It was a good trip that left me with lots to consider with respect challenges and opportunities for our future.
By Bruce Mathews.
After presentation of an invited talk entitled, “Phosphorus, Sustainability, and Advancing Nutrient Management,” at the 3rd International Seminar on the Sciences in Precision and Sustainable Agriculture in Bogor, Indonesia (near Jakarta on the Island of Java), I visited Bogor Agricultural University, and toured their facilities and field stations. This included visiting their climate smart agriculture program in the Department of Geophysics and Meteorology, visiting with their faculty and some local ag industry leaders, and presenting a talk on the chemistry of phosphorus in agricultural systems to their chemistry department which was followed by an overview of agriculture in Hawai‘i. Their climate smart agriculture program is connected to several remote real-time rainforest monitoring stations throughout the country with several more under construction.
Two major reclamation projects were taken on during lab time, as well as a collaborative effort in the final week of classes, to clear areas at the UH Hilo Farm Lab and by Nowelo bridge on campus.
By Trevor Dopp.
In the far corners of the University of Hawai‘i at HiloAgricultural Farm Laboratory at Pana‘ewa exist a few forgotten gems that the prolific growth of the forest has encroached upon. Underneath the vast network of fast growing grasses and vines, lies an untapped resource of agricultural potential.
Through the shuffle of changing class schedules and finance/budget driven management of resources, past students’ labor and planning awaits to be mined by future semester’s sweat and tears, as long as class enrollment permits. This issue was directly addressed by Associate Prof. Norman Aracon’s HORT 352: Tropical Fruit Crop Production class this semester.
Two major reclamation projects were taken on during lab time, as well as a collaborative effort in the final week of classes between his AG230, HORT 262, and HORT 352 classes.
Dr. Tsang, a trained agricultural engineer by Louisiana State University, has taught a number of core courses at the college including Farm Power, Farm Structures, Introduction to Agricultural Mechanization, Irrigation Principles and Practices, and Microcomputer Applications in Agriculture.
Students and fellow faculty members perceive him as a dedicated, sincere and caring professor. Dr. Tsang served as the curriculum committee chair for many years and assured the curriculum structure to be consistent with the mission of the college. His passion of hands-on education has permeated through the curricula with a lasting effect on agricultural development in Hawai‘i. He has advised, guided and excelled many students throughout their academic careers.
To prepare for next year’s congress, a three-day retreat was held Nov. 11-13 at Camp Pālehua in Kapolei, O‘ahu. The retreat was titled Aha Ho‘owaiwai (A Whole Community Approach to Wellness) and aimed to reflect the strength of coming together, sharing and caring as a community all in preparation of the Makahiki season. Community from the entire Hawaiian archipelago were present.
Mikey Peirron’s Hilo UrbFarm is a small composting and food garden operation, located at the East Hawai‘i Cultural Center.
By Edward Bufil.
Looking at a package of basil from Maui, a revelation hit Mikey Pierron: why is Hawai‘i island not food sustainable? This revelation gave rise to Hilo UrbFarm, a small composting and food garden operation, located at the East Hawai‘i Cultural Center.
Composting is a key practice in island sustainability. Hilo UrbFarm develops compost from paper wastes, mulch (from the County Greenwaste facility), and food scraps from local vendors including the Locavore store, Conscious Culture Café, Hilo Sharks Coffee, and Loved by the Sun. By taking greenwaste that would otherwise be added to the near-capacity landfill, Hilo UrbFarm produces compost that will aid the growth of a variety of food crops.
Hilo UrbFarm also grows a variety of herbs and food crops.
Though Aceria hibisci can feed on a wide variety of hibiscus plants, it seems to demonstrate a preference for the Chinese red hibiscus (Hibiscus rosasinensis L.)
By Damon Adamson.
Often going unnoticed until the telltale bump-like clusters form on hibiscus leaves, the Hibiscus Leaf-Crumbling Mite or Aceria hibisci, is small enough to escape most human visibility. The unsightly growth or galls are the results of feeding Aceria hibisci, otherwise known in Hawai’i as the Hibiscus Erineum Mite or just the Hibiscus Mite.
First identified in Hawai’i in 1989 on the island of Oahu. Now the microscopic mite can be found on most of the Hawaiian islands and other Pacific areas, like Fiji, the Cook Islands, New South Wales, Australia in 1992, and Brazil.
In order to be competitive one needs to be farming at an economy of scale and price point differentials that work, particularly when the competition is imported from continent based mega-farms.
By Bruce Mathews.
While there have been calls for at least 50 years for the state of Hawaiʻi to improve its food self-sufficiency and hence food security, the progress to reduce dependence on imports has been painfully slow. This being said, community interest in increasing locally grown food is rapidly expanding. However, interest alone will not be sufficient to turn the dial substantially without major changes in consumer behavior or extreme market distortions.
Economies of scale
In order to be competitive one needs to be farming at an economy of scale and price point differentials that work, particularly when the competition is imported from continent based mega-farms. Even in Hawaiʻi the entrepreneurial produce farmer success stories that are most often mentioned tend to be on the larger side. It takes a unique mix of entrepreneurial skills, hard work, and capital access to make a decent middle class living let alone a small fortune as a family farmer. Locally grown produce may become more competitive as continental growers deal with increasing water costs and climate change.
We spent time this summer in China collecting and testing soil samples for a study about the long-term effects that warming and nitrogen addition would have on microbial composition and enzyme production.
By Erin Busch and Tim Zimmerman.
At the Sanming Forest Ecosystem and Global Change Research Station in Fujian, China, scientists and researchers from various fields gather to utilize experimental plots designed as mesocosm studies and in-field sampling and monitoring stations to study forest hydrological change, forest carbon management, and future global change.