One of the advantages of studying tropical agriculture on the Big Island is the opportunity we have as students to see a diversity of farming methods, all of which play a role in the island economy and community.
By Michael Sthreshley, Senior, Agriculture.
Following the graduation of several key members, the Agriculture Club at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo has had a few changes in leadership starting in the fall of 2014. Among the new officers are Michael Sthreshley as president, and Miguel Bravo Escobar as vice president. Lukas Kambic and Rachel Gorenflo continue as treasurer and secretary, respectively.
The “Ag” Club has been working to establish new relations with the UH Hilo Farm Laboratory faculty. In previous semesters the club has had limited involvement with the university farm. Since the club represents our College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management and aims to open up opportunities to students, we wish to learn more and gain further experience with agriculture and related topics utilizing college’s facilities.
The club is revitalizing a small greenhouse at the UH Hilo farm, which was built by Professor Marcel Tsang’s ag mechanization class a few years ago. The greenhouse is fully equipped and has given us a chance to experiment with a variety of different crops and growing methods. Professor Bill Sakai has been kind enough in giving us the additional supplies we need to get going.
In the future the club plans to become more self-sufficient with the profits made from the sales of vegetables grown in the greenhouse. We also intend to expand to the field area, where we can try our hand at some field crops.
In the fall semester of 2014, the Ag Club brought back the Thanksgiving Imu Fundraiser. The event was successful and we learned a lot about what it takes to pull off an imu for 20 large turkeys.
As usual, the Ag Club played a large role in the organization and preparation of the Senior Awards Night Banquet that is held at the end of each semester. The event highlights the graduating seniors and their achievements, and also gives a chance for the college to reconnect with alumni and the families of the graduating seniors. Last semester’s event highlighted the introduction of equestrian class by the students currently taking the course.
Although the club has remained small, we intend to expand our activities in coming months.
First off, the club plans to revive our space at the Campus Center Plaza for Market Mondays during the spring 2015 semester. Not only will we be selling the usual fruits from the UH Hilo Farm, but we will also have a steady supply of produce from the greenhouse to sell. Proceeds from Market Mondays will also help with the funding of next semester’s senior awards night.
Additionally, to get things started, the club has a wish list of local farms and agricultural facilities that we hope to tour, including Big Island Dairy, Ninole Orchards, the USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (scheduled for Feb. 6) and many others.
I feel that one of the advantages of studying tropical agriculture on the Big Island is the opportunity we have as students to see a diversity of farming methods, all of which play a role in the island economy and community. As students, we don’t always get to see the options available to us as emerging farmers. In this way I feel farm tours are an exciting way to bring vision to students.
About the author: Michael Sthreshley is a senior at UH Hilo earning a bachelor of science in agriculture with specialization in tropical plant science and agroecology. He serves as president of the Agriculture Club.