Volume 9: Sept | Oct | Nov 2011

  • 2 August 2016
  • Author: Moore
  • Number of views: 1999

Providing science-based information to serve Hawaii's Farming Community

Hānaiʻ Ai

The Food Provider

September | October | November 2009  

Aloha Kākou


Welcome to the Fall issue of HānaiʻAi, the sustainable agriculture newsletter of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The mission of HānaiʻAi is to provide a venue for dissemination of science-based information to serve all of Hawaii's Farming Community in our quest for agricultural sustainability.


As we enter our third year of publishing HānaiʻAi, it is a good time to reflect on what we can do to make the newsletter even more relevant to you. We have designed an evaluation form to help us do this and hope you will take a few minutes to complete it. This is your opportunity to suggest articles, programs or events that you would like to see covered.


We are pleased to announce the expansion of the SOAP working group to include four new topics and their leaders:

  • Soil Ecology: Dr. Koon Hui Wang
  • Sustainable Fruit and Nut Production: Dr. Mark Nickum
  • Aquaponics: Drs. Clyde Tamaru and Kai Fox
  • Youth Education: Dr. Mary Martini


Please join us in welcoming them to the program.


Join us on a trip to Ka'u to visit this issue's featured farmer, award winning coffee grower Lorie Obra and her family. Using local resources to improve soil quality and plant health has made biochar a hot commodity among many of Hawaii's food producers. CTAHR resources related to biochar are highlighted below along with other CTAHR updates that include practices that promote plant health, a vital soil, and a strong market for local products.


Make sure to visit the "back pages" of the newsletter as well, which features Publications & Programs, upcoming Workshops, Conferences and Meetings, the Organic Update and upcoming funding deadlines.

We hope you find this issue of HānaiʻAi useful, and welcome your input.


Feature Farmer

Lorie Obra

Rusty’s Hawaiian, Pahala, Hawai‘i


Area under production:

12 acres

Growing since:

12 years


Crops grown:

Specialty coffee


Fertility management:

Through the LIFE (Local Immigrant Farmer Education) program, various Ka'u coffee farmers had soil-and-tissue analysis of their farms conducted by the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. This helped me determine the type of fertilizer I need. 


Mahalo nui loa to Lorie Obra for this interview and to Ralph Gaston for photographs.



HOT TIPS from Lorie Obra

My motto is passion, consistent quality and adaptability. You have to be passionate about your product in order to have great quality. And in farming, you have to be able to adapt to unforeseen situations.


Read More

From the Field

Saving Seeds

 By Dr. Ted RadovichMany farmers and gardeners save some of their own seed to preserve well-adapted varieties that may not be available on the commercial market. This article highlights key points to be aware of when saving seed. Several vegetable varieties selected and saved by Hawaii farmers are available from the University of Hawaii Seed Program.


READ the full article here.

FMI: Ted Radovich, Email: theodore@hawaii.edu


Growing Your Business


Farms and Families: Keeping Business Concerns Separate From Family Concerns

By Dr. Linda J. Cox


Farms and farm families are intertwined, which can cause tension for the business and the family. In order to address these types of concerns, business and family goals must be clarified immediately. This article discusses the need to plan ahead and provides information about resources that can help.


READ the full article here.


FMI: Linda Cox, email: lcox@hawaii.ed

Sustainable & Organic Research &

Outreach News

News from Hawai'i's Researchers and Extension

The Basics of Biochar : A Natural Soil Amendment

Josiah Hunt, email: josiahhunt@me.com; Michael DuPonte, email: mduponte@hawaii.edu, Dwight Sato, and Andrew Kawabata email: kawabataa@ctahr.hawaii.edu


This recent CTAHR publication provides an extensive literature review of recent biochar research that has been completed around the world. It addresses questions about biochar that are frequently asked by users and producers. The results of an unreplicated field demonstration are also included.


The Basics of Biochar: A Natural Soil Amendment [SCM 30]

Beneficial Use of Biochar To Correct Soil Acidity

Arnoldus Klau Berek, Nguyen Hue, email: nvhue@hawaii.edu, and Amjad Ahmad email: alobady@hawaii.edu


Soil acidity limits crop production in many regions of the world, including Hawaii. Lime is often applied to reduce acidity, although lime is costly and may not be available. The research reported in this article concludes that biochar, a by-product of bio-fuels production, could be mixed with lime to reduce soil acidity. Applying a mixture that contains 2 to 4 % biochar and about 2 tons/ha of lime, which is expected to neutralize acidity, was found to significantly improve soil quality and increase crop growth.


READ the full article here.


Romaine lettuce Variety Trials in Hawaii: Winter, Spring and Summer Trials

Hector Valenzuela, email: hector@hawaii.edu; Jari Sugano, email: suganoj@ctahr.hawaii.edu; Alton Arakaki, email: arakakia@ctahr.hawaii.edu; Ted Radovich, email: Theodore@hawaii.edu; Ted Goo, and Susan Migita, email: migitas@ctahr.hawaii.edu


Four observational field trials were conducted to determine the growth of Romaine lettuce varieties during the Winter at Poamoho, O‘ahu, Spring at low-elevation in Moloka‘i , and Summer over two years in Poamoho. The research report identifies the top yielding varieties and the varieties that exhibited desirable traits or growth characteristics.


READ the full article here.


Organic Update


Directory of Organic Seed Suppliers

This database provides sources for organic seed of both agronomic and horticultural crops. Some national, mail-order suppliers of untreated seed are included, with the emphasis on small alternative seed companies offering open-pollinated vegetable, flower, and herb seed.

USDA Renews Organic Cost-Share funding for FY 2011

Under the terms of the renewed agreements, certified organic producers and handlers may be reimbursed 75% of the cost of their new or continued certification, up to a maximum of $750. 


  • NOSB voted to renew the allowance of ethylene for pineapple flower induction for an additional five years.
  • Organic poultry and egg producers can access market information through a new weekly report.
  • National Organic Program

Publications & Programs

for sustainable and organic production systems 

or sustainable and organic production systems New from CTAHR

New Tropical Fruit Publications

New Plant Disease Publications

Acidification of Volcanic Ash Soils from Maui and Hawaii Island for Blueberry and Tea Production 



New Director Announced for NRCS


Angel Figueroa was selected as the new Director for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). He is responsible for the 110 federal employees within the Pacific Islands Area. Originally from Puerto Rico, Mr. Figueroa began his career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1989. Before this Hawaii assignment, Mr. Figueroa worked for NRCS offices in Massachusetts, Ohio, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC. He was selected for this position in July 2011 after the retirement of Larry Yamamoto.


Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (WSARE)

Learn more about WSARE’s activities in their quarterly newsletter Simply Sustainable.


Since 1988, the WSARE program has been supporting agricultural profitability, environmental integrity and community strength through grants that enable cutting-edge research and education to open windows on sustainability across the West, including Hawaii. The goals of WSARE are:


  • Promote good stewardship of our natural resources.
  • Enhance the quality of life of farmers and ranchers and ensure the viability of rural communities.
  • Protect the health and safety of those involved in food and farm systems.
  • Promote crop, livestock and enterprise diversification.
  • Examine the regional, economic, social and environmental implications of adopting sustainable agriculture practices and systems.

For more information, please see: https://wsare.usu.edu/ or contact Hawaii WSARE coordinator Dr. Ted Radovich at theodore@hawaii.edu.


This e-publication has been prepared by CTAHR research scientists and extension staff to deliver science-based information about sustainable and organic production systems to serve Hawaii's farming community.


  • To continue receiving this newsletter, please confirm your interest by subscribing or updating your profile/email address.
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  • Send in your suggestions for what you want to read about in our articles
  • Tell us about your research needs.


Mahalo nui loa,

Eric Collier, Education Specialist and Managing Editor

Dr. Linda Cox and Dr. Ted Radovich

Jody Smith, e-Extension Manager

Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program

Cooperative Extension Service

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources


The University of Hawai‘i is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution.

Jody Smith | Web Manager | smithjos@hawaii.edu

Copyright ©2013 University of Hawai‘i - College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Updated 4 Nov, 2021

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