Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program


Volume 42: Apr | May | June 2021

The Food Provider
2021 April| May | June Volume 42
Sustainable & Organic Research & Outreach News
News from Hawai'i's Researchers & Extension Professionals
 Revitalized Degraded Soil in the Tropic with Energy Sorghum
 Roshan Paudel, Sabina Budhathoki, and Koon-Hui Wang 
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Sorghum, Sorghum bicolor, as a cover crop could accumulate more biomass, transpire less water, decompose slower, and thus contribute more to soil organic matter as compared to annual leguminous cover crops. Higher soil organic matter contributed from sorghum could also increase soil water holding capacity. This video shares the performance of different sorghum/sudangrass hybrids for their soil health benefits and plant-parasitic nematode suppressive properties.
FMI Please contact Koon-Hui Wang
Pigeon Pea: A Multipurpose N-fixing Border Crop
Hailey Catherman, Koon-Hui Wang, Roshan Paudel, Sabina Budhathoki, Christina Mogren
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Pigeon pea, Cajanus cajun, as a border crop can provide multiple benefits to an agroecosystem. When planted on the field border, it provides food and energy source for pollinators. When clipped and used in a cut-and-carry system by shredding the residues into mulch and apply on the soil surface, pigeon pea mulch enhances soil nutrient cycling and improves the structure of the soil food web by supporting more abundant soil fauna. In this video, it shows that within 2.5 months after treatment, pigeon pea mulch is showing a trend in improving soil water infiltration, reduce soil compaction and increase in crop yield compared to bare ground control. 
FMI Please contact Koon-Hui Wang
Tropical Cyclone Emergency Management for Farmers 
Kylie Tavares, Joshua Silva and Nancy Ooki
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 in Hawai‘i and the Central Pacific. Tropical cyclones (hurricanes, tropical depressions, and tropical storms) can bring heavy rains and strong winds that can cause catastrophic damage to crop fields, structures, and equipment. This fact sheet will help farmers to prepare for and develop a plan of recovery in the event Hawai'i is hit with a hurricane. To view the complete fact sheet click here.
Basil Variety Trial: Beetle Susceptibility, Flowering and Internode Traits 
Joshua Silva, Ted Radovich, Giselle Bryant, Erzsi Palko 
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resource
Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a high-value herb (Year 2019= $28 million, HDOA) that is grown year-round in Hawai‘i and primarily exported to the continental US and Canada. Within recent years, varietal research has been conducted to evaluate resistance to diseases such as basil downy mildew (Peronospora belbahrii). However, anecdotal observations also indicated susceptibility of certain varieties to damage from flower and rose beetles (Fig 1). A variety trial was conducted to investigate this further, as well as measure other agronomic traits like flowering percentage, internode length, and yield that are important for production and marketability.
"Farmers’ Perceived Needs of Extension’s Support During COVID–19 in Hawai‘i" published by members of CTAHR's Food Systems Working Group.
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

Extension plays an essential role in serving local communities. How it can support farmers during the pandemic is a novel phenomenon that necessitates careful analysis. Drawing from a survey responded by 313 farmers across Hawai'i in late April 2020, this study assesses how farmers feel Extension can support them best during the pandemic. Farmers identified five areas of needs: community engagement and networking, information sharing and education, funding, research, and local sustainability. Discussion regarding the role of Extension support during the pandemic is offered. Click here to read the full article
Publications & Programs
Other CTAHR Publications & Programs
Grow, Eat, Think Local
The GET Local initiative is a collaborative effort by the University of Hawai'i 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.
GET Local Virtual Cooking Challenge 2021
Once again, the GET Local initiative partnered with the Hawai'i State 4-H program to sponsor an online cooking contest for youth in grades 5-12. The challenge was open to all youth in the state, whether or not they were currently a 4-H member. This was the third year for the cooking challenge in Hawai‘i.
Youth were required to create and produce a video showing themselves preparing a healthy recipe that features a local commodity (plant or animal) in an educational and entertaining way. Youth were also required to incorporate food safety information, utilize good kitchen skills, share nutrition facts, and show their presentation skills.
Awards for the contest were provided by the Hoag Foundation through a donation to support Healthy Living programming within Hawai‘i 4-H.
Youth from three islands submitted entries into the contest in two different categories; Lower Division and Upper Division. The youth were responsible for selecting their own local commodities and products and recording themselves completing preparation of their dish. The final step was to submitted a photo of their finished dish. 
This year had ten winners, with Rylie Ann Hashizume (O‘ahu) winning the Upper Division for her Butter-Free Banana Bread and Jayden Hashizume (O‘ahu) winning the Lower Division with Ozoni soup. The runners up were Tyson Bolton (O‘ahu) for Local Sweet Potato Bowl, Tamara Spencer (O‘ahu) for Hawaiian Ambrosia Salad, Kaelyn Cambra (O‘ahu) for Hamburger Curry, and Cara Egami (O‘ahu) for Lava Cake, in the Upper Division. For the Lower Division, runners up were Noah de la Pena (Kaua‘i) for Palani Tacos, Zachariah Casey (O‘ahu) for a Mango Strawberry Smoothie, Violet Kato (Maui) for Papaya Breakfast Boats, and Kaylie Haro (O‘ahu) for Hawaiian Fried Rice.
The GET Local program plans to run the contest again in 2022. Videos, recipes, and more information about the contest can be found at:

Livestock Wala'au Podcast
Hosted by Melelani Oshiro, Shannon Sand
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Introducing the Livestock Wala’au podcast. Brought to you by University of Hawai'i CTAHR and the Livestock Extension Group. The goal of this podcast is to provide educational support, information, guidance and outreach to livestock stakeholders in Hawai’i. Our first episode aired on April 5th, 2021, introducing listeners to our podcast and your hosts, Melelani Oshiro & Shannon Sand. Their podcast can be accessed through their website, Livestock Wala’au and on the Livestock Extension Group Youtube channel, as well as apple podcasts, google podcasts, spotify, stitcher, and other major podcast outlets.
The next episode was scheduled air May 3rd featuring Dr. Jenee Odani. Dr. Odani discussed the importance of herd health and biosecurity.  If you have any questions or comments, please send emails to: or
Beginning Farmers
Helpful articles and resources for those getting started
Sheep and Goat Production
Sheep and goats are versatile animals and can be valuable and enjoyable additions to many farms, providing meat, milk and fiber products, as well as brush control and pasture improvement services. This 20-page book published by ATTRA, provides basic and heavily graphic introduction to sheep and goat production, animal selection, feeding, breeding and young stock, equipment and handling, and marketing.
Funding for Women-owned Small Businesses
The 8(a) Business Development program helps small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace. Check with WBCs and local assistance resources for guidance, and their Lender Match tool for finding capital.
Women-owned small businesses can also take advantage of SBA loan programs. Their partners offer advice and counseling to help choose the right path for your company.
Organic Update
Annual Organic Oversight and Enforcement Report Now Available
The National Organic Program (NOP) develops and enforces standards for organically produced agricultural products sold in the United States. This ensures a level playing field for producers and protecting consumer confidence in the integrity of the USDA Organic Seal. As part of the reporting requirements outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill, NOP recently published the 2020 annual Organic Oversight and Enforcement Report. The report includes a summary of investigations and compliance actions, an update on the work of the Organic Agricultural Product Imports Interagency Working Group, and an overview of organic import oversight. As the organic sector grows and supply chains become more complex, NOP continues to increase its oversight capacity to meet the evolving needs of the organic community. To view the report, go to:
Public comment period on proposed Origin of Livestock Rule
The National Organic Program (NOP) has announced in a Federal Register Notice the reopening of the public comment period for the Origin of Livestock proposed rule originally published in 2015. The comment period will be open until July 12, 2021.
The Origin of Livestock Notice proposes revisions to the USDA organic regulations that would change how conventional livestock are transitioned into organic production and how transitioned animals are managed in the organic system. This Notice invites comments on specific provisions that were not considered in the previous 2015 proposed rule, based on public comments to that proposed rule and comments received during the supplemental public comment period in 2019. This additional public comment period will inform USDA's development of a final rule and allows people an opportunity to submit comments on the new information. Comment here:
Kale is still King
The Organic Fresh Trends 2021 U.S. consumer survey reveals that, for the third year in a row, kale is the fresh produce item most purchased as organic. Nearly half (47%) of all kale buyers surveyed said they purchase organic kale at least periodically. Kale was also the top choice for those exclusively buying organic produce. Spinach and blueberries ranked just behind kale as produce consumers prefer to buy as organic. 
For nearly every commodity, younger shoppers (18-29) were the age group most likely to buy organic, and about half of the consumers surveyed said they would pay as much as 50% more for organic produce compared to conventional produce prices. For more information on organic produce trends, see the Packer’s Organic Fresh Trends report here:
Upcoming Events
Hawai'i Macadamia Annual Meeting and Conference
Sat July 10, 2021 at 8:30am to 3:00 pm
The Hawai'i Macadamia Nut Association (HMNA) invites you to the 53rd Annual Meeting and Conference.
Presentations will cover Integrated Pest Management, Orchard health, Post-Harvest factors to improve quality, and other topics relevant to farming , processing, and marketing macadamias in Hawai'i.
Grape Journey
If you live in Hawai’i, love table grapes, and would like to learn more about varieties that will thrive in the subtropics and how to grow them on your farm, home or school garden, you might want to come on a “grape journey” with us over the next 2 years.
Gerry Herbert from Kawanui Farm in Kona, will be conducting a SARE (Sustainable
Agriculture Research & Education) sponsored table grape research & education project and everyone is welcome to join at no cost.
This project will create a stakeholder group of interested growers and our “Through the Grapevine” Blog sharing current research & photos will be sent to you 3x a year.
There will be two virtual or in person on-farm field day Workshops. One each year.
You will also each receive a mailed copy of their Booklet “Growing Table Grapes in
Subtropical Hawaiʻi Using Organic Practices.”
There will be videos of presentations, a tropical grape resource page, and last but
certainly not least a grape repository for successful varieties making scions available to stakeholders yearly.
Check out the Kawanui Farm website and read all about the project:
If this project sounds interesting and you would like to join their email list send Gerry an email at Please tell them a little about yourself including where you grow.
Feature Farmer
Justin Hirako
Kamuela, Big Island
Farmer: Justin Hirako
Area under production: 100 acres
Years farming in Hawai'i: Farming full-time for the past 93 years
Crops grown, animals raised, goods & services:  Leafy greens, including leaf lettuce, head lettuce, romaine, head cabbage, Chinese cabbage, mustard cabbage, broccoli and daikon
Fertility Management: We grow using conventional methods. We also do test our fields for nutrient levels to better gauge our fertility. We pack and ship our crops, so we are involved in the production from start to finish.
Hot Tip: Candidly speaking, farm if it's something you are truly passionate about. It's hard and often thankless work. As in any profession, do what you love, and success will naturally follow.
Mahalo nui loa 
Justin Hirako
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 wheat growers at, Diamond S Farms, discuss the benefits they have seen using no-till practices.
Sabbatical Research and Education

Western SARE Sabbatical Grants provide an opportunity for faculty around the world to partner with farmers, ranchers, agricultural professionals, and researchers of the Western U.S. region for conducting research, education, and Extension activities. Projects focused on unexplored topics in underserved communities and understudied geographic locations are of special interest. Click here for more information
WSARE Quick Guides

SARE and state Extension services produce a variety of how-to publications, bulletins, and project reports.
Western SARE Quick Guides distill this information into a short, easy-to-digest format. They are intended as a supplement to these more extensive publications.
Click here for more information
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 Hawai'i's farming community.

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Mahalo nui loa,
Eric Collier Education Specialist and Managing Editor
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 Hawai'i 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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