Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program


Volume 38: Apr | May | June 2020

Hānai ʻAi
The Food Provider
Hawaii State representative with the Western Regional Technical Advisory Committee (RTAC) for the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS)
As a CTAHR Extension Agent of the Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program, we would like to congratulate Dr. Amjad Ahmad on his nomination as secretary for the Western Regional Technical Advisory Committee (WRTAC) for the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). 
On June 17, 2020 Dr. Ahmad was elected for regional secretary and will have the opportunity to represent the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s CTAHR and the state of Hawaii to the nation. This is a significant achievement for Dr. Ahmad, he will now have opportunities to network with colleagues that develop the newest crop varieties and research new crop genetics. 
We would like to congratulate Dr. Amjad Ahmad for being recognized for the task and we support him in his role as secretary for the Western Regional Technical Advisory Committee (WRTAC) for the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS).     Click here to see what NPGS does
Sustainable & Organic Research & Outreach News
News from Hawaii's Researchers & Extension Professionals
Soil Health Management Against Fusarium Asparagus Crown and Root Rot
Waisen, P., Wang, K-H., Paudel, R. , and Uyeda, J.
University of Hawaii at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Up until its decline in 2016, asparagus ( Asparagus officinalis ) flourished in Hawaii. Because of Hawaii’s milder climate, asparagus could have been harvested over longer periods, up to 20 – 30 years from one planting, as compared to colder climates. Its marketed decline was caused by the introduction of Fusarium oxysporium f. sp. asparagi (Foa), causing crown and root rot of the asparagus. In addition to crown and root rot, asparagus had to deal with other adverse environmental factors, such as other diseases and insect pressure. Due to land limitation for a long-term rotation for asparagus production to overcome Foa infestation, researchers at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources investigated whether maintaining soil health conditions using biologically derived compounds could help the asparagus to overcome fusarium crown and root rot disease. This article examined the amendment of soil with five biologically derived compounds that have the potential to antagonize against plant pathogenic fungi. Please click here for full article
Using Trap Crops and Entomopathogenic Nematodes to Manage Caterpillar Pests on Head Cabbage
Budhathoki, S., Wang, K-H., Waisen, P., Meada, M., Paudel, R., Silva, J., Manandhar, R., Uyeda, J. and Sipes, B.
University of Hawaii at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Head cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata) is a top-volume producing crop in Hawaii with an estimated production of $3.93 million farm gate value (NAAS 2019). Although the tropical climate of Hawaii allows for year-round cabbage production, it also allows for year-round insect pest pressure. Farmers in Hawaii have experienced 20-40% and sometimes up to 100% yield loss despite intensive pest management of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) (DBM), imported cabbageworm (Pieris rapae), cabbage webworm (Hellula undalis), and cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni). Several insecticides are available, however, continuous use of insecticide allows for insecticide selection pressure, creating populations of DBMs that are resistant to insecticides. It is imperative to identify additional microbial biocontrol agents that can add to the organic insecticide rotation program and cultural practices that can assist organic farmers in managing DBM and ICW effectively. This article takes a look at organic insecticide rotation programs that farmers can implement to combat against insecticide resistant pests.  Click here to read full article and watch the video.
Summer Home School – Sustainable Ag Version
Wang, K-H., Waisen, P.
University of Hawaii at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, many families have been adapting to social distancing and homeschooling their keiki. Researchers at CTAHR have thoughtfully put together a series of videos related to cool and fun information about sustainable agriculture. In this series you will find videos about the conservation of pollinators in Hawaii, attracting beneficial insects, and International Year of Plant Health, which aims to raise awareness about how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, and protect the environment. This is a great resource for teachers and the whole ohana. To begin your summer homeschool journey with your keiki, please click here .  
Ahmad, A., Uyeda, J., Radovich, T., Sugano, J., Motomura, S., Tavares, K., Silva, J,. and Kirk, E.
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Hawai’i vegetable farmers typically do not direct seed. The common practice is to produce vegetable seedlings in celled trays for later transplant into the field. Transplanting strong seedlings can improve crop establishment and yield by reducing early plant loss due to pests, birds, and diseases.  The need for affordable soluble fertilizers derived from locally available resources is crucial for environmental protection, resource conservation, growers’ profitability and long-term sustainability. Fertigation is suitable for field condition, green-/screen-house, and hydroponic system (on a small or large scale). Researchers at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources conducted two studies (greenhouse and field) to evaluate the quality and productivity of using liquid organic fertilizer, in comparison to liquid synthetic fertilizer. To read the full article click here
Publications & Programs
Grow, Eat, Think Local
The GET Local initiative is a collaborative effort by the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Cooperative Extension agents in agriculture and human resource based fields. The Extension agents incorporate the concept of GET Local and educating the community and stakeholders on the commodities available locally in order to increase consumer interest, grower knowledge, and general public awareness of local agriculture.
The GET Local initiative provides opportunities for residents and visitors of Hawaii to learn more about the origin of local crops and food products, science and research behind food choices, and information on access to products and uses.The GET Local vision is to strengthen connections between agriculture and consumers in Hawaii in order to create an environment conducive to creating a sustainability and food security culture of increased local commodity awareness and demand. Quarterly updates from GET Local will be featured in upcoming issues of Hanai'Ai.
For more information on GET Local, go to:   
Beginning Farmers
Helpful articles and resources for those getting started
Cover Crop Resources
The Hawaii Cover Crop Handbook: In 2001, Oahu RC&D produced a Cover Crop Handbook that featured information on three of the most common cover crop species used in Hawaii at that time: oats, buckwheat and sunn hemp. In the past eight years, cover crop use has increased dramatically, and producers are seeking ways to maximize the benefits of cover cropping. One way to achieve this is by utilizing multi-species plantings (aka Cover Crop Cocktails). click here for handbook 
Cover Crops as Insectary Plants : click here
Farmscaping with Cover Crops or Insectary Plants for Pest Management : Presentation, click here
Insectary Plants For Hawaii: Extension Handbook click here
Ko'olau Seed and Supply: Hawaii's most complete source for seed. They specialize in Turf, Pasture, and Cover Crop Seeds. website
Millions of Dollars Heading to Farmers, but Small Farms Won’t See Much of it: Advocates say young and disadvantaged farmers won’t benefit from the latest stimulus funds, and nor do those selling directly to consumers click here to read full article from
Farm Loan Discovery
Answer a few short questions to learn about USDA farm loans that might be right for you. USDA also offers other funding opportunities to help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners finance their business. Explore and learn about programs offered. click here to go to website.
Organic Update
Organic sector asks for help
The National Organic Coalition and Organic Farmers Association said in letters dated May 7 th , 2020 that they are concerned that payments from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will not reach organic and diversified farms and those serving local markets. The act, through the Coranavirus Food Assistance Program, allocates $2.1 billion for specialty crop growers.   The Organic Trade Association also asked USDA in a may 4 th  letter to ensure that future financial assistance covers COVID-19 losses, taking into account increased costs of production for organic farmers, and covering market losses outside of commodity price declines when calculating direct payments as part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Other accomodations requested include:
·           certification cost-share funding be released in a timely manner
·           release of the “Strengthening Organic Enforcement” proposed rule
·           emergency assistance include adequate funding to cover losses for organic producers and personal protective equipment for workers.
·           USDA to allow accredited certifiers to use emergency remote inspections when on-site inspections are not possible.
Organic produce sales are up nationally
April’s 2020 organic fresh produce sales topped $542.4 million, rising 18.4% in dollars and 20.5% in volume, according to an Organic Produce Performance Report from the Organic Produce Network and Category Partners. The categories of packaged sales, carrots, apples and bananas together accounted for 52% of total organic retail volume, and the top ten categories for organic volume drove 72% of total organic movement, according to the report. See the full article here:
United States Streamlines Organic Trade with Taiwan
The USDA announced a new U.S.-Taiwan equivalence arrangement, effective May 30, 2020, that streamlines organic trade with Taiwan. The arrangement allows organic products certified in the United States or Taiwan to be sold as organic in either market. It also protects access for American organic farmers, ranchers, and businesses to this significant export market. Taiwan is estimated to be the fifth largest organic export market for U.S. producers. See full announcement here:
Upcoming Events
Farm Fire Management Webinar
Assessing & Reducing Wildfire Risk on Your Farm
When: Wednesday, June 24, 2020 4 pm – 5:30 pm
For more info, contact Joshua Silva 808-342-8560
Click here for Flyer
Feature Farmer
Love Family Farms
Captain Cook, Hawai'i
Farmer: Ken Love
Area under production:  2 acres
Years farming in Hawai'i:  5 years on his 8th farm
Crops grown, animals raised, goods & services: 300 species of tropical fruit trees in ground, Hawaii Master Food Preservers Association, Director of Japan Avocado Commission, potted fruit tree, fresh fruit, fruit tree repositories 
Fertility Management: 8-8-8; 0-0-50 Citrus
Hot Tip: Do your research. Be open to researching sources that are not written in english.
Mahalo nui loa 
Ken Love
Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education Program (WSARE)
Western SARE provides grants in several categories. Each of these grants is available at specific times of the year.  Applying  online for a grant is a simple step-by-step process. Please read each grant's specific Calls for Proposals.
Professional Development Call for Proposals  - Opened April 17 2020. Closes November 11, 2020
Research to Grassroots Call for Proposals  - Opened April 17, 2020. Closes November 18, 2020.
Farmer/Rancher Call for Proposals  - Opens August 17, 2020. Closes November 2, 2020
Professional + Producer Call for Proposals   - Opens August 19, 2020, Closes November 4, 2020.
Conservation Tillage Systems in the Southeast
SARE’s newest book,  Conservation Tillage Systems in the Southeast , explores the importance of conservation tillage and provides in-depth management guidance to help farmers control erosion and build soil quality. Its emphasis is on the use of conservation tillage in rotations of agronomic crops and cover crops typical of the Southeast. E ach conservation tillage system is designed based on local conditions, there are some general principles and practices that are applicable to Hawaii. Click here to read
Fresh Growth Podcast
F resh Growth: Approaches to a More Sustainable Future from Western Ag Practitioners introduces you to farmers and ranchers from around the western United States who are finding innovative sustainable practices that enrich the natural resources we all care about. These successful multi-generational operations experiment with new ideas and are making it pay. Listen in as they tell their story and provide advice for young or beginning farmers.
Listen  in as they tell their story and provide advice for young or beginning farmers.
Videos From the Field
S ARE, in partnership with Cooking Up A Story, has produced a series of how-to videos showcasing production and marketing practices used by some of the nation’s most successful sustainable farmers and ranchers. Taking the viewer on a journey with the producer, each video demonstrates an innovative strategy developed with SARE support, showing how producers everywhere can boost profits, protect their land and water and revitalize communities.
SARE’s From the Field videos are available through  Cooking Up A Story’s   searchable archive. 
Supporting Agriculture in the Pacific Islands
Twenty-seven Administrative Council members, state coordinators, and Western SARE staff traveled to nine Pacific islands, meeting with and provide training for 200+ farmers, ag professionals, officials, and teachers, it was a true collaboration between Western SARE and local ag leaders. The trainings were designed to meet locally identified needs. Topics ranged from soil health and plant propagation to IPM and swine production. Participants also learned about techniques suited for their location such as small scale irrigation, creative ideas for livestock feeds, and solar pumps. There was an emphasis on education for youth and beginning farmers. All islands held grant writing workshops as well. Click here to read the full book
WSARE logo
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 Hawai'i. 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:  or contact Hawai'i WSARE co-coordinators 
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.
  • If this publication has been valuable, please forward it to others ,visit our social media accounts, like and subscribe.
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Send in your suggestions for what you want to read about in our articles.
  • Tell us about your research needs. 
Mahalo nui loa,
Ted Radovich, Jari Sugano and Eric Collier  Education Specialist and Editor
Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program 
Cooperative Extension Service 
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
University of Hawaii at Manoa
On-line version of newsletter as well as archived issues available at:  
CTAHR Sustainable and Organic Program
at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Dr. Theodore Radovich
Heading Here
Place article copy here. Be sure to make the articles short and concise as people tend not to read much more than a couple of paragraphs. Place article copy here.
Categories: Archive








If you require information in an alternative format, please contact us at: