Kona to Guam Weaving the Farmer Chef Network

Final Report for FW08-313

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2008: $19,625.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Western
State: Guam
Principal Investigator:
Phoebe Wall
University of Guam
Co-Investigators:
Dr. L. Robert (Bob) Barber, Jr.
University of Guam Cooperative Extension Service
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Project Information

Summary:

The money from this grant provided travel funds to take a team of three farmers, a chef (the President of the Micronesian Chefs’ Association), and one Cooperative Extension Field agent to Kona, Hawaii during a week of intense activities that enhanced the farmer-chef team’s networking ability.

The activities included:

1) The subregional Western SARE conference where there were enormous networking opportunities and the chance to observe where Hawaii issues matched those addressed at the recent subregional conference held in Guam;

2) the Annual Hawaii Farmer Chef conference; and

3) the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers’ Association Annual Meeting.

The team came back with ideas and methods for interacting and working together that have been successful in Hawaii.

The Guam team held two quarterly meetings. They are continuing to work together in conducting cooperative promotional/educational activities highlighting local produce through their two organizations, the Micronesian Chefs’ Association (MCA) and the Farmers Cooperative Association of Guam (Co-Op). The quarterly meetings were replaced with select Co-Op members attending the MCA meetings quarterly for planning and local produce promotional purposes.

A six-month no-cost extension was received to provide farmer-chef education on local fruit and vegetable seasonality, and to hold a farmer-chef produce quality event and a partner planning meeting for the coming year’s farmer-chef activities. Two of these activities were completed during the period, the seasonality educational event and the planning meeting. The produce quality event was postponed until Fall of 2010.

Project Objectives:

1) Take a team of farmers, chefs and Cooperative Extension professionals from Guam to Kona, Hawaii to attend a series of meetings and tours designed to promote peer-to-peer networking.

2) Bring back ideas from this networking for use in program development (grants, collaborative events and educational programs) and actually develop programs using these ideas.

3) Serve as a catalyst to increase communication and cooperation between Guam farmers, chefs and Cooperative Extension and Tourism professionals.

Cooperators

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  • Hisamitsu Hamamoto

Research

Research results and discussion:

Two subsequently awarded grants were influenced by ideas coming from this small Professional-Producer funded project. One was an $180,000 grant (of which over $20,000 directly addresses issues and concepts identified in this project) from USDA Rural Development that was just completed. The second, a two-year grant from Western SARE for $133,697, directly carries on and develops the concepts identified in this project. Work on the Western SARE grant will be initiated in June 2010 upon the conclusion of the Rural Development Grant and this project.

Two varieties of fig trees (‘Brown Turkish’ and ‘White Kadota’) were brought to Guam and were propagated by UOG Cooperative Extension Service. These represent a potential new enterprise for Guam producers. These original plants are now being used as mother plants for propagation of cuttings for farmers. They are bearing fruits and generating large farmer interest.

Farmer-Chef relationships have been improved through all of the collaborative events and new market channels have been explored for one product (cherry tomatoes). This is a direct result of the Co-Op “What’s Fresh Now” displays at MCA meetings. At these meetings chefs suggested that, instead of trying to develop storage and delivery infrastructure, the Co-Op should partner with one of the locally-owned wholesaler distributers that the chefs currently buy from, to assemble and deliver and market “local produce.” One of the wholesalers at the meeting expressed interest. Over a several-month period, a pilot working relationship was developed for cherry tomatoes. The initial weekly poundage has doubled over the past six months, and two more products (cucumbers and eggplant) are currently being explored. This is a significant accomplishment since it has involved a long-term working relationship with specific market product specifications. This relationship and the “local produce” are being promoted by the Co-Op at tourism industry meetings.

Participation Summary

Research Outcomes

No research outcomes

Education and Outreach Outcomes

Recommendations for education and outreach:

Future Recommendations

Give restaurants vegetable and fruit seasonality calendar.

Could promote “Buy Fresh” campaign on GHRA website, in more restaurants and in the upcoming “Pastries in Paradise” cookbook.

Success Stories

No participants
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.