Vegetable Gardening

Garden tours given by UH Hilo ag students are a regular contribution to Earth Day Fair celebrations since the gardens were established in 2009 by former students.

By Norman Arancon, Associate Professor of Horticulture.

Student speaking to schoolchildren in the garden.
Lehua Patnaude, student of AG230, led tours in the gardens by the UH Hilo library lanai during the annual Earth Day Fair, April 20, 2018.

Some 205 students from local pre-K and high schools all over the Big Island toured the gardens by the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Library Lanai during the celebration of this year’s Earth Day. The gardens were showcased by the Ag230 students of spring 2018. This has been a regular contribution of the class to Earth Day celebrations since these gardens were established in 2009 by former students.

A Mesoamerican method of agriculture, chinampa is an artificial cultivation system built in areas where water is the main natural resource present in the environment.

By Antonio Vera, Student, AG230, Sustainable Agriculture, fall 2017.

Man tending land near waterway.
One of the remaining Chinampas (farm island), Xochimilco, 2009. Photo credit jflo.

The chinampa, from Nahuatl chinampan, meaning “in the fence of reeds,” is a Mesoamerican method of agriculture and territorial expansion used by the Mexicas to expand the territory on the surface of lakes and lagoons of the Valley of Mexico. However, it is believed that it is a technique initiated in the Toltec era, although its maximum development was achieved in the sixteenth century. By 1519, this method of cultivation occupied almost all of Lake Xochimilco, and its combination with other techniques such as irrigation by canals and the construction of terraces, allowed to sustain a very dense population.

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.

Michael Sthreshley, background is lava flowing into ocean with steam rising.
Michael Sthreshley

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.

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.

Group of students gathered for photo.
Students in UH Hilo’s course on sustainable agriculture in fall 2014 gather for group photo. Click to enlarge.

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.