Thinking-Outside-the-Box Farm

Thinking-Outside-the-Box Farm

A potentially historic collaborative project between CTAHR and the College of Engineering hit a triumphant milestone when the Box Farm project won 1st place in the Francis Rhodes Montgomery Design Competition. Now, not even the sky’s the limit for the project—its innovative team envisions the Box Farm in space!

Kent Kobayashi (TPSS) advised the team of Mechanical Engineering and Biology students in creating a fully automated, robotically controlled hydroponic growing system that could be used to provide fresh produce for astronauts on lunar and Mars missions. When the team realized that astronauts in simulated space environments were spending more than two and a half hours a day tending plants, they reasoned that an automated system like the Box Farm could free up that time for research and other pursuits. 

The design competition the team won was established to further the field of mechanical engineering by recognizing and rewarding innovative design efforts, practicality of design, and ability to present designs in a clear and understandable manner. The team not only won a cash prize, but they’re now testing their system at the NASA-funded Inflatable Lunar-Mars Habitat at the University of North Dakota. And they’ve already harvested their first (reportedly delicious!) batches of lettuce and bok choy. Read more in the UH News story here and see the robotic arm in action here!

Kent, with his research into self-contained hydroponic systems suitable for space travel, is unquestionably the right person to advise the team. He was a mentor to the Girl Scouts of Hawaii International Space Station Project Teams for two years on their autonomous hydroponic system on the International Space Station, and he mentored Mechanical Engineering student Aleca Borsuk for her Hawaii Space Grant Consortium Fellowship project of growing edible amaranth with LED lights. 


A Book of Beauty

Alumna pens an insider’s look at historical and everyday designs

MacNut Pest Management

A new study on the felted coccid can help growers manage loss from pests

Restoration and Re-Engagement

A $2M NRCS grant will support underserved communities and build healthy, productive soils

Housing Our Veterans

AUW is helping U.S. Vets have greater impact in Hawaiʻi

ʻAlae ʻula

NREM student recognized at Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference

In the House

FCS and MBBE join the Hawaiʻi Book & Music Festival

Hawaiiscape Green

Extension teams up with LICH to help small and minority-owned businesses


Extension mini-conference is set for Oct. 15

Piggeries in Puna

A new deep-litter design may help jump-start family farms

Essentials and Organics

A new NIFA grant will support essential oils’ potential to safeguard organic crops

Grand (Re)Opening!

After a lengthy construction, the ADSC is resuming analysis.

In the Bull Pen

Extension hosts a speaker panel on livestock questions

CTAHR 2019-2020 Annual Report

Please take a few minutes to read these highlights in instruction, research, and extension

Long-Awaited Support

A new NIFA grant could enhance Hawaiʻi’s avocado industry

Starting from Seed

HDFS launches Ag videos for homeschooled keiki

Elephant in the Ocean

NREM study finds plastic pollution is outpacing cleanup models

A 600% Increase

Aloha United Way’s “COVID-19 Rent and Utility Assistance Program” is helping thousands

Giant Candy Canes

“Kō: Ethnobotanical Guide to Hawaiian Sugarcane Cultivars” gives a fascinating history

Ready, Set, Students

No in-class? No problem. ASAO is keeping CTAHR students in the loop

Helping 500,000+

The 2020 AUW Campaign targets Hawaiʻi residents who need assistance

A.I. in Ag

New grant opportunity is due October 5

Beyond Beginners

GoFarm Hawaiʻi consults on business plans, grant writing, and a whole lot more.

Vegan Leather

FDM students hope to establish sustainable manufacturing in Hawaiʻi

One Busy Man

Extension agent is helping livestock producers, near and far

$1.5M for Ag Ed

Grant designed to expand education for Native Hawaiians

Primed for Expansion

NIFA awards almost $1M to CTAHR’s Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture

Textbook Nutrition

Food Science and Human Nutrition’s latest edition adds an interactive layer

Welcome, Rock

Dr. Zhi-Yan Du joins MBBE

Men’s Wear

FDM professor is featured in a new book on masculine clothing

A Virtual Garden

The American Society for Horticultural Science’s online conference is a hit

RU AgCurious?

GoFarm Hawaiʻi Windward kicks off another farmer training

Giant Smiles

4-H contest gets keiki excited about agriculture

Safe You, Safe Campus

IT Services’ new app is mandatory for those coming to UH