The Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program (SOAP) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH CTAHR) remains committed to conducting annual professional development educational opportunities for agricultural professionals (AP) in cooperation with WSARE. We plan to revise and expand our website to increase access to training materials and other resources by our agricultural professionals, and improve their ability to post their own resources to the web. We also anticipate expanding our annual AP educational events
by organizing an additional workshop on effective use of online resources, including social media, to extend the capacity of our agricultural professionals to reach their stakeholders and increase adoption of sustainable agriculture (SA) technologies.
Our goal is to enhance the online capacity and impact of Hawaii’s agricultural professionals.
To realize this goal we seek to use this supplemental WSARE funding to achieve the following objectives:
1. Complete revision of SOAP webpages to new format (months 1-12),
2. Train 25 agricultural professionals in use of web-based tools including website posting, video development, newsletter distribution, social media literacy, etc. (months 3-10),
3. Quantify the impact of web based extension activities by Hawaii-based agricultural professionals (months 6-12 and beyond).
- Educational workshops for extension agents on new technology, mainly website based, training and methods to increase their effectiveness and reach for wider range of stakeholders.
- Improving the Sustainable and Organic Agriculture (SOAP) program website to increase efficiency and include additional links
- Improve and link new farmers educational programs with SOAP website to improve their ability to attract new farmers.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
To improve the skills of new and current extension agent throughout Hawaii in website based and online training technologies.
Electronic and Social Media:
Agricultural professionals are geographically separated and located across the island chain of Hawai’i. Electronic publications continue to be one of our best investments for information & technology delivery. We have made a concerted effort to provide information and handouts from WSARE/ SOAP’s educational workshops available online. However, we have recently learned that effective January 2018, all educational materials from the SOAP program (past and future) that is linked to university and college’s online website must meet ADA requirements. The SOAP Program has not been able to meet ADA requirements, to date. However, we are still assessing our options.
- WSARE funding provided partial support for the following enterprises:
- Ag Professional Training Event at Leeward Community College on August 1, 2018.
- SOAP Website: Considerable effort was put into moving the website to the university’s CMS system and modifying items to be in compliance with the university’s ADA policies.
- Hānai‘Ai: SOAP Statewide Newsletter: https://cms.ctahr.hawaii.edu/soap/HanaiAi.aspx
- Social Media:
- Twitter @SOAPHawaii: Established 2013. As of January 2019, we have 2,157 followers. https://twitter.com/SOAPHawaii
- Facebook page: Sustainable and Organic Agriculture at CTAHR. As of January 2019, we have 782 followers https://www.facebook.com/SustainAgCTAHR
- Instagram @SOAPHawaii: Established 2013. As of January 2019, we have 399 followers
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/HIsustainAg
- SurveyMonkey:WSARE funding supports our SurveyMonkey account, used by our program and available to partner programs for input and evaluation.
- Changes in Ag Professionals’ Knowledge, Intention and Action
(1) Acquisition of new knowledge and skills:
The flagship program from this Enhanced State Grant was the organization of a daylong event to bring statewide farmers, agricultural professionals, ag agency partners, Master Gardeners and other interested parties up to speed on the latest research-based practices and latest technology transfer technologies. The event included twenty-four presentations and table top demonstrations on topics ranging from new government regulations to the new agricultural technologies. Government and non profit organizations were in attendance and provided table top displays for participants. The top three highest rated topics were: resistance management, new specialty crop development, and merging agriculture with tourism.
A total of ninety-four individuals participated in the daylong event at Leeward Community College. There were forty agricultural professionals, 44 farmers and the remaining 10 participants were made up of Master gardeners, urban gardeners and other interested members of the agriculture community. Post event surveys indicated that 100% of participants rated the event as good to excellent, based on usefulness of information. Ninety one percent of participants found the Ground Support Educational Workshop to be excellent with the remaining nine percent rating the conference as good.
(2) Changes in attitudes or understanding:
One hundred percent of participants indicated that the event increased their knowledge of sustainable and organic agriculture. Ninety-four percent agreed that the conference helped them learn new ways to manage their respective agribusiness operations.
Testimonials from the event included: “Well organized, on-time. The diverse speakers and experts were great!; The variety of info, presentations; Brief talks on relevant topics; Every speaker did a great job of being succinct yet getting the heart of their message across. Thank you to all!; The number and diversity of topics; Short quick topics (15-20 minutes), ideal time; Gaining knowledge while earning certification points; Speakers were tops; The expertise of all the presenters; All presenters passionate and prepared with their materials for sharing of info; Focused on helping farmers; Well organized; The subject merging Ag with Tourism; Interacting with lots of growers and CTAHR researchers, specialists, and agents; Lots of info in 1 day, Great topics; Excellent Room and location, lots of free parking; Vegan lunch; Many speakers/topics; Quick format and broad coverage of multiple topics; Interesting presentations and good pace/length for each presentation; and credits opportunity; Broad range of topics yet focused on crop production. Thank you for including organic, sustainable methods; Great information! Very useful and practical. Good range of topics covered.; Location for today’s event good. All presentations good; Very good updates on numerous topics. Enjoyed them all; Kept on time. Short fast presentation; Variety of topics; This event was excellent!; I thought it was great!.”
3) Changes in behavior and action:
On average, growers and agricultural professionals indicated they learned 5-9 new things that could be applied to their respective agribusinesses or work in Cooperative Extension.
One hundred percent of ag professionals at the training indicated their intention to use this new knowledge, in making changes to their use of technology and tools in Cooperative Extension and other outreach work.
The multiagency event produced 24 online resources (PPT) that was converted into an online resource (PDF) which the SOAP Program host on its website below.
Educational & Outreach Activities
Additional time is needed to assess objective #3 which is evaluating the value of these resources to agricultural professionals across the state. We would also like to determine if the format of the new information is appropriate for their individual needs.
Face of SARE
Each quarter, the SOAP Program sends out its Hanai’ai newsletter which promotes the work and contributions of WSARE in Hawaii. We reach approximately 1,300 individuals and organizations via this media.
Agricultural professionals who participated in this training activity hosted and supported by this WSARE Enhanced State Grant were informed about our new and improved SOAP web-pages and were connected to our social media channels. Participants understand the role WSARE plays in supporting sustainable and organic agriculture in Hawaii.
Each year, the Hawaii Farm Bureau invited the SOAP Program to participate in the at AG Day at the Capitol event. We educate policy makers about the role WSARE plays in Hawaii supporting research, education, outreach and agricultural professional training.
Additional IT support and training was provided, on site for any participant who expressed need for such additional support. Through this grant, we have been able to support Extension agents requested in creating their own web pages and e-newsletters.
Additional IT support is also provided, using zoom and skype, for participants from different islands in Hawaii, when requested.