Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program


Volume 40: Oct | Nov | Dec 2020

  • 17 February 2021
  • Author: Soap Web Master
  • Number of views: 2175


The Food Provider
WINTER 2020 OCT| NOV | DEC Volume 40
Sustainable & Organic Research & Outreach News
News from Hawaii's Researchers & Extension Professionals
Coffee Rust: Hemileia vastatrix
Kawabata, A., Tsutsui, R.
University of Hawaii at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Coffee rust (Hemileia vastatrix Berkley & Broome), the most economically important coffee disease in the world, was first discovered on cultivated coffee in Sri Lanka in 1869. Within 10 years, production was completely destroyed. This disease has since spread to Southeast Asia, Africa, the Western hemisphere, South and Central American countries and many other main coffee growing
regions, devastating farms along the way. Hemileia vastatrix has recently been identified in Hawaii.  This disease of coffee will cause defoliation, reduced berry size, branch, and tree death. Infections typically start on the lower portion of the tree before reaching the higher leaves. Farmers can prevent the introduction of rust by planting only locally grown coffee seedlings or plants and follow all quarantine requirements for imported coffee products, plants and plant parts. Even if rust is not visible, this does not mean that spores are not present. DO NOT SMUGGLE coffee plants, seeds, leaves or cherry to Hawaii. Discard or bag and immediately wash all clothing and footwear before and upon returning from a trip to coffee producing farms outside of Hawaii. To view the most updated poster click here
FMI Please contact Andrea Kawabata
Publications & Programs
Growing Oʻahu’s Community Forest and Amplifying Community Projects
The necessity of trees is not a new concept. Trees and plants are essenal for healthy communies. If trees have the proper space, condions, and care, they will return fresh air, clean water, cool our cies and towns, provide economic opportunies, habitat for wildlife, and feed us. Sustainable agroforestry is so important in growing our community forests and supporng local food systems. Trees are deeply rooted in Hawaiʻi and there is such amazing work that is being done to restore trees, green space, and food self-sufficiency in our communies across Oʻahu. To read full article click here
Other CTAHR Publications & Programs
GoFish Hawai‘i – GoFish Hawai‘i – An Introduction to Commercial Scale Aquaponics
UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH CTAHR) programs GoFarm Hawai‘i and Sustainable and Organic Agricultural Program (SOAP), along with the UH Sea Grant College Program are collaborating to pilot a new educational series. The GoFish Hawai‘i workshops are designed to teach local farmers how to integrate a small-scale aquaponics system into a land-based farm operation. Although the classes are already at capacity, a recording of the first session (An Introduction to Commercial Scale Aquaponics) and resources are available to all please click here. If you are interested in learning about future sessions, feel free to join our email contact list located at the bottom of the webpage.  
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.
Mushroom Trip
Extension’s hands-on school program stokes excitement and interest in keiki during distance-learning
by Mahina Smith
What is a mushroom? Is it a fruit, or is it vegetable? Is it even a plant?
During this pandemic, it’s more important than ever to create hands-on “classroom” activities that students can do from home. Look no further than Extension educators, who’ve been able to deliver on CTAHR’s Land Grant obligations by helping students cultivate oyster mushrooms at home. Which are, in fact, a fungus – not a fruit or vegetable.
More than 100 teachers and community members joined Extension for an online webinar , learning how to leverage mushroom cultivation using teacher-crafted lessons for 150 students grades K-12. The webinar was hosted in partnership with the Center for Getting Things Started, the County of Hawaii, the Hawaii
Island School Garden Network, Opala Foods and PLACES Hawaii.
Each mushroom grow bag can yield around 3 flushes of mushrooms that students can engage with to learn STEM principles, before trying their hand at cooking with and eating their very own mushrooms! Younger students use mushrooms to learn about life-cycles, while the older students can practice collecting data and learn about complex nutrient cycles. With people feeling so disconnected, students are
invited to connect with their place, observing mushrooms in their own environment, to deduce where in their homes fungi will thrive.
While students have been making mushroom observations, teachers have been making observations as well. The kids are really excited to have something they can call their own, take care of, and discuss. The kids get creative, they note. Sometimes the best place to grow a mushroom is under a cabinet, or in a closet, or hidden in their bathroom. “With edible mushrooms being produced in as little as two weeks, students can have a fast-paced farm-to-food experience from their own homes in a year” says Kristen Jamieson, Waianae Farm to School Coordinator.
So far, more than 250 mushroom kits have been sent out statewide. Teachers are hopeful that after the pandemic, they’ll be able to implement a mushroom program in their classrooms. Two teacher participants are making plans to one day cultivate mushrooms at a larger scale for students to practice laboratory, business and culinary skills with the fruit of their efforts. ...Well, maybe the fungus of their efforts.
Beginning Farmers
Helpful articles and resources for those getting started
$5000 NYFC Young Farmer Grants
In 2020 The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) launched a new NYFC young farmer grant program to help young and beginning farmers and ranchers start up and grow their businesses.
Thanks to support from Chipotle NYFC is able to offer, the $5,000 NYFC young farmer grants to 50 young farmers and ranchers across the country. Young Farmer Grants can be used to support everyday needs from infrastructure projects, operating costs, and professional development, to off-farm expenses like childcare, housing, and student loan debt. The funds could also be used to get that extra boost to start up a new operation.
In 2021 we will be offering 50 grants to a new cohort of young farmers and ranchers–forty-five awards will go to businesses already in operation, and five to projects starting in 2021. This year we have expanded the program to be able to offer grants to farmers and ranchers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, in addition to the 50 states and Washington D.C.
These grants are available to farmers of all races and gender identities. To ensure that our grants are contributing to ending inequity in access to agricultural careers, we commit to providing a minimum of 50% of our grants to Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, and 50% of grants to female-identifying, non-binary, and trans farmers. These are not mutually exclusive identity categories and should not be understood as adding up to 100% of available grants.
The deadline to apply for these emergency loans is July 6, 2021.
FSA has a variety of additional programs to help farmers recover from the impacts of this disaster. FSA programs that do not require a disaster declaration include: 
Farmers may contact their local USDA service center for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at
Click here for website
Click here for brochure
Prepare to apply for the Micro-grants for Food Security Program
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture will award grants to eligible applicants including farmers, ranchers, food producers, hunters, home gardeners, and organizations for small-scale gardening, livestock, and food access projects. The MGFSP request for proposals will be posted this month with the deadline to submit proposals 45 days after the posting. Applicants must obtain a DUNS Number and a Certificate of Good Standing to be eligible for an award. Visit the program website and refer to the press release for more information.
Apply for the Community Food Systems Mentorship Program
The Food Systems Leadership Network is accepting applications for the Community Food Systems Mentorship Program, which provides food systems leaders with the opportunity to engage with proven experts as thought partners and coaches. The deadline to apply is Monday, January 11. Refer to the program website for more information and to apply.
Organic Update
Resources for Organic Vegetable Seedling Production
Hawai’i vegetable farmers commonly produce vegetable seedlings in celled trays
for later transplant as opposed to direct seeding into the field. This practice can improve crop establishment and yield by reducing early plant loss due to pests and diseases. Potential benefits include earlier harvest, rapid crop turnover, and reduced costs. This is especially important for organic producers, who rely on healthy seedlings to thrive in a diverse agroecosystem. Certified organic farmers have the additional requirement that the inputs and practices used must be compliant with the National Organic Program Rule. The resources below provide information to assist organic and other vegetable growers optimize their seedling production.
Organic Growing Media and Transplant Health (Purdue Webinar)
A free webinar, held on 12/2/20, shares results of research comparing seedling performance of tomato and cucurbit seedlings in commercially available organic growing media. Presenters Wenjing Guan, Lori Hoagland, Petrus Langenhoven and Liz Maynard of Purdue University answer multiple questions regarding the relationship between media characteristics, root growth and plant health. In addition, they provide an overview of organic growing media listed by OMRI. Access the webinar here
Organic Seedling Production for Small Farms (CCOF Webinar)
Another free Webinar, this one held earlier in the year (1/29/20), focuses on the management of environmental conditions to optimize germination and development of high-quality transplants, with an emphasis on system efficiencies that can improve seedling quality and your bottom line. From sowing, through germination, seedling development, to hardening off and holding strategies, all seedlings life stages are explored.  Access the webinar here
Local seedling production information for Hawai’i growers
Improved Seedling Quality with Locally Made Liquid Fertilizers.
There are many benefits to planting seedlings rather than direct seeding your field. However, how sucessful your transplants are is dependent on the health of the seedlings. This trial looked at local organic liquid fertilizer, liquid synthetic fertilizer, and water and their effects on overall seedling health in the greenhouse. Read the article here
Beneficial Use of Vermicompost in Aquaponic Vegetable Production
Commercial aquaponic producers in Hawai'i need renewable micronutrient supplement strategies that decrease their reliance on synthetic imports. This article reports the results from several trials to evaluate mature vermicompost added to seedling plugs to replace imported synthetic fertilizer. The results indicate that vermicompost produces results significant enough to indicate that it can replace synthetic fertilizer in a commercial operation. Request a copy of the article here
Upcoming Events
Managing Coffee Leaf Rust and Coffee Berry Borer
When: Thursday, January 21, 2021 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Cost: FREE! Register at: Register Here
Coffee Berry Borer 101: Integrated Pest Management Webinar
UH-CTAHR welcomes new and beginning coffee farmers to join us at these informational CBB 101 IPM workshops which will provide participants the opportunity to learn about CBB biology and the basics for controlling this pest with current IPM techniques.
When: Jan 27, 2021 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Jan 28, 2021 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Feb 9, 2021 4:30pm - 5:30pm
If you are interested in attending either webinar Register here
Certified Organic Farming Virtual Focus Group
Presented by The National Center for Appropriate Technology
This virtual focus group for certified organic producers is part of a national survey led by the Organic Farming Research Foundation and Organic Seed Alliance to identify the top challenges facing organic farmers and ranchers. After attending the virtual focus group and completing a survey, participants will receive a $25 VISA gift card. There is no cost to attend and registration is required in advance.
To register, click here

Feature Farmer
Counter Culture Organic Farm
Hale'iwa, Oahu, HI
Farmer: Rob Barreca, Daniel Leas, Laarni Gedo, and Gabe Sachter-Smith
Area under production: 40 acres
Years farming in Hawai'i: Farming full-time for the past 5 years
Crops grown, animals raised, goods & services: Diversified fruits, veggies and herbs with an increasing focus on bananas. We generally try to have a consistent, year-round supply of basil, beet, bok choy, bulb onion, carrot, chard, cilantro, dill, dry beans, eggplant, garlic chive, green onion, head cabbage, jicama, moringa, purple daikon, thyme, watermelon radish. We also produce some seasonal crops such as dragonfruit, lilikoi, and turmeric. In addition we are a sister business to Farm Link Hawaii, where the farm serves as one of a number of physical drop-off and pick-up
Fertility Management: Certified Organic, minimum/no-till, local tankage is the backbone of our fertility, supplemented with injectable water soluble OMRI listed products and cover cropping when feasible
Hot Tip: If you want to farm and don’t have your own farm, don’t rush to get one. Working for others and gaining as much experience as possible before taking on that burden will be your greatest tool.
Mahalo nui loa 
Counter Culture Organic Farm
Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education Program (WSARE)
Fresh Growth Podcast
Fresh 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.
A Whole Farm Approach to Managing Pests
This bulletin by SARE helps producers use ecological principles to design farm-wide approaches to control pests. It lays out basic ecological principles for managing pests and suggests how to apply them to real farm situations—along with cutting-edge research examples and anecdotes from farmers using such strategies in their fields. Ecological pest management principles create healthy crop environments and contribute to improved productivity on the farm or ranch. Click here to view
Cover Crop Economics
Farmers around the country are planting cover crops on millions of acres to protect and improve the soil, and the more that farmers use cover crops, the more they value this conservation practice. Cover Crop Economics: Opportunities to Improve Your Bottom Line in Row Crops looks at the economics of cover crops in corn and soybean rotations to help farmers answer that big question, when do cover crops pay? To watch the presentation on the report
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.

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Mahalo nui loa,
Eric Collier Education Specialist and Managing Editor
Amjad Ahmad & Emile Kirk Co-Reviewers
Sharon Wages & Jensen Uyeda WSARE Content Reviewers
Jari Sugano & Giselle Bryant Editors Emeritus and Reviewers
Ted Radovich Editor-in-Chief
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

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