Step one: Procure a grant of $1,983,479 from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Step two: Establish a network of on-farm Soil Health Management Systems demonstrations that are individually tailored, regionally adapted, and managed by farmers.
Step three: Collaborate with participating farms in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and three Hawaiian islands.
Step four: Emphasize engagement with historically underserved Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Hispanic farmers; and restorative efforts on degraded or abandoned agricultural lands in rural communities.
"Our team is excited to continue our work with farmers in Hawaiʻi, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa to build healthy, resilient soils that support thriving communities," says principal investigator Jonathan Deenik, chair of the Dept. of Tropical Plants and Soil Sciences.
He will be joined by co-PIs Susan Crow, Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Management; Tai Maaz , TPSS; David Sotamayor Ramirez, U. Puerto Rico; Ian Gurr, American Samoa Community College; and Extension agents Andrea Kawabata, Joshua Silva, and Jensen Uyeda.
"Lepo ikaika, 'āina momona – strong soils, abundant landscapes,” Jonathan adds. “Our work will help island communities to protect and regenerate their soils as they strive for healthy abundant landscapes."
The 2020 Conservation Innovation Grants’ On-Farm Trials Award program supports cutting-edge projects that stimulate the adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with agricultural producers.