The Food Provider ~ Mar | Apr | May 2010

In This Issue


Aloha Kākou

Welcome to the Spring 2010 issue 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.

You will see some exciting ideas relative to sustainable crop and animal production in this issue. Some recent work by Dr Nguyen Hue and Dr. Ali Fares, who have active research projects in soil science and hydrology, is summarized. Mike Duponte’s work on sustainable swine production, which is getting broad attention across the State because of it is so innovative, is also included in this issue.  Matthew Stevenson contributed an overview of his efforts to reach out to those interested in the chicken production system that was developed by Glen Fukumoto. Last, and not least, is another innovative piece by Dr. Ted Radovich, a co-editor of the newsletter, that links sustainable production methods with product flavor and nutritional value. This is a very important piece of work because it highlights the link between sustainable production practices and social concerns, which is a key component of sustainability.

Looking at the social issues associated with sustainability, we have included a description of SOFT, CTAHR's Sustainable and Organic Farm Training Student Organization, because some have expressed concern that that CTAHR students need "seed to sale" experience in sustainable agriculture as part of their education. Our Featured Farmer, Chauncy Monden who operates Kula Country Farms, provides a good overview of how his vision of being Maui centric has contributed to his success. We also have a description of a recent Functional Foods Conference from Dr. Corilee Watters, who has expertise in community nutrition. In addition, one of our editors, Dr. Linda Cox, has written about retail marketing this month.

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

Featured Farmer: Chauncy Monden
Kula Country Farms, Kula, Maui

Kula Country Farms Farm StandArea under production: about 60 acres

Years farming in Hawaii: Farming in the Kula area for four generations since the 1940s

Crops: strawberry, onions, various mixed vegetables including beets, Chinese peas, leafy greens, and pumpkins

Fertility management practices: synthetic fertilizers, integrating incorporating cover crops such sorghum-sudangrass hybrids (sudex, Sorghum bicolor x S. bicolor var. sudanense) and mustards and other strategies to build organic matter.

Pest Management: pesticide rotation, crop rotation, disease resistant varieties, low impact pesticides such as neem oil

What Sustainability Means to You: Sustainability means local food production. Hawaii’s ability to feed itself is critical. We focus on Maui. Everything that can be done to support local production is important. We must educate the public, elementary school kids particularly, and we do this on Maui by bringing kids to visit our farm. We must improve access to land, labor and water. Where possible, we must increase the scale of operations, improving economies of scale, although even small guys can work together to make it feasible.

How did the next generation successfully integrate into the family farm? There is no guaranteed formula. I’ve been farming for 12 years and my family discouraged me from going into farming. It’s always going to be a challenge, but ultimately people have to eat. So long as my kids can make a living at farming, I’ll encourage them to farm. I am very concerned with encroachment by development onto farmland. The land that we’re farming isn’t the same land my family farmed forty years ago. To make a living we farmers need to have access to land.

Where do you market your products?We sell the majority, around 70-80% on Maui, which is our goal. A large proportion or our produce is direct marketed to retailers such as Safeway, Whole Foods, Times, Costco, Mana Foods, Pukalani Superette, etc. We also sell to wholesalers. We have a roadside stand with seasonal and value added products. We hold seasonal events, like pumpkins in the fall, or a Valentine’s Day event last month featuring chocolate covered strawberries.

At our farm stand, we have strawberries, onions, papaya, banana, and various vegetables available for sale year round. If we don’t have any from our farm, we’ll buy from other growers and sell them at our farm stand. But we exclusively sell produce and products from Maui County.

We have several value added products with our own brand: strawberries and onions, Kula Country syrup, jam, and BBQ sauce. We contract out the production of our value added items. We also sell value added products from other growers, like pepper sauce, all locally produced on Maui.

What does the future look like for your farm? I'm looking at developing medicinal crops and other crops outside the culinary market. Our primary farm is on Bishop Estate lease land which always has a bit of uncertainty involved when looking toward the future. Our production is likely to spread to other locations and the knowledge gained from here used to develop sustainable agricultural systems in new places. I think organic greenhouses help lower the risk of farming and increase the productivity of a farm.

Mahalo nui loa to Chauncy Monden for this interview.

Display at Kula Country Farms

Hot Tip from Kula Country Farms

PDF version of this article

Kula Country Farms Websites:

From the Field

bok choy

Farming for Functionality: Enhancing phytonutrients in vegetables through crop management

The flavor, color and human health potential of vegetables have a chemical basis that is influenced by many factors, including genetics and growing environment.  This article briefly discusses the influence that management practices such as variety selection, irrigation and fertilization can have on plant compounds that contribute to the health promoting function of fresh vegetables. Glucosinolates, compounds influencing flavor and anti-carcinogenic activity in cabbage family vegetables, are highlighted as an example. Exploiting the effects of genotype and environment on the chemical quality of vegetables has potential to improve marketability and grower profits. However, it will require the continued, cooperative efforts of researchers, industry groups and growers to realize the full potential of “Farming for Functionality.”

READ the full article here
FMI: Dr. Ted Radovich, Email: theodore@hawaii.edu

Growing Your Business

multi-colored carrots

Get Ready to Retail Your Products

Every company in the marketing channel from the producer to the final consumer should be seen as a customer by the agricultural producer. Whole Foods Market is used as an example to help illustrate how a farmer could develop a marketing strategy to target this retail outlet that specializes in healthy living products.

READ the full article here
FMI: Dr. Linda Cox, Email: lcox@hawaii.edu

CTAHR Sustainable & Organic Research News

Functional Foods: The Crossroads of Nutrition, Food Science and Agriculture

Functional Foods Conference

Corilee Watters

A Functional Food conference, sponsored by CTAHR, was held a few months ago. “Functional foods” have health promoting qualities in addition to the nutrients they contain. Promoting functional foods is another way to market healthy eating and encourage increased consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

READ the full article here
FMI: Dr. Corilee Watters, Email: cwatters@hawaii.edu

The Sweet Smell of Success: The Odorless Piggery


Michael DuPonte

The EPA now has more stringent guidelines for livestock operations, which means that the best management practices (BMPs) used in the past are not acceptable any more.  Techniques being used in South Korea for swine production could be potential BMPs in the United States.  The use of indigenous micro organisms (IMO); natural ventilation and site selection to encourage cooling and drying within the shelter, and a green waste bedding system create a piggery that is not affected by flies, odors and manure handling concerns.

READ the full article here
FMI: Michael DuPonte, Email: mduponte@hawaii.edu

Virtual Field Day: Piggery Open House (Aug 13, 2009)

Changes in soil properties and vegetable growth/quality during the transition toward organic farming in Hawaii

research plot

Nguyen V. Hue

The tropical, nutrient-poor soils of Hawaii may present a challenge to organic vegetable producers.  An experiment done at the Poamoho Experiment station compared a control treatment with no soil nutrients added, a treatment of 500 lb/acre of the chemical fertilizer urea, and two types of compost/chicken manure amendments that provided approximately 300 lb/acre total nitrogen (N). Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa, Chinensis group) and eggplant (Solanum melongena) were grown sequentially in the four treatments. The treatment with urea promoted better growth in the first crop (cabbage), whereas a good-quality compost, made of grass-clippings/tree trimmings, lime and rock phosphate, gave the best growth in the second crop (eggplant), suggesting N mineralization from organic inputs requires at least three to four months in the field before N became most available to crops.

READ the full article here
FMI: Dr. Nguyen Hue, Email: nvhue@hawaii.edu
For more detailed article

Pastured Poultry for the Backyard


Matt Stevenson

CTAHR publications entitled Pastured Poultry Production (LM-1) and Small-scale Pastured Poultry Grazing System for Egg Production (LM-20) by CTAHR livestock agent Glen Fukumoto provide information on a backyard poultry grazing system that reduces the amount of supplementary feed necessary for consistent production. Pasture based birds are expected to provide higher quality products than birds raised in confinement. A workshop that explains the system has been developed and conducted on Kauai. The workshop will be held again on Kauai and possibly on other islands.

READ the full article here
FMI: Matt Stevenson, stevenso@hawaii.edu, Lihue
Glen Fukumoto, gfukumot@hawaii.edu, Kealakekua

Soil solarization and cover cropping as alternatives to soil fumigation for pineapple growers in Hawaii


Koon-Hui Wang

Results indicate that sunn hemp cover cropping (SH) and soil solarization (SH+Sol) reduced two third of the weed pressure as compared to untreated plots. Although SH did not suppress nematode pests as efficiently as Telone, it suppressed reniform nematodes below its threshold level prior to crop planting. SH with or without Sol, enhanced soil biodiversity and microbial activities involved in nutrient cycling.

READ the full article here
FMI: Dr. Koon-Hui Wang, Email: koonhui@hawaii.edu

Fate of Organic Amendments Within and Below the Crop Root Zone

field trial

Ali Fares

Organic amendments, i.e., compost, chicken and cow manures, are major sources of macro- (e.g., Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) and micro-nutrients (e.g., Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium), although the improper
application of organic amendments may impact the environment through nutrient leaching (e.g., Nitrogen) and greenhouse gases emission. During several growing seasons we monitored soil water content, and nutrient
 availability and leaching within and below the root zone of a sweet corn crop grown on a Wailua soil amended with commercially available organic compost (CP) and chicken manure (CM). Application of organic amendments improved soil water holding capacity and infiltration rates as compared to control treatments. Chicken manure increased the concentration of nutrients within and below the root zone, which resulted in a better performance of the sweet corn. Farmers should avoid excess application of organic amendments and over-irrigation in order to minimize losses of valuable nutrients and substantially reduce groundwater contamination.

READ the full article here
FMI: Dr. Ali Fares, Email: afares@hawaii.edu

For more information about our research, see our monthly CTAHR Research News Magazine.

CTAHR Publications & Programs

Western Extension Marketing Committee (with collaboration from Dr. Stuart Nakamoto, CTAHR)

To purchase a print version, contact Dr. Stuart Nakamoto, snakamo@hawaii.edu.


A number of growers have expressed concern that there is not enough interest by the next generation in farming and that CTAHR students should get "seed to sale" experience as part of their education. In this issue, we are delighted to introduce SOFT, CTAHR's Sustainable and Organic Farm Training Student Organization.

SOFT student club

: The SOFT (Sustainable and Organic Farm Training) club is a student group open to everyone enrolled in the University of Hawaii that aims to teach the basics of growing food sustainably by providing students hands-on experience. The SOFT club relies on the support of CTAHR faculty and staff to assist them in various activities including managing research and garden sites, weekly produce sales, and outreach to a local elementary school. 

: A new interactive app for iPhones, called The Plant Doctor is now available at the iTunes store (download is free). The Plant Doctor provides interactive diagnosis and advice about plant diseases in gardens, landscapes, nurseries and farms. The app provides descriptions of ten of the most common plant diseases. If users are unsure about the nature of their own problem, they may purchase a diagnosis.

, April 17‐18, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort, Kailua Kona, hosted by The Kohala Center. Farmers and gardeners from around the state are invited to the Hua Ka Hua Seed Symposium to share knowledge of seed growing, selection and saving, and to plan a future public seed initiative.

: April 7, 2010, 10:00 – 11:30 am
Polycom locations available: (Honolulu) UH-Manoa AgSci 202, (Hilo) Komohana Research and Extension Center, (Kona) UH-West Hawaii Center, (Hamakua) UH-Hilo North HI Ed. & Res. Center, (Kahului) Maui CES Office, (Lihue) Kauai CES Office, (Molokai) Maui Community College, (Lanai) Maui Community College.

is a nonprofit educational organization focused on advancing information to promote Pacific Island agroforestry and ecological resource management.

Food Safety & Organic Management: Food Safety News

Funding Opportunities

High tunnels or hoop houses are polyethylene covered structure with no electrical, heating, and/or mechanical ventilation systems that is used to cover crops to extend the growing season in an environmentally safe manner. USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering financial assistance to Hawaii farmers to establish seasonal high tunnel systems for crops as part of a three-year pilot program.

These one- or two-years grants are conducted by agricultural producers with support and guidance from a technical advisor. Individual farmers or ranchers may apply for up to $15,000, and a group of three or more producers may apply for up to $30,000. Producers typically use their grants to conduct on-site experiments that can improve their operations and the environment and can be shared with other producers. Grant recipients may also focus on marketing and organic production.

These one- or two-year grants are similar in concept to the Farmer/Rancher grants with a few key differences. Instead of a producer serving as the project coordinator, an agricultural professional (Cooperative Extension educator or Natural Resources Conservation Service professional) coordinates the project. A farmer or rancher serves as the technical advisor. Applicants can seek up to $50,000 and must have a minimum of five producers involved.

The 2010 Oahu Agricultural Development Program (OADP) is currently accepting applications for grants of up to $50,000. Only Oahu agricultural business owners not previously funded are eligible to apply.

Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (WSARE)

WSARE logo

Check out these and other great resources at the WSARE website.

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