Volume 14: Dec 2012 | Jan | Feb 2013

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

Hānaiʻ Ai

The Food Provider

June | July | August 2012

Aloha Kākou


Happy New Year! and welcome to the Winter 2012-2013 issue of HānaiʻAi, the sustainable agriculture newsletter of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.WSARE conference


As we approach the end of the 2012-2013 Makahiki season, it's appropriate to reflect on past, present and future efforts to keep Hawai'i agriculture sustainable. Dr. Linda Cox highlights important lessons from a recent WSARE conference on strengthening agriculture's infrastructure, and our CTAHR research updates this issue focus on efforts to replace imported fertilizers with local inputs and holistic strategies such as Korean Natural Farming and aquaponics. 


You will see some other exciting ideas relative to sustainable agriculture in this issue. Specific topics include the re-released Plant Doctor app, Ultra-exotic fruit, sustainable livestock news, and the recently completed Hawai'i strategy for increased food security and food self-sufficiency. Also check out funding opportunities available for producers and agricultural professionals, and don't forget our Organic Updates, with special announcements and programs this issue directly relevant to Hawai'i certified organic growers.


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

Feature Farmer

Myrone and Carol Murakami

Murakami Farm, Kahaluʻu, Oʻahu

Murakami Farm papayas


Area under production: approximately 10 acres


Farming experience in Hawai'i: I grew up on a farm on Hawaiʻi island (Lapahoehoe). When I graduated from High School I had no intention of returning to farming. I have a BA in American History and did 3 years as session staff in the State House, 4 years as a clerk and as a claims examiner at the Department of Labor Unemployment Division, and some time as a loan interviewer at the Kona Community FCU. I got tired of pushing paper and when I was offered my wife's family farm in Kahalu'u we decided to make the move in 1981. The kids were young and we figured that we would have a built in labor force for a little while.


Crops grown/products/services: My dad had intercropped for years on his farm while the Macadamia nuts grew with certain vegetable crops, e.g. tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, pole beans, etc. The Kahalu'u operation was primarily tall apple banana with sweet potatoes that we converted to cucumber and some ti leaves. We converted to dwarf apple banana when it became available and expanded ti leaf production as market demand expanded. We phased out bananas and cucumbers as the viruses came in. We were fortunate as we were tinkering with papayas as a replacement crop at that time and participated in field trials for the Laie Gold (Rainbow x X77) that were just starting. We were 1 of 2 trial fields planted and were involved with the chief researcher, Maureen Fitch, and her staff. Our primary crops are now ti leaf and papaya.


Number of employees: Myself, my wife Carol and our son.


Read the full article here.


Carol and Myrone Murakami

Hot Tip from Murakami Farm

Take care family first; don't let the stress of production negatively impact your domestic life. Be flexible; be willing to change as the needs arise.


Mahalo nui loa to Myrone Murakami for this article and Ted Radovich for photographs.


Read More

Growing Your Business

Preparing Your Business for the Future of Agriculture

By Dr. Linda J. Cox


The recent Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Conference entitled Strengthening Agriculture’s Infrastructure provided some great suggestions for agricultural producers to prepare their businesses for the future. This article highlights some suggestions that our readers may find useful.


READ the full article here.


  • Check the WSARE Conference Website (westernsare.org/infrastructure) for PowerPoint presentations from the conference, and video and audio in January 2013.


FMI: Linda Cox, email: lcox@hawaii.edu


Sustainable & Organic Research &

Outreach News

News from Hawai'i's Researchers and Extension

Use of Korean Natural Farming for Vegetable Crop Production in Hawai‘i

Koon-Hui Wang, email: koon-hui@hawaii.edu; Mike DuPonte, email: duponte@ctahr.hawaii.edu; Kim Chang


Korean Natural Farming (KNF) involves collecting and culturing indigenous microorganisms (IMO) and reintroducing them into an established agro ecosystem. This farming approach maximizes the use of on-farm resources, recycles farm waste, and minimizes external inputs while fostering soil health and is gaining popularity among farmers in Hawai‘i that are interested in sustainable agriculture. This article will provide links to information about the basic procedure to cultivate IMO and apply this compost and preparation of foliar sprays used in KNF practice. The article also summarizes results from three field trials that compared KNF to organic farming and/or conventional farming that uses synthetic chemicals.


READ the full article here.



Hawaii’s Locally Produced Composts: Nitrogen release and effects on pak choi (Brassica rapa var. chinensis) growth

Burning on pak choi from tankage

Amjad A. Ahmad, email: alobady@hawaii.edu; Theodore J.K. Radovich, email: Theodore@hawaii.edu; and Nguyen V. Hue, email: nvhue@hawaii.edu


The cost of imported fertilizers increased from $300 to $1000 per ton between 2006 and 2008, and is expected to rise higher in the future. Locally produced organic fertilizers are needed to reduce imports and keep prices competitive. This article summarizes lab incubation and greenhouse experiments that screened locally produced organic fertilizers for their nitrogen release and effects on pak choi growth in Mollisol and Oxisol soils.


READ the full article here.


Yield and phytonutrient content of aquaponically grown pak choi (Brassica rapa, Chinensis group)

Ted Radovich, email: Theodore@hawaii.edu; Archana Pant, email: apant@hawaii.edu; Kai Fox, email: bradleyf@hawaii.edu; Clyde Tamaru, email: ctamaru@hawaii.edu; Leina'ala Bright, Jensen Uyeda, email: juyeda@hawaii.edu; Virginia Daly


Aquaponic systems have been widely adopted in Hawai'i and as adoption of the technology continues to expand, researchers are working to maximize the productivity of aquaponic systems. One of the first steps farmers can take to ensure good produce quality is variety selection. This article reports data from a pak choi variety trial conducted in the summer of 2012. The objective of this trial was to evaluate the yield and phytonutrient content of seven commercial pak choi varieties.


READ the full article here.


Hawai‘i Public Seed Initiative: Train the Trainers 2013

The Hawai‘i Public Seed Initiative held its "Seed Production Basics for Farmers and Gardeners," workshops on Kaua‘i and on O‘ahu, Maui, Moloka‘i and Hawai‘i Island during 2011-12. The focus of the second year program for 2013 will be a “Train the Trainers Course" consisting of an advanced 3 day workshop. This article describes this important project and the workshop planned for 2013.


READ the full article here.


For more information about CTAHR's research, visit our Office of Research Webpage.

Publications & Programs

for sustainable and organic production systems 


2012 CTAHR Impact Report Q3 Third Quarter

  • Hawai’i Forest Stewards Program
  • Moloka‘i Native Hawaiian Beginning Farmer Program
  • CTAHR Pre-Vet Club

Kaua'i Livestock News Fall/Winter 2012 (Matt Stevenson)



Organic Update

Organic No-Till Farming with Roller Crimper

Koon-Hui Wang and Theodore Radovich

Conservation tillage (CT) or no-tillage (NT) farming practices can be used to reduce the negative impacts of conventional tillage such as soil erosion and conserve soil moisture. Organic no-till was assumed to be impossible until 2003, when Rodale Institute's Farm Manager Jeff Moyer and neighbor John Brubaker designed and built “Roller Crimper” for the job. This article explains how a roller crimper works.


READ the full article here.


Kohala Center Specialty Crop Block Grant: Supporting Hawai‘i's Organic Industry with a Program Office


The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer’s Guide to Vegetable Seed Production

available now from Chelsea Green. http://media.chelseagreen.com/the-organic-seed-grower/


Farmers’ Guide to Organic Contracts

written to help farmers make informed decisions at every stage of the contract relationship (available for free download at http://www.flaginc.org/) available from Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG).


2012 USDA Organic Resource Guide

The USDA published a new Organic Resource Guide, which provides an overview of USDA programs and services available to the public that support organic agriculture. Find the guide at http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5100093



"The Plant Doctor" app for iPhones and iPad is back, and diagnoses are free! 


The app enables you to send photos and text to Dr. Scot Nelson from anywhere on the planet having an available connection. Coming to Android in January 2013.


Ultra-Exotic Fruit Series connects Growers with Grocers, Consumers

Have you ever bit into a bilimbi? Or juiced jaboticaba? Known as ultra-exotic fruits, these not-so-well-known edibles are among a growing number of odd fruits under cultivation in the islands.

 READ the announcement here.


Hawaii’s Strategy for Increased Food Security and Food Self-SufficiencyHawai'i DBET and DOA "Increased Food Security and Sufficiency Strategy" (October 2012)


Cover Crop Rotations for the Cattle Industry, Robert Cherry, Flying R Livestock and Alika Napier, Pioneer, READ the announcement here.


USDA National Soil Health Initiative



Participate in the upcoming USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service 2012 Census of Agriculture, Jolene Lau, USDA NRCS,

 READ the announcement here.


USDA Held Three Public Meetings for HWFR Claims Process: If you are a Hispanic and/or Female Farmer or Rancher (HWFR), there may be compensation available to you if you feel that you have been discriminated against by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). On November 7-8, 2012, the Executive Directors (Diane Ley, Angel Figueroa, and Chris Kanazawa) of three USDA agencies led public meetings in Hilo, Waimea, and Kona. The objective of the meeting was to increase awareness to potential claimants about the March 25, 2013 deadline to register for a claims package. At all three Hawaii County public meetings, participants were able to get more information about the programs and services available from the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development. For details about the claims process, visit www.farmerclaims.gov or call toll free (888) 508-4429. USDA is an equal opportunity employer, provider, and lender.


Young Farmer Sustainability Award

Are you a grower, 40 years or younger, who demonstrates sustainability on your farm? If so, Bayer CropScience is looking for you! Now through Jan. 24, 2013, you can apply for the crop science company’s third annual Young Farmer Sustainability Award.

The 2013 winner will be selected by a group of industry experts and Bayer leaders, and will be recognized in February at the 2013 Ag Issues Forum held in conjunction with Commodity Classic in Orlando, FL. In addition to the trip, he or she will win a new laptop computer and an all-expense paid trip to a Farm Journal learning event during 2013.

Learn more: http://bit.ly/RaPVzh


Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (WSARE)

WSARE sponsored three faculty to attend the WSARE conference on Strengthening Agriculture’s Infrastructure: Dr. Linda Cox, Matt Stevenson and Glen Fukumoto. Read more about the conference in our lead article by Dr. Linda Cox. Matt Stevenson also has an article about the event in his newsletter Kaua'i Livestock News Fall/Winter 2012.


A slide show of the conference is available now and soon presentations, video, audio and other material will be posted at their website.


The Fall issue of Simply Sustainable highlights water usage, low-water use crops,

building healthy regional food systems, among other topics.


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: http://www.westernsare.org/ or contact Hawai'i 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.


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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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