AG 294 (Agricultural Waste Management: Composting and Vermicomposting) is designed as a co-curricular organization to take lead on a pilot waste management program at the UH Hilo campus.
By Alexis Stubbs, Sophomore, Tropical Horticulture.
For a solution to be truly sustainable, it must have a positive return to environment and society. This semester, Norman Arancon, associate professor of horticulture, has introduced a course that is structured and provided opportunity to do just that. Prof. Arancon has designed his course, AG 294 (Agricultural Waste Management: Composting and Vermicomposting) as a co-curricular organization, to take lead on a pilot waste management program on our University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus.
UH Hilo is the only campus of the 10-campus UH System that serves 65 percent locally produced food.
By Kara Nelson, Senior, English, Communication.
If farm-fresh vegetables with locally grass-fed beef or fresh-caught fish is your idea of the perfect meal, then the Dining Services at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is where you’ll want to eat. Each day, 65 percent of the food served is from local sources, increasing five percent since 2012. Once a month, the daily menu is 100 percent locally grown food.
This is the result of “Local First,” a program started in 2006 by Bridget Awong, general manager of Sodexo Dining Services at UH Hilo. Awong is a down-to-earth local foodie and chef who is passionate about helping local farmers while providing quality food and services to the UH Hilo community.
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.
A move to Organic and Organic Plus strategies in food production is how Hawai‘i food producers take back the power of the Hawai‘i brand.
By Joshua Willing, Student, AG100, Introduction to Agricultural Sciences.
Food production in Hawai‘i sits in the middle of a great paradox, at once a lush natural paradise with a perfect climate for growing things, yet isolated, leading to inflated costs for Hawaii’s producers. The future of the Hawai‘i food industry will depend on producers’ ability to navigate a way that respects these inherent costs while utilizing the many benefits of the islands. Producers must decide on a model that best suits the economy.
My argument here is that this model already exists, and by using branding–in this case the brand of Hawai‘i itself–we will mitigate many unavoidable costs while at the same time enhancing the desirability of Hawai‘i’s food products. This will rely heavily on the Hawai‘i food industry as a whole moving toward an “Organic Plus” strategy (going beyond current organic standards), the goals of which coincide nicely with the natural boons of Hawai‘i’s food production.
Each semester, the class helps clean up a fruit and vegetable garden at the Malia Puka O Kalani Catholic Church in Keaukaha.
By Juan Avellaneda, Student, Agriculture.
Have you heard about the sustainable agriculture course (Ag230) at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo? This course offers community outreach, sustainable practices, and the experience of designing your very own sustainable garden. The course is taught by Norman Arancon, associate professor of horticulture. Students in the course are separated into groups and are assigned different areas on the UH Hilo campus, where they get to plant, grow, and harvest their own food.
This article will give you an insight on one of the field trips taken in the course last fall. In this community outreach field trip, the class helped clean up a fruit and vegetable garden at the Malia Puka O Kalani Catholic Church in Keaukaha.