Directed studies provide opportunities for students to engage in some of the most interesting and rewarding educational experiences while in college.
Directed studies at the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management provide opportunities for University of Hawai’i at Hilo students to engage in some of the most interesting and rewarding educational experiences while in college. The following is a glimpse of some of the activities students in CAFNRM are doing to fulfill their requirements in directed studies while producing useful research data and significant community service:
Ellison Montgomery is a recent graduate of CAFNRM, who came back to get more experience in applied sciences. She is working on acclimatizing native plants raised in a nursery management course taught initially by now retired Professor of Horticulture William Sakai and continued by Assistant Professor of Entomology Jesse Eiben. She is also working on a little fire ant integrated pest management project in CAFNRM greenhouses. She is currently employed at Komohana Research and Extension Center.
Dr. Ardi presented a talk on the outcomes 30 years henceforth of the TropSoils Indonesia project conducted by CTAHR, the Indonesian Center for Soils Research, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Sumatra during the 1980s. The project developed sustainable agricultural practices based on integrated nutrient and pest management for resource limited farmers cultivating the regions acidic, low-fertility soils. Overall the economic standing of local residents improved as a result of the project however there are new challenges that need to be addressed for farmers to sustainably intensify their operations and be resilient in the face of climate change and other stresses.
King Kamehameha wanted cattle to be a sustainable food source for his people. But today, the more the state relies on mainland exports, the less chance Hawai‘i has to be independent.
By Maria McCarthy, Student, Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, animal science track.
Cattle in Hawai‘i was once considered kapu (sacred, thus forbidden) to eat when it was introduced in 1793. King Kamehameha received six heifers and one bull as a gift from Captain George Vancouver. The cows were then placed in a guarded, 400-acre parcel of land, surrounded by a rock wall. The king did this to increase the population size of his herd to one day be a sustainable food source for his people. When King Kamehameha III reigned, he lifted the kapu in the 1800’s when the herd was around 25,000 heads.
There is presently a disconnect between the economic reality of Hawai‘i’s working farmers, educators, and the well-intentioned sustainability and food sovereignty idealism of governmental leaders, politicians, and community activists.
At most community agricultural meetings in Hawaiʻi, there are candid discussions regarding the growth and development constraints faced by the smallholder crop and livestock sectors. These discussions revolve around strong import competition from large continental-based operations, heavy dependence on imported energy and nutrient inputs for our farms, and a myriad of challenges associated with lease land, access to water and adequate infrastructure, labor constraints, lack of applied research and extension outreach, marketing, ability to comply with regulations, access to promising new cultivars, security, building equity, and sufficient financing.