News and Events

«July 2024»

Food for Foodbank

Food for Foodbank 22 June 2022

Food for Foodbank

CTAHR donates a UH-leading 2,488 pounds

The recent UH drive to support the Hawaiʻi Foodbank brought in almost $70K, and CTAHR led the way in total pounds of food donated at a whopping 2,488 pounds – by far and away the most from any college or school in the UH system.

Second Saturday

Second Saturday 22 June 2022

Second Saturday

UGC opens up for educational workshops by registration

Mark your calendars for Saturday, July 9, because the Urban Garden Center is once again holding educational workshops for the public, this time on orchids and composting. Can’t wait? Guests are welcome to arrive early for a guided tour of the Honolulu Rose Society gardens beginning at 9 am, visit the Master Gardeners’ “Got a Plant Question?” booth, and check out the interesting “Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle” display.

GoFarm Gets $1M

GoFarm Gets $1M 22 June 2022

GoFarm Gets $1M

American AgCredit and CoBank grant will support next generation of farmers

A $1 million gift from American AgCredit and CoBank will go directly to helping GoFarm Hawaiʻi graduates grow their agricultural businesses. The highly successful CTAHR program has graduated 480 participants in less than a decade. It provides business technical assistance, educational opportunities, and resources to remove barriers to farming and agribusinesses.

In the Field

In the Field 13 May 2022

In the Field

Maui Extension hosts Ag teachers

Ag teachers on Maui, Molokaʻi, and Lanaʻi haven’t been able to gather, share knowledge, and renew friendships for a while now. So along with Britney James of the Maui Economic Development Board’s STEMworks Program, in partnership with Maui County Farm Bureau, we decided to host a professional development. It was great to see Ag teachers from across Maui County come together for the event. We kicked off with a tour of HokuNui Maui’s Agroforestry program. The Hewahewa family shared the history of the farm and how they decide which plants to grow in their agroforest so teachers could implement the same choices in their classes.

2022 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Extension

2022 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Extension 1 May 2022

2022 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Extension

The Coffee Berry Borer Team

The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Extension distinguishes an exceptional Extension faculty member or team whose work has demonstrated outstanding performance and significant results. The application for this award is the submission of an Extension Impact Statement. This year’s winning Impact Statement can be found on the CTAHR homepage.

2022 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Extension Volunteer

2022 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Extension Volunteer 1 May 2022

2022 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Extension Volunteer

Joe Simmons of the Master Gardener Program

Volunteers are the lifeblood for Extension programs such as 4-H and Master Gardener. The recipient of this first-ever Dean’s Award for Outstanding Extension Volunteer goes to Joe Simmons, Master Gardener volunteer. For many years, the Master Gardener program in the majority of states utilized an electronic volunteer management system created and hosted by the University of California – Davis. In 2019, this system was decommissioned, and it was up to each state to come up with a replacement system.

Congrats Roshan!

Congrats Roshan! 16 March 2022

Congrats Roshan!

Extension agent recognized by Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council

For his dedication to supporting and enhancing invasive species management on Kauaʻi and throughout Hawaiʻi, Extension agent Roshan Manandhar is the recipient of the 2022 Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Awareness Month Kauaʻi Island MVP Award! The award recognizes an individual, organization, or agency responsible for one of the major invasive species highlights in the areas of research, prevention, control, and/or public outreach on their island.

(Ag) Class in Session

(Ag) Class in Session 21 February 2022

(Ag) Class in Session

Urban Garden Center hosts Pearl City and Waipahu high schoolers

Want to sustain our aging Ag workforce with the best and brightest of the next generation? How about try exposing young persons to the wide diversity of careers that are available? Faculty, staff, and volunteers of CTAHR’s Urban Garden Center (UGC) played host to field trips last week from Pearl City High School and Waipahu High School, partnering with the Hawaiʻi Agricultural Foundation (HAF) to promote awareness of agriculture at the high school level. With a grant to cover transportation, UGC and HAF worked together to bring more than 30 PCHS students to the CTAHR facility February 11 for a multisensory event.

Students had an opportunity to: 1) learn about the benefits of flowers, 2) smell the roses, 3) express themselves creatively with plants, 4) harvest, process and taste mamaki tea, 5) use their hands to propagate plants, 6) taste local and unique fruits grown at UGC, 7) convert home waste into a useable fertilizer for plants, 8) take home local roses and their personalized bouquets, and 9) taste how sour lemon can be made into a local treat by using gummies and lemon peel. 

Aloha Kalani

Aloha Kalani 21 January 2022

Aloha Kalani

Extension agent helped cultivate a county-wide base of Master Gardeners

Please join the Master Gardeners, Volunteers, and Urban Garden Center (UGC) as we bid a fond aloha to Master Gardener / Urban Horticulture Extension Agent, Kalani Matsumura. Kalani served as a Junior Extension Agent with Oʻahu County, Cooperative Extension, for the past five years. During his tenure, he led the Oʻahu County, Master Gardener Program, to be a successful Cooperative Extension program at CTAHR.

Adventure in Paradise

Adventure in Paradise 21 January 2022

Adventure in Paradise

4-H offers another Wounded Warrior Camp for keiki of fallen soldiers

Hawaiʻi 4-H Military Partnership is excited to announce its “4-H Wounded Warrior Camp: Adventure in Paradise” will once again be offered this summer. The week of fun in the sun, recreation and respite is specifically tailored for the dependent keiki of wounded, injured, ill or fallen soldiers. At YMCA Camp Erdman on the North Shore of Oahu. The adventure will include high ropes courses, mindfulness activities, swimming, yoga, hiking, Hawaiiana-based environmental activities, crafts, and recreational camp games.

Feeding Mental Health

Feeding Mental Health 7 December 2021

Feeding Mental Health

HDFS + UGC Fruit Hui team up to collect, donate fruit baskets

For this past Thanksgiving, student interns Leah Ramos and Kalani Akau and their advisor, Sothy Eng, took the initiative to collect fruits from families' backyards and put them together in baskets, which they donated to Mental Health Kōkua, a local organization that serves adults striving for mental wellness. The Urban Garden Center’s Fruit Hui immediately came on board, generously donating its entire harvest of lemon, tangerine, orange, papaya, mango, and starfruit, estimated to be more than 100 pounds of fresh, nutritious, delicious items – and all hand-picked by UGC volunteers Linda, Susie, Glenn, Jessie, Karen, Kim, and others.

“These fruit baskets not only provide nutritional food for our community members, but also help toward promoting sustainable food systems as abundant foods are being sourced and shared with those who are struggling with food access,” says Sothy of the Human Development and Family Studies program in the Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences. “This food distribution is one of the elements within the food systems that connects between the home/community food systems with our community members who are suffering from social injustice of healthy food access."

Extension’s Kalani Matsumura adds, “The UGC volunteers normally donate these fruits to the Hawaiʻi Food Bank, as well as the CTAHR student food pantry, but today they are happy to support HDFS students’ Thanksgiving project to put together nice baskets for the needy. Thank you for the great work you're doing for families in Hawaiʻi!

Mental Health Kōkua serves adult individuals with disabilities and chronic illnesses often causing the individual to feel alone and separated from reality, explains Les Gusman, County Director-Oahu.

“This random act of kindness that you are providing gives them hope,” he says. “We appreciate Brooke Fisher, an HDFS alumni and MHK former intern, who is now doing her Master's in Social Work at Columbia University, for her continuous effort connecting CTAHRʻs Home Garden Network program to our organization.”

In the Hands of Those In Need

In the Hands of Those In Need 1 December 2021

In the Hands of Those In Need

Extension visits the Institute for Human Services’ aquaculture garden

Serving 359,159 meals to the homeless in a single year requires a literal ton(s) of ingredients. To supplement the meals with fresh, locally grown produce, the Institute for Human Services maintains a rooftop garden on top of its Dillingham Blvd. location, carefully tended to by GoFarm Hawaiʻi graduate Lubei Cavin. At her invite, eight agents from O’ahu County Extension had an opportunity to return to IHS’s rooftop garden to see how all the magic happens. Aquaponically grown lettuce, basil, kalo, and sweet potatoes were just some of the many commodities growing.

Lubei led an aquaculture production “class” for her visitors, and shared her focus on the humanity side of agriculture and how the garden provides food to keep people fed and nourished. Extension also had an opportunity to see how the veggies are processed in the kitchen, then packed and served to IHS guests across Oʻahu.

“The field trip was eye opening,” says Jari Sugano. “It reminded us how important it is to put food into the hands of those who need it the most.”

Following the visit, Extension and volunteers made a special effort to help IHS supplement its holiday spread. They harvested and donated mandarins and citrus from Extension agent Jensen Uyeda field trial at the Poamoho Research Station.

“As this holiday season approaches, please be mindful of those in need and support organizations like IHS who strive to end homelessness in Hawaiʻi,” says Jari. “In 2020, IHS housed 2,619 clients and sheltered 2,145 people – besides serving all those meals. So please consider making donations of food, clothing, home goods, toiletries, monetary gifts, gift cards, etc.”

View a video of Extension’s visit.

Fast, Healthy, and Ono

Fast, Healthy, and Ono 1 December 2021

Fast, Healthy, and Ono

Extension is featured on AARP’s “Locally Grown” series

Extension’s Amjad Ahmad basked in the virtual limelight as the featured speaker in “Locally Grown,” a video series by the American Association of Retired Persons, Hawaiʻi chapter, and Windward Community College. Each week during the cooking webinar series, which ran for six weeks, Amjad gave a presentation and answered questions about growing conditions, the best time to harvest, the best season and environment to grow the crops during, and other related questions. The virtual events also covered cooking demonstrations of locally grown crop (sweet potato, breadfruit, papaya, taro, lemongrass, and kabocha pumpkin) lead by a chef from Windward’s culinary program.

In all, the webinars engaged 1,329 people over the six-week period.

“Amjad did a great job representing CTAHR at the request of AARP!” says Jari Sugano. “His talks helped to heighten awareness of locally grown foods that are easy to grow – and nutritious.”

GoFarm Kauaʻi

GoFarm Kauaʻi 27 October 2021

GoFarm Kauaʻi

The next cohort kicks off Nov. 6 in Lihue

GoFarm Hawaiʻi, the award-winning new farmer training program, will bring its magic back to the Garden Isle next month. Potential cohort applicants are invited to join the GoFarm staff at its training site in Lihue to check out current student farm plots, talk to the coach and marketing specialist, and learn more about upcoming program applications and timelines. Interested participants can register here for the November 6 GoFarm Field Day @ 2pm.

  • Register here for the January 13, 2022, AgCurious webinar @ 6pm. This virtual meeting is the mandatory first step to participate in GoFarm’s 2022 beginning farmer training program (Feb-Sept, 2022).
  • Detailed dates and information are available at GoFarm Kauaʻi.

“We are excited to announce outreach and recruitment for our next GoFarm Hawaii training program cohort on Kauaʻi,” says Janel Yamamoto. “Please share the following dates with your networks as we look for our next group of aspiring farmers!”

Pest Particulars

Pest Particulars 5 October 2021

Pest Particulars

PEPS will improve Extension’s ability to update Hawaiʻi farmers

With hundreds of invasive pests in the Hawaiian Islands to keep track of, entomologists have their hands full sorting out which insects constitute the highest-impact threat to local Ag – not to mention, getting this information into the hands of growers. With a new grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Mark Wright and Joanna Bloese will improve CTAHR Extension’s ability to disseminate the most current data to farmers and other stakeholders statewide. From the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, they will continue and expand upon Integrated Pest Management (IPM) implementation programs across the most highly valued crops in Hawaiʻi agriculture.

“The improvements include upgrading our online IPM portal (the old Crop Knowledge Master) to a modernized and more accessible format, with updated information and images for hundreds of pests of numerous crops in Hawaiʻi,” says Mark. “We’re developing an app with Mark Thorne (of the Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences) for the identification, monitoring, and management of the Two-Lined Spittle Bug, a devastating pest of Hawaiʻi pastures. We’re also collaborating with Angelita Acebes of USDA-ARS to make all our IPM information available through the MyIPM app.”

In addition to delivering IPM Extension materials via Best Management Practice factsheets, online access, and direct interactions with stakeholders, Mark and Joanna will develop predictive forecasts for new, potentially high-impact insect pests. Such preemptive forecasts should help improve surveillance and early detection of pests, and responses to new invasions.

“The grant also supports research on new invasive species,” Mark adds, “such as the Rami moth, a relatively recent arrival that threatens mamaki plants in Hawaiʻi. The grant also supports short-term Extension projects run by Extension agents.”

Read the full grant.

Becky Settlage

Becky Settlage 28 September 2021

Becky Settlage

Dean’s Award for Excellence in Extension

Becky Settlage is an Associate Extension Agent in the Dept. of Family and Consumer Sciences, currently working at the Komohana Research and Extension Center in Hilo. Drawing from her work in the 4-H Junior Master Gardener Program during Covid, Becky published an outstanding Impact Statement, “Growing Great Kids in Times of Adversity.” As Becky explains, this annual program has run since 2012, but Covid stay-at-home orders forced families and schools to come up with ways to engage their kids/students while at home. This project was meant to be educational, connected with school studies, and done from safety of the home.

In Becky’s words, “Because many youths were at home a greater portion of the day due to the pandemic, they were well-positioned to manage and take better care of their plants, which resulted in more contest entries at the conclusion of the program. In 2019, there were 22 entries for our contest. In 2020, we had 76 — an increase of 245%!”

Seven state records were broken by the outstanding plants. In addition, Becky found that 50% of participants were first-time gardeners, with “highly significant positive changes” in the participants’ knowledge and ability to grow “giant” vegetables and plants.

Moving forward, responses indicate that families and schools want to see the annual seminar, monthly ‘Talk Story’ sessions, and annual tour continue.

“100% of the 2020 participants stated they ALL had fun participating and would participate again in 2021,” she said.

Read Becky’s Impact Statement, “Growing Great Kids in Times of Adversity.”


The 2021 CTAHR Dean’s Award for Excellence in Extension is based on an evaluation of Extension Impact Statements submitted by individuals or teams during 2020. Read more.

Lawmakers’ Visits

Lawmakers’ Visits 24 August 2021

Lawmakers’ Visits

The Urban Garden Center hosts state, U.S. representatives and staff

August was a busy month at the Urban Garden Center as faculty, staff, and volunteers prepared for two site visits, first from the House Finance Committee of the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, soon followed by the office of U.S. Representative Ed Case. State lawmakers, who are assessing Capital Improvement Projects statewide, were treated to a full tour of the iconic CTAHR facility in Pearl City, Oʻahu. This included a presentation by the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) team, a CRB detection demonstration by the CRB canine program, a presentation on EFNEP/ SNAP-ED programs, and engaging with the Master Gardener Program. Committee members and their staff also conducted a walk through of the raised-bed containerized fruit tree and hydroponic demonstration area, strolled through the 4-H Children’s Garden, and viewed the historic Quonset hut from WWII. The guests heard first-hand from 4-H youth and UGC volunteers about the importance of UGC for Cooperative Extension programming.

Mitch Heidenreich, Congressman Case’s legal assistant, was provided with an in-depth update on CTAHR’s numerous statewide research and Extension projects involving invasive species eradication, suppression, and management. We also discussed CTAHR’s academic programs, increasing SNAP access, and youth development opportunities.

Development of the areas surrounding UGC has been on the rise, due to their close proximity to a planned rail stop – the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) for the Pearl Highlands Station Area. UGC’s relevance to the local community and the state was most evident, and we took full advantage of these opportunities to update policymakers about all the outstanding work being conducted by CTAHR, across the state. CTAHR is everywhere.


Did You Know?

On any given day, CTAHR faculty and staff at the 30-acre Urban Garden Center in, are researching a disease-resistant strain of crops, preparing college students for a career in tropical agriculture or environmental conservation, hosting busloads of elementary schoolkids, training local residents as Master Gardeners, donating more than 16,000 pounds of fresh fruit to the Hawai‘i Food Bank, and much more.

Prior to Covid, an estimated 6,134 people benefited from direct contact with UGC in 2019. In-person activities halted for the public in 2020, but UGC quickly pivoted to online educational programs, continuing to disseminate information and new advances to commercial and backyard growers across the Hawaiian islands.

Extension faculty, staff and volunteers also used the ‘down time’ during Covid to revitalize the UGC grounds with new gardens and enhanced exhibits. Today, as the state emerges from pandemic restrictions, this cherished neighborhood facility is ready to once again educate visitors and residents, children and adults, in agriculture, environmental sustainability and climate change mitigation strategies.

Garlic, Grown in Hawaiʻi

Garlic, Grown in Hawaiʻi 24 August 2021

Garlic, Grown in Hawaiʻi

Extension is the guest on HPR’s 'The Conversation'

With a $23K grant from Hawaiʻi County, Extension agents Jensen Uyeda and Kylie Tavares are bringing their successful garlic trials to Kona and Hilo. And if all goes well, a locally grown variety of the aromatic Allium family could soon appear in restaurants and groceries across the Islands. For five years, Jensen has been running field trials in a variety of test plots on Oʻahu and Maui, exploring the possibility of commercial garlic production in the state – and so far, so good. The growers he’s working with are successfully producing salable cloves. In fact, one farmer harvested 900 pounds this year and is marketing the garlic at $6-7 per pound, which is higher than the price of California garlic.

“There is a demand for locally grown garlic and that demand is willing to pay the higher price required by local production to meet production cost,” Jensen says. “The quality and diverse flavors of the locally grown garlic set it apart from the mainstream garlic being imported from Mainland and China sources. The garlic varieties being grown are not like any found in local markets, so they can demand a higher price.” 

Jensen and Kylie were the guests last week on Hawaiʻi Public Radio’s The Conversation. “Developing products that have higher value — so like garlic chili oil doesn't require a lot of product, but you can market it as a Hawaiʻi-grown product and that value would be significantly increased,” he said.

Read and listen to the full interview, Hawaiʻi Could Soon Have Its Own Domestic Garlic Industry, with host Lillian Tsang.

Love this Clip!

Love this Clip! 24 August 2021

Love this Clip!

Molokaʻi Farm to School puts together a short but sweet video

Marshall Joy was only with the Molokaʻi Farm to School program for a short while, but he made the most of his time. His job as program coordinator was to connect Hawaiʻi keiki with school gardening experiences and connect young keiki to local food, in hopes to grow the next generation of local food consumers. The coordinator position also means working closely with Maunaloa Elementary to establish their own school garden, which in the future will contribute to food that can be utilized in school meals, and most immediately creates learning opportunities outside of the classroom for haumana. “Not only can school gardens teach our students science and math, gardens give them an opportunity to get outside, connect with nature and engage with one another,” says Monica Esquivel of the Dept. of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences. “Even further along, when they see something they have taken care of grow and provide nutrition for their community, they can gain a sense of pride in self and place.”

Watch the Molokaʻi Farm to School program in action.

Quality Compost

Quality Compost 9 August 2021

Quality Compost

Extension workshops at UGC are a hit with the community

A high demand for applied science was very apparent June 30, and again July 29, as Oʻahu farmers and Master Gardeners arrived at CTAHR’s Urban Garden Center for workshops on compost quality. Extension agent Josh Silva and I are excited to resume hosting outdoor events at UGC, which were very popular with stakeholders prior to Covid. Special talks and demonstrations were provided by Koon-Hui Wang of the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, Sustainable Pest-Management Specialist Kaili Kosaka, the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) Response Team, and Marvin Min of Hawaiian Earth Products.

This was a great opportunity to learn about compost, compost quality, compost processing, composting methods, vermicomposting with red worms, compost management for CRB prevention, carbon-to-nitrogen (C:N) ratios, and related topics. Our guests were able to walk through the UGC grounds – which staff and volunteers have done a spectacular job in renovating – including the new raised-bed systems planted with locally-produced compost from Hawaiian Earth Products. Mahalo HEP!

Participants were very impressed by the presentations and topics covered. In fact, their warm responses prompted us to hold a second workshop for our volunteers and Master Gardeners.

This was a great and beneficial event. All speakers did a very good job. Mahalo for the free compost samples” and “Please keep providing us with this type of workshops” are just a few of the positive comments we received.

Our goal is to increase awareness of the quality and availability of locally produced compost. We want to improve understanding of composting as a great method of waste management, what can be expected from compost application, how to increase the benefits from compost application, how to improve compost quality, and which compost quality parameters to look for.

Mahalo to everyone who helped make these workshops successful, and we look forward to hosting another one soon.

23 March 2020

Safe Food Handling

Handout is included with Hawai‘i Island’s emergency food box distribution

Safe Food Handling

Retired faculty Julia Zee joined The Food Basket, Hawai‘i Island’s food bank, in distributing emergency food boxes island wide. She also printed 500 copies of a “Safe Food Handling” handout to include in each box.

“While COVID-19 doesn’t appear to be transmitted through food, The Food Basket understands that food safety is still critical during this time when residents are in need of food and assistance,” says Julia.

The farm food safety education team has also sent out information to farmers and agricultural stakeholders about farm food safety strategies and to support the continued supply of locally grown foods.