The Food Provider ~ Dec 2010 | Jan | Feb 2011

In This Issue


Aloha Kākou

Welcome to the Winter 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.

As we enter the holiday season, we want to reflect on the importance of agriculture in communities across the State.  In this issue, we highlight youth programs that ensure that agriculture remains an integral part of our sustainable future. Also featured are value added programs that involve UH students who work to take unwanted produce and turn it into profits. We then take you on a trip to Molokai to visit a family on Hawaiian homestead land that integrates agriculture into their lifestyle to provide food and income. Other articles we have included provide information on how producers can get financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices, along with articles that address other methods for producers to be more sustainable.

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

Featured Farmers: Faith and Tio Tuipolotu
Tuipolotu Farm, Ho'olehua, Moloka‘i

Organic Papaya at Tuipolotu Farm

Area Under production: 8 acres

Crops: Yam (Diascorea alata), cassava (tapioca) and Taro. Yam is primary cash crop. Approximately one acre of organic papaya has been planted. Pigs are also raised for food and sale (80 head).

Fertility Management: Synthetic fertilizers in conventional crops. Locally produced meat and fish meal (tankage) is the primary source of nutrition in organic papaya. Use of compost in all crops is being investigated.

Pest Management: Fallow rotation and hand weeding. Fields are rested for 2-3 years before replanting to minimize root knot nematode problems. Young plants must be kept weed free for maximum growth; yam is particularly sensitive to competition from weeds.

What Sustainability means to you- Being financially stable (pay the bills), be able pay family for labor. Producing food for consumption in the state. Continuing to diversify the types of crops on the farm.

How did the next generation integrate: By encouraging them to try something different and have their projects on farm. One son is starting organic papaya, and will be doing eggplant, pineapple and fruit trees. Sons feel that farming is a way to perpetuate their Hawaiian and Tongan heritage.

How do you price your products? Yam is sold by the bin. We pay attention to resale value. Some of our buyers resell, so as they increase their price to what the market will bear we increase our prices as well.

Where do you market your products? Honolulu (90%) and Maui (10%). We sell to individual buyers.

How do you promote your product? We have not needed to promote, we get our customers via word of mouth. We cannot keep up with demand.

How do you adapt production to meet the needs of clients? Primary adaptation is to expand production.

What does the future look like for your farm? Demand far outstrips supply so we will expand Yam production. Continue to diversify in son’s operation with organic papaya and other crops.

Mahalo nui loa to Faith and Tio Tuipolotu for this interview.

Tuipolotu Ohana

Hot Tip from Tuipolotu Farm

Take full advantage of the Cooperative Extension service, which is an excellent resource. Also, make sure to network with other growers in your community to make sure you are aware of events, trends, and opportunities that come up.

PDF version of this article

From the Field

Baby Oliver on heritage pumpkin.

Heirloom vegetable varieties: a promising future for past treasures?

Heirloom vegetable varieties may sell for significant price premiums in the market place, but poor agronomic performance may offset the premiums growers receive.  This article briefly reviews the pros and cons of commercial production of heirloom varieties. It also highlights the important contributions farmers and gardeners have made in developing vegetable varieties. Non-hybrid vegetables developed by Hawaii farmers and researchers available are described, and are available from the UH seed program. READ the full article here.


Also in this issue: 'Kalakoa': Hawaiian Indian Corn
FMI: Ted Radovich, email: theodore@hawaii.edu

Growing Your Business

Pick your own pumpkins, Oahu.

Building a More Sustainable Food System in Hawaii

Communities across Hawaii and the American Pacific, just like communities on the US mainland, want to increase the local food supply in order to be less reliant on imports.  “Scaling Up” local food refers to the process of building the system necessary to make local food available to a wider segment of the population by getting local food into the places where most residents purchase their food. This article discusses a framework developed by researchers in Wisconsin that identifies five different levels of relationships in the food supply chain and strategies for moving these relationships in a more sustainable direction.
READ the full article here.
FMI: Linda Cox, email: lcox@hawaii.edu

Sustainable & Organic Research News

The Kulanui Project

Jennifer Shido, Email: jshido@hawaii.edu

Kulanui brand products

The Kulanui program is a University of Hawai’i project that helps students learn and practice the process of manufacturing and marketing various value-added agricultural products. The products currently marketed are produced by students from UH Hilo and UH Mānoa, and is rapidly expanding to include products from Kaua’i Community College. This article describes the program. READ the full article here.

Focus on Value Added Food Products At Maui Culinary Academy Research & Development Center

Chris Speere, Email: speere@hawaii.edu

Over the past seven and a half years since the center’s inception, nine value added food products have been developed and successfully brought to market by students and chefs.  This article describes the work done by the Maui Culinary Academy Research and Development Center. READ the full article here.

Youth Gardening Program Overview

Anne Gachuhi, Email: GachuhiA@ctahr.hawaii.edu

CTAHR's youth gardening program on Maui

Youth gardening has been shown to help young people increase their self esteem, have better nutritional habits (Best Practices in classroom management, 2004), develop leadership skills, positive relationships with elders (Journal of Extension 2002), increase their awareness and appreciation for nature and the environment, gain a sense of community service and increase their fitness levels and increase their understanding of science. This article describes CTAHR’s youth and school gardening programs on Maui. READ the full article here.

Hawaiʻi School Garden Hui

Nancy Redfeather, Kōhala Center, Email: nredfeather@kohalacenter.org

Hawaii School Garden Hui

Hawai'i has a School Garden Network on every island with Network Coordinators are working together at both the state and local levels. The State School Garden Hui weaves together these programs and this article describes this effort to support the growing interest in a local food movement in communities across the State. READ the full article here.

Funding and Technical Assistance Available from USDA NRCS for Cover Crops and other Conservation Practices

Ben Vinhateiro, Soil Conservationist, Email: ben.vinhateiro@hi.usda.gov 

NRCS cover crops

Cover Cropping is an inexpensive and simple way to address many resource concerns on the farm while improving soil quality. In Hawaii, several species of grasses, legumes, and forbs can be used as Cover Crops and this article describes how NRCS works with producers to assist them in adopting various conservation practices, including cover crops.

READ the full article here.

Vetiver – A Valuable Grass for Erosion Control

Jean Brokish,  O'ahu Resource Conservation & Development Council, Email: jean.brokish@oahurcd.org

Vetiver hedge

Reducing soil erosion has long been a priority for Hawaii’s farmers and people engaged in conservation. Planting vetiver grass is a relatively low cost method of erosion control, making it a promising alternative to the conventional method of berm construction.  This article presents information about using Vetiver grass (Chrysopogon zizanioides, formerly known as Vetiveria zizanioides) to control erosion.

READ the full article here.

Composting: Some Basic Requirements

Nguyen Hue, UH-CTAHR, email: nvhue@hawaii.edu

Hawaii, especially Oahu, has limited land-fill space. Composting our organic waste, therefore, is of interest to many. The specific requirements for  compost address temperature, moisture, oxygen, pH, and C/N ratio of the feed stock and are discussed in this article. READ the full article here.

Challenges and Opportunities for Aquaponics in CTAHR

Clyde S. Tamaru, Aquaculture Specialist, Email: ctamaru@hawaii.edu

Commercial aquaponic operation assisted by CTAHR

In 2009, CTAHR’s aquaculture research and extension program began to include aquaponic technologies, which integrate aquaculture and hydroponic food production methods. A working model based at Windward Community College, also known as the Waimanalo Prototype allows researchers, extension professionals and educators a means to identify the various inputs (e.g., energy, feed, micro-nutrients) and to define ways in which these can all be produced locally and renewably. This article describes the work that is now being done in this exciting program. READ the full article here.

‘Kalakoa’ – Hawaiian-Indian Corn

James Brewbaker, Email: brewbake@hawaii.edu

Kalakoa corn

‘Kalakoa’ is a Hawaii-bred “Indian” corn of many colors that is an open-pollinated and grows well throughout Hawaii. This article describe the history of ‘Kalakoa’  and how you can obtain seeds.

READ the full article here.


Banana Bunchy Top Virus and Nematode Management on Banana

Koon-Hui Wang, Email: koonhui@hawaii.edu and Cerruti R.R. Hooks

Banana bunchy top virus

Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) causes one of the most economically important diseases of bananas in the Pacific islands. A banana tissue culture facility was established at the UH-CTAHR Seed Lab to make available a variety of disease-free tissue culture banana for banana growers in Hawaii. This article provides information on how to obtain disease-free tissue culture banana from UH Seed Lab, and various other methods to reduce the spread of BBTV and banana nematodes. READ the full article here.

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

Workshops | Conferences | Meetings

If you are presently an organic inspector or are interested in becoming an organic inspector, attendance is highly recommended. The course is also appropriate for certification agency review committee members, county extension agents, regulatory agency staff, organic processors and industry activists to better understand the organic inspection and certification process.


Colehour Bondera

Mr. Colehour J. Bondera, an organic producer from Honaunau, Hawaii, was appointed to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) on September 29, 2010. Mr. Bondera farms at Kanalani Ohana Farm and produces organic coffee, vegetables, avocados, fruit and cacao. He is a board member of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association and has spoken at many workshops on organic agriculture.

Colehour comes into this position with his small-farm background, but represents all farms in Hawaii (be they small, large, or in between, on Hawaii island or on any of the other islands as well) in his five-year placement.  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. Colehour Bondera, Email: colemel@efn.org

READ the full article here.

Funding Opportunities

Many programs offered by USDA NRCS can help establish, maintain, or improve pollinator habitat. READ the full announcement here.

Landowners and farmers in the Honouliuli Watershed are invited to apply for grants to install conservation practices that reduce soil erosion and prevent sediment from entering the waters of Pearl Harbor. Eligible expenses include constructing terraces, establishing vegetative barriers, installing sediment basins and planting cover crops. Funding comes from the Department of Health - Clean Water Branch, through a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency.  

FMI, contact Jean Brokish at 483-8600 ext 123 or email: jean.brokish@oahurcd.org

Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (WSARE)

WSARE logo

Learn more about WSARE’s activities in their quarterly newsletter . Their lead article, “Farm to Fork: Connecting Youth with Sustainable Agriculture,” highlights a youth education project in Colorado. This issue also features an article about effective systems research and a column by Dr. Phil Rasmussen about the foundation of SARE. READ the newsletter here.

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