Volume 49 January | February | March 2023

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


The Food Provider

Jan | Feb | Mar 2023

Aloha Kākou


This March 2023 issue of HānaiʻAi is packed with information for the producer and the home gardener. Our feature farmer article highlights the UH Seed Labʻs history and its contributions to agriculture. Other articles include integrated pest management of Chinese Rose Beetle on Cacao seedlings, establishing cover crop mixes, Skyline Conservation Initiatives, and Hawai'iʻs perception of farming and its impact on Hawai'iʻs farmers. Additionally, browse the beginning farmer quarterly, where the author Glenn Teves discusses Taro production. You will also read informative articles on growing table grapes and non-chemical weed management in small gardens.


Please take a moment to browse new CTAHR publications, and get caught up with what is happening in the world of organic management at our Organic Corner. 


Make sure to visit the "back pages" of the newsletter as well, which feature Upcoming Workshops, Conferences, and Meetings.


You can always stay up to date with our weekly SOAP activities via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, links are below.


As always, the mission of HānaiʻAi is to provide a venue for the dissemination of science-based information to serve all of Hawaiʻi's farming community in our quest for agricultural sustainability.


On-line version of newsletter as well as archived issues available at:  Hānai'Ai Archives


Click Here to View as Webpage

Feature Farmer: University of Hawai'i Seed Lab

What is the UH Seed Lab and how did it come into being?

The UH Seed Program was established in the 1960’s by a mandate from the legislature to provide Hawaii growers with access to locally adapted seed.


Where do the seeds you sell come from?

The seeds we sell at the Seed Lab are UH varieties, and most are open pollinated plus a few hybrids that are hand pollinated. Historically the seed was grown at the CTAHR research and extension stations across the different islands, but in recent years this has been limited by reduced field staff at the stations. Some of the seed production has been contracted out to different seed companies over the years also; however, since Hawaiʻi is a relatively small market, it is sometimes difficult to find growers to contract to produce these varieties.


What makes the UH seeds so popular?

Primarily the UH varieties were developed to be resistant to pests and diseases that are important in Hawaiʻi, as well as being adapted to the unique tropical climate here.




Read the full article here.

Hot Tips: Food security is linked to seed security. 


Mahalo nui loa to Desmond Ogata, Darren Park, and Glenn Teves

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Sustainable & Organic Research &

Outreach News

News from Hawaiʻi's Researchers and Extension Professionals

 Integrated Pest Management against Chinese Rose Beetles for Cacao


Koon-Hui Wang1, Brent S. Sipes1, Amjad Ahmad2 and Jensen Uyeda2

Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences1, Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences2, University of Hawaii at Mānoa


 Hawaii represents a special niche for cacao (Theobroma cacao) production as the highest latitude in the world where cacao is grown commercially. Cacao fermentation in Hawai'i develops a unique chocolate flavor, producing high value cacao which is estimated at 2 to 4 times greater price than the other cacao traded in the world. Growing cacao in Hawai'i has its advantages, however, there are some pest that pose a huge stumbling block for cacao production in Hawai'i. The Chinese Rose Beetle can cause aggregate defoliation and is very destructive to young trees leading to death or the delay of fruiting. Researchers at the University of Hawai'i's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources have investigated multiple techniques to increase cacao production, from seedling cages to black mulch. This article investigates methods to reduce CRB damage to cacao seedlings.


Read full Article Article

FMI:Jensen Uyeda


 Akamai Cover Crop Mix: How to establish? Partial Cost Analysis and Its Benefits 


 Koon-Hui Wang1, Justin Mew1 and Joshua Silva2 

Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences1, Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences2, University of Hawaii at Mānoa 


 Cover cropping has long been recommended for soil health improvement. Among many types of cover cropping, perennial cover crops could offer further soil health benefits than short-term cover crops that require frequent soil tillage. In the tropical climates of Hawaiʻi, only few perennial cover crops can establish well, among which, perennial peanuts (Arachis pintoi) and ‘New Zealand’ white clover (Trifolium repens) are known to adapt to warmer climates. Researchers at the University of Hawai'i evaluated the use of white clover as a perennial ground cover in Hawaiʻi. 



Read full Article Article

FMI: Joshua Silva

One Native Plant at a Time: Nā Koa Manu Conservation/Skyline Conservation Initiative 

Terri Dux

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)


To those who believe one person alone cannot make a difference in the world have not met Joe. Although Joe is the first to give credit to the thousands of community volunteers and partnerships for the Pōhakuokalā Gulch Community Forest Restoration Project, it is Joe’s passion that is the heart of conservation. You can see his passion in his eyes as he points to the steep hillside of 200-year-old dead Eucalyptus globulus trees in Kula, Maui. Too heavy and expensive to remove from the steep terrain, Joe and his team have cut down thousands of leafless eucalyptus trees and placed the logs to terrace the mountainside, stabilizing the soil and nestling more than 20,000 native plants and trees in its place.


Read full article

Hawaiʻi Residentsʻ Perception of Farming, Weekly Purchases & Willingness to Spend More for Local Products

Thao Le

Department of Family and Consumer Sciences University of Hawai'i at Mānoa


Mental health/well-being is not only an individual endeavor and responsibility, but also a social and collective synergy that contributes to the quality of life across our communities. The Seeds of Wellbeing project aims to sow appreciation, respect, and care for local agricultural (ag) producers via a social marketing campaign. Ag producers care for the community by providing food – but what about our community efforts to reciprocate and extend care for them in return? This is especially important, given the alarmingly high rates of depression and suicide in this profession (Peterson et al., 2020), including among Hawai‘i farmers (Le et al., 2022). 


Read full article

FMI: Thao Le

Publications & Programs

for sustainable and organic production systems 

CTAHR Publications

Organic Corner

New Program to Assist Hawai’i Growers Transitioning to Organic

The Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) is making significant investments over five years in Hawai’i to provide technical assistance and wrap-around support for transitioning and existing organic farmers. The program is still in it’s initiation/planning phase. Once fully in place, partnerships will provide mentoring services, technical assistance, community building, and organic workforce development. Over time, technical assistance resources will be made available to all candidate and existing organic farmers through the USDA and partner websites.


The partner organizations will:

      Connect transitioning farmers with mentors for at least one year after certification.

      Build paid mentoring networks to share practical insights and advice.

      Provide community building opportunities to include:

     Train-the-mentor support

     Technical assistance

     Workshops and field days covering topics including organic production practices, certification, conservation planning, business development (including navigating the supply chain), regulations, and marketing

      Help producers overcome technical, cultural, and financial shifts during and following certification.

      Engage educational and training institutions (including crop advisors and extension agents) on organic workforce training and education and future human capital planning. 


An interactive map showing the organizations establishing the partnership network for transitioning and existing organic farmers in Hawai’i and across the continental U.S. can be found here: https://go.hawaii.edu/kth


New Videos Available from eOrganic

eOrganic is the Organic Agriculture Community of Practice (CoP) for the Extension Foundation (formerly eXtension). On the eOrganic YouTube channel you'll find videos and webinars on the science and practice of organic farming. All information is peer reviewed and checked for compliance with National Organic Program regulations.


Many of the recent postings focus on breeding vegetables for organic conditions, although soil health is also covered. A recently posted video provides a general overview of Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) as a biological solution for the management of soilborne pests and pathogens in specialty crops. Viewers learn how the ASD approach proposed today was developed, the principles and main mechanisms involved in ASD pest and pathogen suppression, and how ASD is applied.

The link to the eOrganic YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/eorganic


For New Farmers



Growing Healthy Upland Taro

Glenn I. Teves

County Extension, University of Hawaii at Mānoa 

Knowing the needs and wants of taro is important in maintaining the crop over many seasons and this starts by understanding your soil. Taking a soil sample 3-4 months before planting will allow for adjustments ahead of time so the amendments can melt into your soil and start to work its magic prior to planting.

There’s the cake and there’s the icing on the cake. The ‘cake’ are the primary nutrients required to grow a good crop including Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, and others. This can come from many sources, and it can get very expensive

since most of it is shipped in. The use of mulch can play a very important role here, including compost teas. The icing can be important inputs such as worm castings, and microbes. The icing without the cake won’t work as well as having it all. You can have your cake with frosting and eat it too!


Read the full quarterly

FMI: Glenn Teves

Growing Table Grapes in Subtropical Hawaii Using Organic Practices


by Gerry Herbert and Nancy Redfeather


Humans have been eating and cultivating grape varieties for thousands of years. Grapes have provided an essential food world-wide producing wine, juices, fresh and dried fruit, all with a high nutritional profile making it a super-food. Did you know that America is the “country of origin” of six of the eight Vitis species of wild grapes? Grapes were growing on the North American continent way before any people arrived. Wild varieties are found in all states except Alaska and Hawaii. Over the last hundred years some interest has been given to this rowdy and uncouth bunch of American species. While these grape varieties are not widely cultivated or commercialized as the vinifera varieties, they show potential for crossing with European grapes to make enjoyable juices, wines, table grapes, and raisins and deserve to be



Read full article

 Non-Chemical Weed Management in Small Gardens 


 Pono Chung1, Josh Silva2, Amjad Ahmad2, Jensen Uyeda2, Christine Hanakawa3, Tina Lau2 and Jari Sugano1 

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources 

¹Oahu County, 2Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, 3Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, 

March 2023 


 Many gardeners avoid the use of glyphosate (broad spectrum herbicide) to manage weeds in backyard gardens. At the Urban Garden Center in Pearl City, Oahu, the use of thick layers of mulch is discouraged due to the buildup and breeding of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle. Alternative weed management strategies were evaluated to reduce weeds in raised beds and surrounding garden areas. This publication is based on an initial observational evaluation of common household products; no replicated studies were conducted. 


Read full article

FMI: Jari Sugano

Grants for Students in Organic


Future Organic Farmers gives $5,000 scholarships to college and vocational students training for careers in organic. 


Future Organic Farmer grants are an investment in our future food system. The more beginning farmers who pursue organic, the more we increase organic acreage and feed our communities organic food. We hear from our Future Organic Farmer grantees that this scholarship helped them pursue organic and gave them the confidence to succeed. 


Grant amount: $5,000

Eligibility Requirements: Future Organic Farmer must:

  • Be enrolled in an educational program in the United States that will benefit their career in organic agriculture, including vocational training/certificate programs or two/four-year degrees
  • Demonstrate financial need 
  • Demonstrate a strong interest and commitment to a career in organic agriculture
  • Submit a final report at the end of the award year


Click here to apply

SARE Fellows Program now accepting applications

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Fellows program provides an immersive educational experience for participants to enhance their understanding of sustainable agriculture through broad-based training and interpersonal interactions at unique agriculture operations nationwide. Participating Fellows build professional relationships, improve their teaching and technology transfer skills, and are better prepared to develop programs that meet the needs of their local agricultural communities. Applications must be submitted by May 8, 2023.

Program Expectations

  1. Long-distance travel (air and ground) will be required by participants of this program. 
  2. Multiple overnight stays are required by participants of this program. 
  3. Program activities may include intensive days that extend beyond working hours.
  4. Collaboration and travel in groups is required.
  5. Attendance at four national study tours from 2024 to 2025 is required.
  6. Fellows are expected to attend and lead an educational session at the NACAA Professional Improvement Conference in summer of 2026. Locations vary. 
  7. SARE leadership and tour hosts will strive to accommodate specific requests to the best of our ability but may be limited by program resources.


Click here to apply

Grant Assistance


Oahu Agriculture Conservation Association provides assistance with loan/grant applications to help you advance the next step of your business.


1. We provide one-to-one support in applying for grants and loans. We can assist with:

  • Funding research
  • Comprehensive grant writing/application development
  • Review of grant applications prior to submission
  • Connecting to lenders and more


Submit our intake form assistance.

2. We connect producers to help with:

• Conservation Practices


• Branding and Marketing

• Composting

• Farm Loans

• Disaster Assistance

• Infrastructure


3. We host workshops that feature diverse partners with expertise in:

• Grant and Loan Programs

• Business and Strategic Planning

• Farm Planning

• Feasibility Assessments

• Conflict Resolution (often financial)



Click here for more information


FYI & Events

Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Divison (HIOSH) Safety & Health Workshop

Date: Friday, April 21, 2023

Time: 9:00am to 11:00noon

Location: Hawaii Preparatory Academy

65-1692 Kohala Mountain Road; Kamuela 96743

Location: Castle Lecture Hall


Click here to view the flyer

Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (WSARE)

Research & Education 2024 Call for Pre-proposals

This program involves scientists, agricultural producers, and others using interdisciplinary approaches to advance sustainable agriculture at local and regional levels. With the collaboration of producers, projects must integrate rigorous research and education aiming to advance the three components of sustainable agriculture- environmental, economic, and social- and use innovative educational outreach to disseminate new knowledge to students, producers, and stakeholders. It is expected that outcomes of funded projects will result in quantifiable benefits for producers, increase the preservation of the natural resources upon which agriculture depends, and be documented in scholarly journals and disseminated through teaching and educational activities with students, producers, and other agricultural stakeholders.


Contact: Clayton Marlow, (406) 994-5161, cmarlow@montana.edu

Download CFP



Farmer/Rancher Grant Program 2024 Call for Proposals

The Western SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant Program focuses on advancing on-farm sustainability solutions by funding innovative producer-driven research and outreach. With a Farmer/Rancher Grant, an agricultural producer serving as the main applicant and Principal Investigator (PI) works with a Technical Advisor (TA) to develop a project (1-3 years in scope) that conducts both research and outreach on a sustainable agriculture topic. With the support and guidance of the technical advisor, farmers and ranchers integrate research and education to conduct on-site experiments to address social, environmental, and economic aspects of agricultural sustainability.


Projects with 1-2 producers may apply for up to $25,000 and projects with 3 or more producers working together may apply for up to $29,900.


Contact: Cayley Eller, Program Manager, (406) 994-7349

Download CFP



Grant Writing Tutorials & Webinars

Western SARE staff have developed a series of tutorials and webinars to assist as you prepare your proposal. Please take a moment to review which ones are appropriate for the grant program to which you're applying and view them prior to finalizing your proposal.


WSARE Grant Writing Tutorials & Webinars


Fresh Growth Podcast

We talk with Tangy and Matt Bates who operate Blue Creek Livestock in Delta Junction Alaska in Episode 6. Since the beginning, Blue Creek Cattle has been building soils and herds. Tangy and Matt talk about the opportunities and challenges of farming in Alaska. Cover crops and building their own butcher shop are only two of many topics discussed in this episode.


Listen to Podcast


For more information, please see: http://www.westernsare.org/ or contact Hawai'i WSARE co-coordinators Jensen Uyeda (juyeda@hawaii.edu) and Sharon Wages (smotomur@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 Hawaiʻi's farming community.


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Mahalo nui loa,


Eric Collier Education Specialist and Managing Editor

Amjad Ahmad, Kylie Tavares & Emilie Kirk Co-Reviewers

Sharon Wages Jensen Uyeda WSARE Content Reviewers

Ted Radovich Editor-in-Chief


Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program

Cooperative Extension Service

College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources


On-line version of newsletter as well as archived issues available at:  



Hawai‘i Cooperative Extension 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.


Eric Collier | Education Specialist, Social Media & Web Manager | colliere@hawaii.edu

Copyright ©2013 University of Hawai‘i - College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Updated 4 Nov, 2021

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CTAHR Sustainable and Organic Program

at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa


Dr. Theodore Radovich


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