OnSite Workshop
outdor workshops
spray coverage
Field Classroom
Multi Agency
Food Safety

Welcome to the Local and Immigrant Farmer Education (LIFE) Website

The goal of the LIFE program is to: 1) increase the viability of local and immigrant-owned farms in Hawaii, 2) provide outreach, technical assistance, and language accessibility to promote the economic and environmental sustainability of businesses led by immigrant farmers, and 3) strengthen relationships, build trust, and provide individualized support to help Hawaii's diversified agriculture thrive.

LIFE’s model is a team-based and grassroots approach to providing extension education through collaborative partnerships with CTAHR programs (GoFarm HawaiiSustainable and Organic Agriculture Program, Food Systems Working Group, Basil Swat Team, etc.), statewide CTAHR Extension agents, agricultural agencies such as USDA (FSA, NRCS, etc.), Pacific Gateway Center, Oahu Agriculture and Conservation Association, Oahu RC&D, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, county agencies, Hawaii Farm Bureau, and other public and private organizations.

Our long term goal is to assist growers in becoming self directed, active information seekers and adopters of research based best practices for their farms and businesses. LIFE has a reputation for useful, quality recommendations and a proven ability to work respectfully and successfully with local and immigrant farmers. Partnerships enable LIFE to educate growers about a wide spectrum of priority agricultural topics while providing opportunities for growers to meet and take advantage of available government programs in a safe and conducive learning environment.


This program was originally started as the Socially Disadvantaged Farmer Program by Dr. Sabina Swift around 2002. Extension Agent Jari Sugano took over when Dr. Swift retired around 2008, and for many years LIFE was a grant funded collaborative project between the UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), USDA, Risk Management Agency, USDA Farm Service Agency and the CTAHR Risk Management Hawaii Program. 

In 2022, funding from the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) 2501 Program has allowed us to once again expand our coordinated efforts to service the ever changing needs of socially disadvantaged growers across the state.



For more information, please contact:

Emilie Kirk

Kauaʻi Extension Office

3060 ʻEiwa Street, Suite 210

Līhuʻe, HI 96766

Phone: (808) 274-3471

Email: uhmlife@hawaii.edu

Program Outputs


Farm Doctor Program:

The Farm Doctor program is the flagship program of  the LIFE program. Field visits to commercial agricultural operations are conducted in response to grower requests to provide crop production and agribusiness consultation. We strive to develop strong working relationships with growers to address their priority issues and develop appropriate solutions to meet their needs. Bilingual material filled with color photographs and terminology in lay-terms and interpreters are used to support field visits. 



Workshops and Field Day Demonstrations:

LIFE educational training opportunities are offered in both formal meetings and on-farm demonstrations. A 2009 needs assessment to determine growers' learning preferences reinforced a preference for face to face interaction and more hands-on field day opportunities.  



Cooperator Field Trials:

To promote the development of empowered learners and active information seekers, LIFE incorporates “Grower Inspired Field Trials” based on growers needs and interest. Advanced level socially disadvantaged, limited resource, full time farmers were encouraged to develop an on farm trial addressing some aspect of crop production and/or agribusiness. The program encouraged growers to conduct an on farm demonstration for all growers to visit and learn. The CTAHR training team served as a resource for the growers and helps to collect and summarize data.



Bilingual training materials:

Translated handout materials are preferred by immigrant participants (Swift and Brennan, 2003). Written materials in two languages have been found to better inform users and are more acceptable to the farmers than either language alone.  LIFE is continuing to expand appropriate educational materials into the many languages spoken by farmers, ranchers, and workers based on needs and resources available. Interpreters are used at the team’s discretion.



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