Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program


Volume 44 Oct | Nov | Dec 2021

The Food Provider
2021 Oct| Nov | Dec Volume 44
Sustainable & Organic Research & Outreach News
News from Hawai'i's Researchers & Extension Professionals
Tomato Virus Resistant Varieties
“a way to avoid yield loss”
Rosemary Gutierrez-Coarite, Kylie Tavares and Glenn Teves
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Both Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) and Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV) can be devastating to the production of tomatoes in Hawai'i, in some cases these viruses can cause crop losses up to 100%. Transmitted by thrips and white flies, controlling the diseases has proven to be difficult and expensive in both open field and covered operations. An effective approach to reduce production loss is to select tomato varieties that are disease resistant. This study tested 14 cherry tomato varieties and 6 beefsteak varieties with resistance to TYLCV and TSWV. This study showed that of the 14 varieties only 3 showed TYLCV symptoms.
COVID-19 Hawaii Agriculture Survey: Initial and On-going Impacts
Emilie Kirk, Shannon Sand, Joana Bloese, Rosemary Gutierrez-Coarite, James Keach, and Sothy Eng 
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
The on going pandemic has brought substantial changes to everyday life and to the agriculture industry in Hawaii. Fluctuating prices, changes in marketing, animal feed shortages, and other issues have contributed to making viability of the agriculture sector more challenging. To address these challenges, CTAHR Cooperative Extension conducted a needs assessment in April2020 (n=393) with a follow-up survey in May - August 2021 (n=116). The respondents represent all counties and industries ranging from floral and nursery to edible crops, livestock, aquaculture, forestry, and others.
Seeds of Wellbeing Project
Thao Le, Heather Greenwood-Junkermeier, & SOW Team
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers are familiar with signs of stress in plants and animals, but may be less tuned to their own stress and need for self-care. A recent study by the CDC found farmers to have the fourth highest rate of suicide when compared to educational, service, health care, and service professions (CDC, 2020). Is this true for ag producers in Hawaii? What do Hawaii ag producers say about what stresses them out, and how they deal with it? What can CTAHR do to assist? Seeds of Wellbeing (S.O.W.). S.O.W. are conducting a comprehensive needs assessment; developing educational materials/resources; and implementing a social marketing campaign.
S.O.W. is inviting agriculture professionals and their families to complete an anonymous online survey. Click here to read full article
FYI: Thao Le
Publications & Programs
Other CTAHR Publications & Programs
Livestock Wala'au Podcast
Hosted by Melelani Oshiro and Shannon Sand
University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Re-introducing the Livestock Wala’au podcast hosted by Melelani Oshiro & Shannon Sand, brought to you by the University of Hawai'i CTAHR and the Livestock Extension Group. The podcast provides educational support, information, guidance and outreach to livestock stakeholders in the state of Hawai’i. Take some time to listen to their new episode. Listen to their interview with Dr. Kai Fox, a Sea Grant Extension Agent as he discusses "GoFish" a new aquaculture program for Hawai'i. Melelani and Shanon's 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 next year 2022.  If you have any questions or comments, please send emails to: or
Federal Grant Expands Virtual “‘Ohana Garden & Grindz” Extension Program 
 A team of CTAHR nine extension agents and one specialist received a 2-year, $350,000 grant through USDA/NIFA Rural Health and Safety Education Grant to expand a virtual cooking and gardening program for intergenerational families in Hawai‘i. Led by extension agents Heather Greenwood-Junkermeier and Jennifer Hawkins, ‘Ohana Garden & Grindz offers youth a chance to work with their parents, grandparents, aunties, or uncles to develop their skills in the kitchen, garden, and household food security. The project was initially developed in 2018 to support DHHL homestead families on Molokaʻi to work as a team to increase agriculture production on their properties. 
Calling all Seed Savers!
A new CTAHR team is looking for input about how to support seed saving and seed production in Hawaii through an online needs assessment survey. Seed savers of all experience levels are invited to offer their feedback about future seed-related outreach and education, with a long-term goal to promote access to better adapted local crop varieties in Hawaii. The survey is open until October 31 and can be accessed at
For more information, please contact Emilie Kirk ( or James Keach (
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 Corner
Edible Crops Research and Extension Update
The Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program (SOAP) has posted the presentations from it’s Edible Crops Research and Extension Update held on-line November 5, 2021. Topics include:
  The New Crop Profiles Website
  Banana Planting Systems and BBTV
  Vegetable Variety Trials 
  Turmeric Updates
  Cacao Living Cages as Possible Alternative to Wire Cages
  Heirloom Tomatoes as a Potential New Crop
  Onion Thrips Management Update
  Basil Varieties Updates
To view the presentations, please visit:
Pandemic Support for Certified Organic and Transitioning Operations
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide pandemic assistance to cover certification and education expenses to agricultural producers who are certified organic or transitioning to organic. USDA will make $20 million available through the new Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) as part of USDA’s broader Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, which provides new, broader and more equitable opportunities for farmers, ranchers and producers.    
Signup for 2020 and 2021 OTECP is from now through Feb. 4, 2022. Producers apply through their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office and can also obtain one-on-one support with applications by calling 877-508-8364. For more information, visit:
In depth trainings on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for Organic Professionals
The Organic Farmers Association, the National Organic Coalition, IFOAM North America, the Accredited Certifiers Association, and the International Organic Inspectors Association are collaborating on a project to offer Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Resources for Organic Professionals.. Organic organizations have recognized the need for a training providing baseline knowledge and common language for diversity, equity, and inclusion across the organic community. This webinar on the History of Racism in US Agriculture & Organic, presented by Cambium Collective, LLC, on December 8, provided an in depth look at the history that led to the systemic racism in (organic) agriculture systems. The recording is available here:
Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program
Are you a producer or handler of agricultural commodities that are certified organic? Or, are you transitioning your operation to certified organic? You may be eligible for financial assistance to cover expenses paid during the 2020, 2021, and 2022 fiscal years through USDA’s Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP). This new program is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept OTECP applications for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 from November 8, 2021, through February 4, 2022. The application period for fiscal year 2022 applications will be announced at a later date.  
American Rescue Plan Debt Payments
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Section 1005 includes provisions for USDA to pay up to 120% of loan balances, as of January 1, 2021, for Farm Service Agency (FSA) Direct and Guaranteed Farm Loans and Farm Storage Facility Loans (FSFL) to any Socially Disadvantaged producer who has a qualifying loan with FSA. This includes producers who are one or more of the following: Black/African American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, or Pacific Islander. 
The 120% payment represents the full cost of the loan to include 100% toward loan balances as of January 1, 2021, and the 20% portion is available for tax liabilities and other fees associated with payment of the debt. Any payments by borrowers made since January 1 will be reimbursed in full.
Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program
Do you raise hogs that were sold through a negotiated, or negotiated formula, sale? You may be eligible for assistance for hogs sold through a negotiated sale from April 16, 2020, through September 1, 2020, through USDA’s Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program (SMHPP). This new program is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Farm Service Agency will accept SMHPP applications from December 15, 2021, through February 25, 2022.  
Brighter Futures for More Farmers in 2022

We want to address the inequalities in the U.S. agricultural system. For the second year, AFT and our partners are providing $5,000 Brighter Future Fund grants to help Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), women, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) farmers improve farm viability, access, transfer or to permanently protect farmland, or adopt regenerative agricultural practices.
Last year, Eloheh Farm & Seeds in Oregon used their Brighter Future Fund to finish a greenhouse for native seeds and build a farmstand for selling produce and eggs. “We are excited by the possibilities these items will bring the farm,” says Edith Woodley.
Upcoming Events
Research Update on New Taro Varieties: Mini-Conference
Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 12 noon to 2:00 p.m. HST
You are invited to attend the Research Update on New Taro Varieties: Mini-conference on Tuesday January 11 at 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. HST. New taro varieties were produced by conventional cross-pollination of taro flowers. The most promising ones were multiplied in tissue-culture, and distributed to College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources (CTAHR) Research Stations on the Islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, and Molokai. These new varieties were evaluated for yield, quality, and resistance to Taro Leaf Blight.
AgCurious Presented by GoFarm Hawai‘i
Kaua'i January 13, 2022 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Hawai'i Island January 11, 2022 at 5:30 p.m.

Participate in this virtual AgCurious session to learn more about the GoFarm Hawai‘i beginning farmer training program on Kaua‘i. There is no cost to attend and registration is required in advance. Attending this session is required to apply for the AgXposure and AgXcel training programs. Contact for more information.
GoFarm Hawai'i
Beekeeping workshops Presented by The Honeybee Education Program and Paradise Nectar Apiaries
Saturday, January 15 • 1–3 p.m.
Paradise Nectar Apiaries, Hilo, Hawai‘i Island
Instructors will open bee hives and walk participants through beekeeping practices that promote health and longevity of honeybee colonies using natural, organic, and holistic practices. Participants of all experience levels are welcome and protective wear will be provided, if needed. There is no cost to attend; however, space is limited to the first 10 registrants and pre-registration is required by contacting Jenny Bach at or 808-640-0278.
Y0126 Virtual Invasive Pest Mini-Conference
Wednesday, January 26, 2022 9:30am - 12:00pm
 The regular bimonthly Invasive Pest Mini-Conference via zoom for January 26, 2022 (Wednesday, 9:30 am - 12:00 pm HST). In this mini-conference, there will be speakers from UH (in-house) and from mainland universities. The presentations will talk about the new discoveries of parasitic wasps as well as on the most recent management strategies of some key invasive pests. This is a great opportunity to learn about the most recent and future management strategies of invasive pests.
Certified Naturally Grown Presented by Mālama Kaua‘i
Presented by Mālama Kaua‘i Friday, January 28 • Noon–1 p.m.

Participants will learn about the Certified Naturally Grown certification and a reimbursement program available for vendors supplying Mālama Kaua‘i. There is no cost to attend and registration is required in advance.
Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education Program (WSARE)
Economics of Sustainable Agriculture
While most agricultural profit models focus on maximizing yields in the short term, sustainable strategies prioritize profitable returns over the long term. SARE’s "The Economics of Sustainable Agriculture" animation describes how practices such as crop rotation and reduced tillage can improve an operation's bottom line sustainably. The newest episode in SARE’s “What is Sustainable Agriculture?” series provides a short and simple introduction to ecological practices that form the foundation of thriving and resilient farm systems.
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
The university is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution providing programs and services to the people of Hawai‘i without regard to race, sex, gender identity and expression, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, arrest and court record, sexual orientation, or status as a covered veteran. 
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