Volume 15: March | April | May 2013

  • 2 August 2016
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Providing science-based information to serve Hawaii's Farming Community

Hānaiʻ Ai

The Food Provider

Mar | April | May 2012

Aloha Kākou


Aloha Kākou, welcome to the Spring 2013 issue of HānaiʻAi, the sustainable agriculture newsletter of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

Sustainable Koa production, Cotton and Ladybugs (Ladybirds, in the King's English) are all subjects of articles in this issue of HānaiʻAi. Also in this issue, Drs. Linda Cox and Wuyang Hu ask the question "What is Local Food and Who Wants What?," and agricultural professionals from across the State highlight their efforts in promoting sustainability in Hawaii's natural and agricultural ecosystems in many new publications from CTAHR.


In SARE news, Western SARE has posted the new calls for proposal, and Extension Agent Jari Sugano has joined Dr. Ted Radovich as co-coordinator of both the WSARE Hawai'i State PDP and the CTAHR Sustainable and Organic Agriculture programs. Welcome Jari!

Also, read about this issue's featured farmer Chris Robb, who farms almost 20 acres in Waimea on Hawai'i Island. And, make sure to visit the "back pages" of the newsletter for upcoming Workshops, Conferences and Meetings (there's LOTS coming!), and an extra special Organic Update.

Finally, we say Aloha and Mahalo nui loa to Dr. Linda Cox who will be leaving us as Hanai'ai co-editor and co-coordinator of SOAP. Thanks for your service Linda!

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


Feature Farmer

Chris Robb Robb Farms, Waimea, Hawaiʻi

Area under production: 14 acres

Years farming in Hawaiʻi: 30 years growing various crops: roses, orchids, coffee, and vegetables. I was a Horticulturist with MacFarms of Hawaiʻi.


Crops grown, products/services: assorted vegetables -- lettuce, broccoli, beets, leeks, fennel, onions, eggplant.


Number of employees and/or family members involved: 5 full time employees


Read the full article here


Just grow organically! Organic vegetable production can be done profitably in Hawai'i if you promote biological cycles above and below ground and control your costs.

Mahalo nui loa to Chris Robb for this article and photos, and to Ted Radovich for photos.

YouTube: Foodland Visits Robb Farms

Organic Certification: Getting Started


Read More

Growing Your Business

What is Local Food and Who Wants What?

By Dr. Linda J. Cox

and Dr. Wuyang Hu, University of Kentucky


Local food is in the marketplace more than ever. No legal definition of local food exists. This article provides an overview of research done on local food and highlights the importance of the consumers’ opinion about local food.


READ the full article here.

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

Sustainable & Organic Research &

Outreach News

News from Hawai'i's Researchers and Extension

Sustainable Practices to Boost Tree Seedling Performance

Travis Idol, email: idol@hawaii.edu and Gaoussou Diarra, email: gaoussou@hawaii.edu


Native Hawaiian trees are being raised as seedlings in nurseries across the State and the most common species by far is Acacia koa Gray, the famous koa tree. The successful establishment of seedlings after outplanting, especially in stressful sites, requires vigorous seedlings. This article summarizes nursery practices that will help ensure that seedlings will thrive and help restore our native forests.


READ the full article here.

FMI: Travis Idol, email: idol@hawaii.edu

Food Security and Economic Sustainability: Current Research in Tropical Fruit Production at the University of Hawaii

Mark Nickum, email: nickum@hawaii.edu


Dr. Nickum is currently working on Avocado, Breadfruit, and potentially on Citrus. He believes that these tropical tree fruits hold promise for import substitution in order to increase the State’s food security. This article summaries his current research projects and provides a photo essay.


READ the full article here.

FMI: Mark Nickum, email: nickum@hawaii.edu

An Overview of Survey Respondents Interested in Organic Cotton Products

Shu-Hwa Lin, email: shulin@hawaii.edu and Linda J. Cox, email: lcox@hawaii.edu


Organic cotton products occupy a growing market niche across the U.S, but are not widely marketed in Hawai‘i. The higher prices currently charged for organic cotton goods may reflect a premium marketing strategy and may leave room for additional niche markets. This article presents results from a survey of Hawai‘i consumers to investigate who prefers organic cotton and who prefers conventional cotton in order to assist retailers interested in this potential market.


READ the full article here.

FMI: Shu Hwa Lin, email: shulin@hawaii.edu

Shining bright in Waianae: How bees and reflective mulch can improve vegetable production in Hawaii

Emma Shelly and Ethel Villalobos, email: emv@hawaii.edu


In the past, small farmers across the State have relied on feral bees from wild hives to provide the pollination services needed by their vegetable crops. However, with the arrival of new bee parasites and diseases to the State, feral bee populations have largely declined, forcing farmers to managed their own apiaries to obtain pollination services. This article highlights a farm that has been successful in managing its own apiaries in order to obtain these services.


READ the full article here.

FMI: Ethel Villalobos, email: emv@hawaii.edu

Not All Lady Beetles are Created Equal:

Learn about different Types of Lady Beetles in Hawaiʻi with Special Talent

Jane Tavares, email: janemt@hawaii.edu, Koon-Hui Wang, email: koonhui@hawaii.edu, and

Jensen Uyeda email: juyeda@hawaii.edu


At least 138 species of lady beetles (Coccinellids) have been introduced into Hawaiʻi and 87 of these species are now established in the State. (Lady beetle: British; Lady bug: American. When a common name is needed, entomologists prefer ladybird beetles or lady beetles, as these insects are not true bugs.) Ladybirds come in a variety of sizes, colors and patterns and also have different preferences for their prey. This article contains pictures of many common ladybirds and provides details for those with specific feed preferences.


READ the full article here.

Lady Beetles of Hawaii (poster)

FMI: Koon-Hui Wang, email: koonhui@hawaii.edu

Evaluating Promising New Eggplant Varieties

J. Sugano, email: suganoj@ctahr.hawaii.edu; S. Fukuda, T. Radovich, email: theodore@hawaii.edu; J. Uyeda, email: juyeda@hawaii.edu; S. Migita, K. Takeda, and M. Chou


Long eggplant (Solanum melongena) cultivars are preferred by many Hawaii’s growers and consumers. Variety trials were conducted in 2008 and 2013 using a randomized complete block design with 4 reps at the Poamoho and Waimanalo Research Stations under conventional and certified organic management. Results from those trials are described in this article.


READ the full article here..

FMI: Jari Sugano, email: suganoj@ctahr.hawaii.edu

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

Publications & Programs

for sustainable and organic production systems 


Organic Update



Join Hawaii’s Organic Agriculture Discussion List

ORGANIC-L : https://listserv.hawaii.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=organic-l&A=1


Organic Certification: Getting Started

Growers who wish to market more than $5,000 of organic produce annually must be certified. A resource list for Hawaii growers who wish to become certified organic is available here.



HOFA Update

HOFA, Hawaii Organic Farming Association, is revitalized after a period of relative inactivity following HOFA getting out of the certification business in 2011 due to the high costs involved. HOFA's purpose is to educate and advocate about the benefits of organic agriculture and related issues. The new board is charting new directions including educational programs and support to offer organic farmers and others, and is working with the Kohala Center's Organic Industry Advisory Panel to identify the needs of the organic industry in Hawaii. For information on how to become a member and supporter, to stay updated about upcoming educational activities, and to network with organic farmers in the state, go to: www.hawaiiorganic.org. (Submitted by Dr. Hector Valenzuela)


Funding Renewed for Organic Cost-Share Program

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is currently accepting applications for a new round of organic certification cost-share assistance to organic farmers and organic livestock operators. Applications and information are available online at the HDOA website: 



NOP announces four new resources for: Seeds, Kelp, Livestock Food & Residue testing

After reviewing public comments, the NOP has finalized its policy in four areas:



NEW FARMERS cultivated by GoFarm Hawaii

New farmers cultivated by GoFarm Hawaii

NEW FARMERS cultivated by GoFarm Hawaii

GoFarm Hawaii, a new program at the University of Hawaii Community Colleges is growing something extremely vital at Windward Community College—commercial farmers. The program is part of C3T Hawaii--Community College, Career Training--and is funded by a $24.6 million workforce development grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.


Wetland Taro Growers: UH CTAHR Soil Health/Taro Quality Survey Collaboration

The Taro Task Force is partnering with UH CTAHR on a soil survey for statewide taro farmers to gain a better understanding of soil health and soil practices in wetland taro cultivation and its relationship with taro quality (density). The study offers free soil sampling to participating wetland taro farmers on all islands for the fields where the study gathers information. If you are interested in participating, please contact Jacqueline Meyer, CTAHR Graduate Student at jemeyer@hawaii.edu, phone: (808) 772 2379. 

The program would like to include all interested taro growers. They are looking for growers who have:

1. A wetland taro farm

2. At least 30 ohana from the same variety that can be harvested at once for yield data

3. Be willing to participate with program staff and share on farm fertilization information

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Penny Levin (email: pennysfh@hawaii.rr.com) or the other Taro Task Force members on your island. 

Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (WSARE)

The Winter 2012 issue of Simply Sustainable contains articles about the Keynote presentations from the WSARE Infrastructure Conference, funded grad student projects, a successful regional distribution project, and a no-till and cover crops workshop.

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 co-coordinators Dr. Ted Radovich (theodore@hawaii.edu) and Jari Sugano (suganoj@ctahr.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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