In recognition of National Honey Month, Chef Alan Wong and the Adopt-A-Beehive program have teamed up with Sodexo to create a special benefit bento that has components utilizing UH Hilo honey from the apiary at the UH Hilo farm.

Alan Wong and Bob-Bob the donkey
Alan Wong and Bob-Bob
Chef Alan Wong and Reid Kusano
Chef Alan Wong and Sodexo’s Reid Kusano display the benefit bento.

Local celebrity chef, Alan Wong, has partnered with the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Sodexo Dining Services to host a fundraiser for the university’s equine program. The benefit will support the care of horses and a miniature donkey named Bob-Bob displaced by the recent lava flows. The animals are being kept at the UH Hilo Agricultural Farm Laboratory in Pana‘ewa, where student volunteers under the supervision of farm staff are providing care.

In recognition of National Honey Month, Chef Wong and the Adopt-A-Beehive program have teamed up with Sodexo to create a special bento that has components utilizing UH Hilo honey from the apiary at the farm.

“Bento Benefit for Bob-Bob” is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 24, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., on campus at the breezeway outside the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (map). Chef Wong and Bob-Bob will be there. The $10 bentos will be available only through pre-sale (cash only). The pre-sale date is Monday, Sept. 17, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, on the breezeway.

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Daniel Dunnom and Aaron Shipman are senior agriculture majors focusing on tropical plant science and specializing in agroecology.

Group stands together for photo: Aaron Shipman, Daniel Dunnom, Sonia Jarvik, Shelly Nowaki, and Barbara Heintz.
2018-2019 scholarship winners Aaron Shipman (center) and Daniel Dunnom, flanked by scholarship committee members (from left) Sonia Jarvik, Shelly Nowaki, and Barbara Heintz. Courtesy photo Hilo Orchid Society.

The Hilo Orchid Society recently honored two University of Hawai‘i at Hilo students with awarding of the 2018-19 Yasuji Takasaki Memorial Scholarship.

Daniel Dunnom and Aaron Shipman are senior agriculture majors focusing on tropical plant science and specializing in agroecology. Dunnom also is seeking a beekeeping certificate.

The scholarship pays a tuition grant of $1,500 per semester to deserving UH Hilo undergraduates majoring in agriculture and natural science programs.

Quite a few well-intentioned academics, more often than not in the social and ecological sciences, do us no favor by over romanticizing the pre-European contact past of Hawai‘i’s agriculture.

By Bruce Mathews, dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource ManagementUniversity of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

Sepia colored old print of valley with farmland.
He‘eia Valley, O‘ahu, 1910.

Bruce Mathews
Bruce Mathews

Hawai‘i rightly takes great pride in its rich agricultural history, the mālama ‘āina (deep care, stewardship, and respect for the land) of the Native Hawaiians, and no doubt much can be learned from the past. This being said, most conservation and resource management discussions in Hawai‘i pertaining to the revitalization of local agriculture tend to be far too insular, and focused on Eden-like interpretation of the past and anecdotal commentary for impactful progress to be made on viable paths forward. Yes, pre-European contact agriculture was self-sufficient, organic by practice, and did not rely on external inputs, however many bio-cultural, technological, and socio-political parameters have changed since that time. And there is strong evidence that pre-European contact agriculture and aquaculture had much greater impacts on Hawai‘i’s environment than previously thought (Kirch, 1982; Anderson et al., 2017). Native Hawaiian upland field systems based largely on intensive ‘uala (sweet potato) cultivation in the highly valued locations of greater natural soil fertility would have eventually run into sustainability challenges induced by gradual soil nutrient depletion (Vitousek et al., 2004; Hartshorn et al., 2006). In this regard it is also worth noting that no till aboriculture/agroforestry based on cultivation of ‘ulu (breadfruit) trees had some distinct environmental and subsistence agriculture advantages and should be further investigated (Rolett, 2008).

It’s time to test your soil!

By Chantal Vos, Researcher, and Norman Arancon, Associate Professor of Horticulture.

Norman stands in large sweet potato field.
Norman Arancon collects leaf samples from sweet potato field. Photo by Chantal Vos.

Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas, L.) production along the Hamakua Coast can be increased by addressing nutrient imbalances in the soil. Sweet potato is an important crop in Hawai‘i both for local consumption and as an export crop and more than 90 percent is produced along the Hamakua Coast on the island of Hawai‘i (Miyasaka and Arakaki, 2010). Most commercial sweet potato farmers on Hawai‘i Island do not test their soil or crops on a regular basis for potential nutritional problems. Fertilizers are often applied indiscriminately based on prior experience or current practice from other growers, whether these areas have been cropped for many years or are newly cleared for cultivation. Soil fertility is often not optimal, even on land that has never been cultivated with sweet potato (virgin land). During crop production, available nutrients are lost through leaching, run-off, and crop harvest. Nutrient balances are distorted, and fallow periods have demonstrated limited capacity to adequately restore and build soil fertility. This being said, fallows will generally reduce many disease and pest problems (Bennett et al., 2012).

Students in the UH Hilo ag class demonstrated a few very important basic concepts and skills in plant production.

By Aaron Shipman, Student, College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management, UH Hilo.

Two college students speak at the head of a class of students.
Hort 262 students teach Hilo High School students some basic methods in plant production.

As the semester rapidly draws to a close, the students of the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM) at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, showcased their skills through community outreach. This year, the Introduction to Horticulture (Hort 262) class instructed by Norman Arancon, associate professor of horticulture, visited the students of Hilo High School supervised by their instructor Christian Atalig.

There was information on sustainable agriculture, farming, animal production, bee harvesting, and aquaponics by the students of horticulture, animal science, entomology, beekeeping, sustainable agriculture, value-added products and aquaculture.

By Justin Ziminsky.

Students holding goats wrapped in towels.
Animal science students and farm animal exhibits.

The College of Agriculture Forestry and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM) at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo opened its annual Ag Fair Day on April 27, 2018. The fair was very educational for students and visitors alike. There was a lot of information on sustainable agriculture, farming, animal production, bee harvesting, and aquaponics available for everyone by the students of horticulture, animal science, entomology, beekeeping, sustainable agriculture, value-added products and aquaculture.

Garden tours given by UH Hilo ag students are a regular contribution to Earth Day Fair celebrations since the gardens were established in 2009 by former students.

By Norman Arancon, Associate Professor of Horticulture.

Student speaking to schoolchildren in the garden.
Lehua Patnaude, student of AG230, led tours in the gardens by the UH Hilo library lanai during the annual Earth Day Fair, April 20, 2018.

Some 205 students from local pre-K and high schools all over the Big Island toured the gardens by the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Library Lanai during the celebration of this year’s Earth Day. The gardens were showcased by the Ag230 students of spring 2018. This has been a regular contribution of the class to Earth Day celebrations since these gardens were established in 2009 by former students.