There are few annual crops where the farmer can recover costs of high fertilizer and soil amendment inputs required for desired yields coupled with disease and pests in this environment.

By Bruce Mathews.

Bruce Mathews

On January 9, the Hawaiʻi Island Food Alliance Food Access Working Group, together with The Food Basket, The Kohala Center, and the state Department of Health, hosted a presentation in Hilo by Ken Meter (president of the Cross-roads Resource Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota) that was entitled “Growing Secure Food Systems in Hawaiʻi”. The presentation focused on how the pre-European contact native Hawaiians were completely food independent and that the 1900s resulted in a downward spiral in food production in Hawaiʻi, which was particularly rapid from the 1940s onward. The mid 1960s was the last time that about half the food consumed in Hawaiʻi was produced here. The stated goal was to instigate change that results in greatly improved food independence on the Big Island. There was even quite a bit of discussion regarding community-based food systems and avoiding the cash-based economy, and doing food barter.

Ag Club members engage in activities that enhance their academic experience at UH Hilo, primarily through service to the university and community at large.

By Aleysia Rae Kaha.

Missing: Josh Boranian

The Agriculture Club (Ag Club) at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo  plays a vital role in encouraging students in the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM) to engage in relevant activities that will enhance their academic experience in the university. Members partake in opportunities such as field trips, workshops, and fundraising that allow them to network with alumni who could be potential employers. Above all, the club renders service to the university and community at large.

A registered student organization, the Ag Club is instrumental in spearheading one of the most memorable gatherings of faculty, staff and students of the college at the end of each semester—the Ag Seniors Awards and Banquet. This spring semester, the club has more than 40 students from the college signed up to participate in the banquet.

The course explores how Hawai‘i can move forward by integrating the rise in tourism, the interest of farmers to diversify, new markets, and the wildly popular foodie movements.

Brooke Hansen holding young coconut sprout.
Brooke Hansen

Brooke Hansen, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, is piloting a new agriculture course this semester geared toward the rapidly growing field of agritourism: Agricultural and Food Tourism (AG 194). The course explores how Hawai‘i can move forward by tapping into and integrating the rise in tourism, the interest by farmers to diversify and explore new markets and the wildly popular foodie movements (farm-to-table, locavore, Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine, food festivals, etc.).

The anthurium is a native of Colombia first brought to Hawai‘i from London in 1889. It is highly sought for its vibrant colors and its ability to maintain its flowers for an extended period throughout the year.

By Damon Adamson.

Anthruiums

Admired for their beautiful coloration, intricate and petite or bold and substantial appearance, as well as their incredible diversity expressed in form, the anthurium (Araceae andraeanum) is often overlooked as a crop or commercially viable alternative to traditional fruit or vegetable production models. The anthurium boasts over 100 genera and about 1,500 separate species common names include tail flower and flamingo flower.

Domesticated animal injuries and the widespread suffocation of native plants throughout the Hawaiian islands is often the result if the Yellow Himalayan Raspberry is left unchecked.

By Damon Adamson.

Yellow Himalayan Raspberry flower, leaves, start beside a rock.
Yellow Himalayan Raspberry

Native to the continent of Asia and surrounding islands (Tropical China, India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippine Islands), the Yellow Himalayan Raspberry (Rubus ellipticus) was introduced to Hawaiʻi in 1960 for its edible fruit and ornamental purposes, but rapidly escaped cultivation in 1961 and is now thoroughly documented on the island of Hawaiʻi. At present, the greatest infestation on Hawaiʻi is centered in the Volcano community adjacent to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and many mid-elevation forests (1060-1200 m).

SNAPSHOTS: Featuring faculty and students of the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management and their hands-on activities. Photos by Risa Kabua Myazoe.

Group of students and faculty standing in greenhouse.
Classmates in course on circulating and non-circulating hydroponic methods (HORT 263) pose for a photo at UH Hilo Farm Laboratory with Prof. of Horticulture Bill Sakai (far right).

It was a good trip that left me with lots to consider with respect challenges and opportunities for our future.

By Bruce Mathews.

Group of people gathered for photo, background is beautiful landscape with sloping cliffs dropping off into water.
(l-r) With my wife Grenia, Monica (an Indonesian graduate student), Sylvia (the wife of Dr. Ardi), Dr. Ardi (Dean of Agriculture at Andalas University in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia), and Thao Nguyen (a Vietnamese graduate student who is studying weed management options in upland rice farming systems). More photos of the trip.

Indonesia

Bruce Mathews
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.

The 14 graduating ag students were honored during Ag Seniors Night Banquet on Dec. 16, 2016, at the UH Hilo Farm Pavilion; the degrees were formally conferred Dec. 17 at UH Hilo Fall Commencement.

Red seal of UH Hilo.A total of 14 students are candidates for degrees from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management with a bachelors of science in agriculture and a specialization in animal science pre-veterinary medicine (VET) track), tropical horticulture (THO), or tropical plant science and agroecology (TPSA).

Some of students from the college and other academic programs will also graduate with certificates in beekeeping (AGB).

  • Calvin John Arca (TPSA).
  • Cyrus Kalaiopuna Aton.
  • Zoe Doreen Banfield (AGB).
  • Brandon Leon Carvalho (THO).
  • Kyle James Davis (TPSA).
  • Jonah G. Dedrick (TPSA).
  • Michael Montgomery Dowsett (AGB).
  • Adrian Vincent Frazier (VET).
  • Kyle Alexander Frazier (VET).
  • McKayla Faith Meyer (VET).
  • Britni Taylor Evelyn Schock (AGB).
  • Zachary Jordan Solarte (THO).
  • Santana Jacqueline-Ka’iulani Soria (VET).
  • Elenoa Temukisa Taisali (TPSA).
  • Timothy Michael Zimmerman (TPSA).

The students were honored and recognized during Ag Seniors Night Banquet on Dec. 16, 2016, at the UH Hilo Farm Pavilion; the degrees were formally conferred on Dec. 17 at UH Hilo Fall Commencement.

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.

Students standing in orchard and holding hand tools.
Students work on clearing overgrowth at the UH Hilo Farm Lab.

In the far corners of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Agricultural 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.

Prof. Tsang’s passion of hands-on education has permeated through UH Hilo curricula with a lasting effect on agricultural development in Hawai‘i.

By Christopher Lu.

Marcel Tsang
Marcel Tsang. Photo by Norman Arancon.

Long time faculty Marcel Tsang is retiring after decades of exemplary service at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management. A native of Mauritius, Dr. Tsang built a professional career and a family in Hawai‘i. He moved up through the ranks to full professor at UH Hilo.

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.