae: The Treasured Lei, University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, Hawai'i, 2003. (Book about pre-contact leis and the native and canoe plants used in them).
  • Kepler, A.K. 1998. Hawaiian Heritage Plants revised ed. UH Press, Honolulu.
  • Krauss, B. 1993. Plants in Hawaiian Culture. UH Press. Honolulu.
  • Lilleeng-Rosenberger, Kerin L.. Growing Hawaii's Native Plants: A Simple Step-by-Step Approach for Every Species, Mutual Publishing (July 2005).
  • Palmer, Daniel D. 2003. Hawai‘i’s Ferns and Fern Allies. UH Press, Honolulu
  • Sohmer, S.H., and R. Gustafson. 1987. Plants and Flowers of Hawai‘i. UH Press, Honolulu.
  • Valier, K. 1995. Ferns of Hawai‘i. UH Press. Honolulu.
  • Wagner, Warren L., Derral R. Herbst, S.H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai‘i. UH Press. Honolulu.

Hawaiian plant listserve ( discussion of Hawaii's native plants. To subscribe, send mail to LISTSERV@HAWAII.EDU with the command SUBSCRIBE HIPLANTS-L.


Dr. Koon-Hui Wang, Sustainable Pest Management Laboratory
(sustainable pest management, cover crops, insectary plants, Korean Natural Farming, nematodes, soil health management):
YouTube Channel:

Organic Production Methods

Topic Leader

Dr. Theodore Radovich, Sustainable and Organic Farming Systems Laboratory
YouTube Channel:

Organic Agriculture at CTAHR: Website of the CTAHR Organic Working Group

Hawaii Organic Farmers Association (HOFA)

Visit ATTRA Organic Farming, for introductory information on all aspects of organic production. This website has downloadable publications for organic fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, field crops, livestock, pest control, fertilizers, marketing, regulation and certification. For a list of their organic publications, view Guide to ATTRA's Organic Publications.

The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) specializes in the review of substances for use in organic production, processing, and handling.

The Organic Farming Research Foundation is a non-profit whose mission is to sponsor research related to organic farming practices, to disseminate research results to organic farmers and to growers interested in adopting organic production systems, and to educate the public and decision-makers about organic farming issues.

The USDA National Organic Program website contains extensive information about organic production for both producers and consumers, including regulation and certification updates, Q&A and press releases.

Transitioning to Organic Production: USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) 32 page publication (downloadable Adobe Acrobat PDF) features farmer profiles to explain how conventional farmers can move into organic production methods.

International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements is an international organization for organic agriculture. The website offers the IFOAM Training Manual for Organic Agriculture in the Tropics. Although designed for agricultural educators, the content gives an excellent introduction to organic production in tropical regions.

Organic Fruits and Vegetables from the Tropics (large pdf file) This UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) publication is an excellent reference for tropical organic fruit and vegetable production.

Organic Agriculture at FAO

Pest Control - insects

Topic Leader

Mark Wright, Insect Ecology and Sustainable Pest Management

Pesticides and Pesticide Safety

Plant Disease

Topic Leader

Dr. Scot Nelson, CTAHR Extension Specialist, Plant Pathology/ Plant Doctor

Resource Websites:

Dr. Koon-Hui Wang, Soil Ecology, Sustainable Pest Management Laboratory
(sustainable pest management, cover crops, insectary plants, Korean Natural Farming, nematodes, soil health management). Website:

CTAHR Publication and Information Central has many free and for sale publications on plant diseases.


Topic Leader

Ethel Villalobos, Pollinator Conservation, UH Honeybee Project

Soil Identification, Health & Fertility

The soil resource is one of the farm’s most valuable assets. The websites below will help you identify your farm’s soils and to understand how to manage them for long term crop productivity with excellent water quality.

Identify your soil

Fertility and Soil Quality

Dr. Jonathan Deenik, Soil Fertility and Soil Quality Specialist

Dr. Koon-Hui Wang, Soil Ecology, Sustainable Pest Management Laboratory
(sustainable pest management, cover crops, insectary plants, Korean Natural Farming, nematodes, soil health management) Website:

Tropical Fruits

Vegetable Crops

Topic Leader

Dr. Hector Valenzuela, Vegetable Crops Extension Specialist

Dr. Theodore Radovich, Sustainable and Organic Farming Systems Laboratory
YouTube Channel:

Weed Control

Topic Leader

James Leary, Weed Management

WSARE logo

These webpages were originally generated under a grant program from Western SARE entitled "New Farmers: Choosing the Road Less Traveled" EW03-002 (2004-2006). Toward Sustainable Agriculture (downloadable .pdf)