The Food Provider ~ March | April | May 2012

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In This Issue


Aloha Kākou

Welcome to the Spring issue 2012 of HānaiʻAi, the sustainable agriculture newsletter of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The mission of HānaiʻAi is to provide a venue for dissemination of science-based information to serve all of Hawaii's Farming Community in our quest for agricultural sustainability.

Cute goats

What do Bats, Goats, Sheep and Insects have in common? Well, not much except that they are all subjects of articles in this particularly animal friendly issue of HānaiʻAi. Also in this issue, Dr. Linda Cox highlights the need to develop a sustainability evaluation system for agriculture in Hawaii, and agricultural professionals from across the State highlight their efforts in promoting sustainability in Hawaii's natural and agricultural ecosystems.

Join us on a trip to the Big Island to visit this issue's featured farmers Lani and Bill Petrie, and Glen Krebs at Kapapala Ranch. And, make sure to visit the "back pages" of the newsletter as well, which features Publications & Programs, upcoming Workshops, Conferences and Meetings, the Organic Update and upcoming funding deadlines.

We hope you find this issue of HānaiʻAi useful, and welcome your input.

Featured Farmer: Lani and Bill Petrie; Glen Krebs
Kapapala Ranch, Ka'u, Hawai‘i

Kapapala Ranch, Kau Hawaii

Kapapala Ranch was established in 1860 in the district of Ka’u on the Big Island and has operated, continuously, for the past 152 years. Gordon Cran bought the ranch in 1977 from Richard Smart, owner of Parker Ranch. Cran and his family have worked the Ranch from 1977 to 2012 and will celebrate 35 years of operation this coming July.

Today, the Ranch operates on 34,000 acres of State leasehold land. Approximately 15% of the total acreage has soil, or moisture retaining capabilities, which we manage intensely.  The remaining 85% is run as an extensive “open range” operation.

We are predominately a cattle (cow-calf) operation. We also raise meat goats for brush control and sell the males for meat which helps pay for the brush clearing they do.  The Ranch operates with 5 full-time employees and 3 to 5 part-time employees.

Read the full article here.

Mahalo nui loa to Lani Petrie for this interview, and to both Lani Petrie and Ashley Stokes for photos.

Hot Tips from Kapapala Ranch

Lani and Bill Petrie, Kapapala Ranch

“Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you’re put here on earth to do with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.”

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)

Growing Your Business

Evaluating Sustainability in Agriculture

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Logo

Interest in food security and sustainable agricultural production is at an all time high. Many different points of view about the most important aspects of food production exist. This article presents information about different aspects of food production that is linked to sustainability, and highlights the need to develop a sustainability evaluation system for agriculture in Hawaii.

READ the full article here.

FMI: Linda Cox, email: lcox@hawaii.ed

Sustainable & Organic Research News

It's Hot in Hawai'i:
Capsaicin Content of Hawaii-grown Chili Peppers

Chili peppers

Ted Radovich, email: theodore@hawaii.edu; Kevin Crosby,
Glenn Teves, email: tevesg@ctahr.hawaii.edu;
Alton Arakaki, email: arakakia@ctahr.hawaii.edu;
Amjad Ahmad, email: alobady@hawaii.edu

Hot peppers (Capsicum spp.) are grown worldwide and the characteristic of each species helps determine how highly consumers value them. Pungency, determined by the concentrations of capsaicin and similar compounds in the fruit, is the most notable characteristic of hot peppers, with other flavor characteristics as well as color and fruit shape playing secondary roles in consumer acceptance. This article discusses the characteristics of various hot pepper species and presents information about the capsaicin content of chili peppers grown in Hawaii.

READ the full article here.

Farmers Can Help our Hawaiian Hoary Bats

Hawaiian hoary bat

Gregory A. Koob, Pacific Islands Area Biologist, USDA-NRCS, email: gregory.koob@hi.usda.gov

Hawai‘i has only one native land mammal, the Hawaiian hoary bat or ‘ōpe‘ape‘a, which is a Federal and State endangered subspecies. These insectivorous bats play an important role in regulating the insect populations of natural and agricultural ecosystems. Financial or technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to improve bat habitat on their property may be available from USDA-NRCS. This article presents information about the bat’s description, habitat, feeding preferences, mortality, and management options for increasing its habitat quality or availability.

READ the full article here.

Sheep and Goat Basics for Hawaii

Parasite cycle

Matt Stevenson, email: stevenso@hawaii.edu; Ashley Stokes, email: amstokes@hawaii.edu, and John Powley

Sheep and goats, also called small ruminants, have been a part of Hawaii’s cultural and physical landscapes for over two centuries. In addition to commanding a healthy market for cabrito and lamb, producers use these animals to meet multiple land management objectives: fire fuels reduction, weed management, brush control, and others. This brief provides general guidelines and considerations for those interested in or currently raising goats and sheep with particular attention to issues relevant to Hawaii.

READ the full article here.

Cover Crops as Insectary Plants to Enhance Above and Below Ground Beneficial Organisms

Buckwheat and zucchini

Koon-Hui Wang, email: koonhui@hawaii.edu

Insectary plants are plants that attract beneficial insects and they can be grown as cover crops.  Careful selection of such cover crops to meet your farming needs depends on climate, season, nutrient requirement, location of the farm, crops planted, and your farming practices. This article focuses on discussing cover crops that can serve as insectary plants, living mulch, green manure, or those that can convert into organic mulch.

READ the full article here.

Ecosystem Services from Trees in Coffee Agroecosystems

Dr. Travis Idol conducting field research

Travis Idol, email: idol@hawaii.edu

The majority of coffee supplied to the markets around the world comes from small farms scattered throughout various coffee-growing regions in the tropics, including Hawaii. These small farms often include trees that produce macadamia, avocado, citrus, bananas, or timber products to diversify their operations or for the other benefits trees provide to the coffee crop, the producer(s) and/or farm laborers. This article summarizes some of the ecosystem services trees provide for coffee and other diversified agricultural systems.

READ the full article here.

The Hawaii Public Seed Initiative

Kauai seed swaps

Lyn Howe, email: seedproject@kohalacenter.org, Nancy Redfeather, email: nredfeather@kohalacenter.org, and Hector Valenzuela, email: hector@hawaii.edu

Having access to seed to sow in the garden or farm, especially in case of emergencies, is a central aspect of food self-sufficiency, especially in isolated areas like Hawaii that import a large percentage of the food supply. Therefore, local knowledge about the art and science of seed saving, and ready access to a supply of locally available, adapted seed varieties supports the goal of food self-sufficiency. This article discusses the Hawaii public seed initiative.

READ the full article here.

For more information about CTAHR's research, visit our Office of Research Webpage.

Publications & Programs

Loko I'a: Manual on Hawaiian Fishpond Restoration and Management


Available on-line from CTAHR's Publication and Information Central

NEW from University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources

Organic Update

USDA Organic Logo

Mr. Colehour J. Bondera serves on the NOSB Board. Mr. Bondera farms at Kanalani Ohana Farm and produces organic coffee, vegetables, avocados, fruit and cacao. He is both willing and able to hear many voices in terms of providing good representation at this national level, so feel free to contact him with questions and suggestions. Email: colemel@kanalanifarm.org

proclaims several “myths” about organics are "busted

Workshops | Conferences | Meetings

Kohala Center School Program

: Highlighting the work of the Hawai‘i Island School Garden Network, school tours will be offered on April 14, 21, and 28, hosted by The Kohala Center. Lunch is offered on some of the tours.


Coffee bean with two holes from coffee berry borer.

(Youtube videos)

: The USDA just released Moving Food Along the Value Chain: Innovations in Regional Food Distribution, a study of the aggregation, distribution, and marketing operations of eight regional food hubs/value chains. The report explores innovation and opportunities for diverse local food distributors.

by Jolene Lau, Public Affairs, USDA NRCS Pacific Islands Area

in partnership with, has produced a series of how-to videos showcasing production and marketing practices used by some of the nation’s most successful sustainable farmers and ranchers.

(3rd Edition) explores how and why cover crops work and provides all the information needed to build cover crops into any farming operation.

about Sustainable Agriculture available from SARE. SARE also has Curricula for Educators available.

is a new office created within the U.S. Department of Agriculture to catalyze the development of markets for ecosystem services.

Funding Opportunities

Solar panels on-farm

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

REAP provides for loan guarantees and/or grants to farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses to purchase renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements. Technologies that are eligible for funding include: biomass, anaerobic digester, geothermal – electric generation, geothermal – direct use, hydrogen, small biomass, anaerobic digester, small and large wind, small and large solar, ocean (including tidal, wave, current, and thermal), hydroelectric, flexible fuel (blender) pumps, and energy efficiency improvements.

2012 Value Added Agriculture Product Manufacturing Grant

The UH/CTAHR Agribusiness Incubator Program is giving away up to $25,000 to assist existing or potential food manufacturers using Hawaii agricultural products with their startup or growth. This is an exciting opportunity for anyone who is interested in being part of Hawaii's food manufacturing industry. 

Contact AIP at (808) 956-3530 or email us at agincubator@ctahr.hawaii.edu.

Western SARE's 2013 Calls for Proposals have been posted

Please visit http://www.westernsare.org/Grants/Types-of-Grants to review the five grant programs and download PDFs of the Calls for Proposals.

Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (WSARE) WSARE logo

The Spring issue of Simply Sustainable highlights agritourism and a tribal farmers market, as well as updates from the recent Administrative Council meeting.

Registration for our conference, Strengthening Agriculture's Infrastructure: Adding Value, Breaking Down Barriers, Increasing Profits will open April 20. Please visit http://www.westernsare.org/infrastructure for updates.

Since 1988, the WSARE program has been supporting agricultural profitability, environmental integrity and community strength through grants that enable cutting-edge research and education to open windows on sustainability across the West, including Hawaii. The goals of WSARE are:

For more information, please see: http://www.westernsare.org/ or contact Hawaii WSARE coordinator Dr. Ted Radovich at theodore@hawaii.edu.

This e-publication has been prepared by CTAHR research scientists and extension staff to deliver science-based information about sustainable and organic production systems to serve Hawaii's farming community.

Mahalo nui loa,

Dr. Linda Cox and Dr. Ted Radovich
Jody Smith, e-Extension Manager
Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program
Cooperative Extension Service
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources