Seven Trees, Seven Practices: Demonstrating Agroforestry in the Western Pacific

Final report for OW15-031

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2015: $47,899.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2018
Grant Recipient: University of Guam
Region: Western
State: Guam
Principal Investigator:
Dr. L. Robert (Bob) Barber, Jr.
University of Guam Cooperative Extension Service
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Project Information

Abstract:

In 2010 the Chamorro Land Trust Commission (CLTC) and University of Guam Cooperative Extension Services (UOG-CES) sampled 10% of the agricultural leaseholders and found that more than half were non-compliant with agricultural production conditions. Leaseholders said in surveys that they could not farm their land due to: no water, poor rocky soils, lack of weed control, sloping land, second growth forest or grasslands cover, limited time/labor, and lack of equipment and capital. Auditors also found that leaseholders did not have traditional subsistence agroforestry or commercial production knowledge.  Therefore, they are unfamiliar with how small subsistence/market garden hybrid and agroforestry/cash crop production systems incorporating soil and water conservation practice could address their perceived production constraints. 

Guam’s hospitality industry’s growing preference for locally sourced produce has increased demand for tropical fruit. But despite the demand, existing farmers are reluctant to invest time and space to fruit trees because they would receive no income during the years before a tree becomes productive.  Arable land on Guam is very expensive and scarce, yet with a climate suitable for year-round production and high prices for local fruit and vegetables, farming is profitable on less than ideal land. For many small subsistence/small market farms land is not the only constraint. These systems must also address how much and what kind of labor is available. The micro-plot concept, defined as 1/10 acre or 400 square meters, with a forest market garden approach is used in this project to demonstrate growing the farm one micro-plot at a time. This a sustainable agriculture model that will provide biodiversity, efficiency, and increase in household income by reduced produce purchases and sales of excess produce.

 “Seven Trees, Seven Practices” was planned as a two-year agroforestry (forest garden) demonstration and education project. The project was extended to almost four years with no-cost extensions. It leveraged a peer education model projected to reach up to 140 total workshop attendees. Producers establish forest garden micro-plots by planting three of seven fast-to-fruit trees (breadfruit, key lime, fig, calamansi, soursop, mulberry, pomegranate) and implement three of the seven core USDA NRCS EQIP-approved agroforestry/conservation practices (fruit tree windbreaks, nitrogen fixing hedgerows, sheet mulching/mulching, vegetative filter strips, cover crops, contour farming practices and drip irrigation.) 

The seven fast-to-fruit trees were selected to rapidly meet local restaurants’ demand for local tropical fruit and provide faster returns. In the spaces between the young fruit trees, intermediate term (1.5-5 year)/perennial and high value desert fruits, leafy greens, and root crops such as bananas, papayas, spinach tree, and cassava are planted.  Then in between these intermediate term crops, short term crops like lemongrass, Malabar and Ceylon spinach, Chinese kale, Okinawan spinach, pechay, cucumber, eggplant, tomato, bunch onion, basil, taro, long bean, wing bean, pepper, okra and sweet potato are planted so that all space is filled within the micro plot. These annual plants are under crop rotation with other vegetables, leafy greens and herbs until the fruit tree canopy fills the space.  Other trees maybe incorporated and conservation practices followed to address specific farmer/site concerns.

Curriculum (Extension publications, power point presentation, and other handouts) was developed and farmer workshops were held throughout the project period.  During the dry and rain season of 2016, 2017 and 2018 they were held on campus using the cliff line demonstration plot.  In 2018 workshops were held both on campus and in the farmer micro-plots allowing participants to see the seven fast to fruit trees and seven conservation practices in the farmer fields and learn from the core farmer team.

Project Objectives:

The updated objectives/ performance targets and activities are as follows:

1 a. Establish on the UOG campus on a cliff line site, where feral pigs are a problem, a demonstration micro-plot for training and workshops.  This demonstration will include fencing for protection from feral pigs. 

1 b.  Create and formalize demonstration farm plans with the five producers in the initial cohort and start plant propagation. The PI and Project Manager will conduct site visits to assess and discuss the potential micro-plot site with each producer. The Project Manager will coordinate planning meetings to discuss overall constraints, plant materials, and conservation practices. Each producer will select tree species, agroforestry, and conservation practices. 

2. Implement agroforestry demonstration micro-plots with five producers in the initial cohort.  UOG will distribute plant materials to initial producers. Initial producers will begin tree planting from the seedlings/cuttings and institute conservation practices. The Project Manager will implement a monitoring process by which all parties can document and learn from successes and challenges of the demonstration plots.

3. Formalize the mentorship relationship between the initial and secondary cohorts. Once the initial farmer plots are established the PI and Project Manager will facilitate a mentorship process, coordinating farm workshops in the initial farmer plots targeting the secondary cohort. Initial producers will recruit new participants and explain their plot plans, give hands-on practice, and conduct demonstrations.

4. Provide outreach educational opportunities for a secondary producer cohort, comprised of three to five farmers or community groups, in the establishment of their own agroforestry micro-plots, leveraging the mentorship and workshop involvement of the primary producers.  Desired behavior outcome is for members of the secondary participants/cohort to start their own micro-plot plans and establish their sites.

5. To meet objective 4 develop seven workshops around key agroforestry practices, targeting the general public. The PI has a curriculum (PowerPoint’s) on several of the conservation practices from prior New Farmer workshops. The Project Manager will oversee a review process by which initial producers can provide input on revisions; the Project Manager will then finalize it. Additionally, the PI, Project Manager, and the initial producer cohort will develop, and write, new educational materials about the fast-to-fruit trees. Educational materials will include Power Point presentations, Extension publications, and resource lists. The secondary producer group will provide feedback on the educational materials targeting beginning to intermediate-level farmers.

6.  Implement seven workshops around key agroforestry practices and seven fast to fruit trees. These workshops will occur throughout the second year. The workshop format will include presentations, hands-on practice, and site visits/on farm workshops. Workshop participants will be recruited through networks such as the Northern and Southern Soil and Water Conservation District voter rolls, Chamorro Land Trust leaseholder lists, the Cooperative Extension client base, and networks of the secondary producer groups.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Dr. Marilyn Salas
  • Jesse Cruz
  • Bill McDonald
  • Vicente Velasquez
  • Mike Ady

Research

Materials and methods:

This project explores possible answers to the question:
What are the appropriate intensive farming system components on agroforestry micro-plots to develop economically significant (purchased food substitution, market gardening) outputs for a tropical island environment?

The original planned process steps were:

Establish an on campus agroforestry micro-plot demonstration to use in the educational outreach efforts of the project.

Meet with and develop plans for the initial five producers.

Establish these producer’s agroforestry micro-plots using recommended fruits and conservation practices including providing planting materials and assistance.

Develop workshop materials and conduct workshops on the soil and water conservation practices and seven fast to fruit trees.  Then develop Extension fact sheets on these practices and trees for dissemination.

Conduct workshops in the farmer’s fields to promote additional farmers starting agroforestry micro-plots.  Survey original five farmer participants and workshop participants on actions taken, what worked and suggested next steps and revisions. 

The methods and activities that occurred under this grant by project's adapted objectives follow:

1 a. Establish on the UOG campus on a cliff line site, where feral pigs are a problem, a demonstration micro-plot for training and workshops.  This demonstration will include fencing for protection from feral pigs.

During 2016, 2016, and 2017 we established an on campus micro-plot forest garden demonstration site (described below) for use in workshops/training. During the 2017 dry season the on campus nursery propagated plant materials in preparation for the 2017 rain season as part of this site's activities.  On the UOG campus at the cliff line site feral pigs are a problem, much like on our cooperating farms.  So in the project we fenced all the micro-plots where this is the case. This site is now well established and continuing to be expanded with workshop participants' and students' labor.

The on campus demonstration micro-plot has fruit trees from all the selected seven species: breadfruit, key lime, soursop, calamansi, pomegranate, mulberry and fig.  We also planted sweetsop, ice cream bean tree, avocado, jackfruit, and leafy greens producers such as moringa and tree spinach.  In the spaces between the young fruit trees, intermediate/perennial (1.5-5 year) high value desert fruits, leafy greens, and root crops such as bananas, papayas, spinach tree, and cassava were planted.  Then in between these intermediate crops, short term crops like lemongrass, Malabar/ceylon spinach, chinese kale, okinawan spinach, pechay, cucumber, eggplant, tomato, bunch onion, basil, taro, long bean, wing bean, pepper, okra and sweet potato have been planted so that all space is filled within the micro plot. These annual plants are under crop rotation with other vegetables, leafy greens and herbs until the fruit tree canopy fills the space.  During 2017, as the initial tree canopy closed, we established a second micro plot adjacent to the first.  This demonstrated: 1) That small plots' fruit trees can be established while producing short term crops at the same time so that there is immediate income generated on the plots and; 2) How to grow an agro-forest farm, one micro-plot at a time. From January to December 2017 on the 2,000 sq. ft. on campus agro-forest micro-plot more than 1,500 pounds of fruit and vegetables were harvested.  This included over 440 pounds of vegetables (long bean, cucumber, eggplant, okra, green onions, hot pepper, kale and lettuce) and more than 1,060 pounds of fruits (breadfruit, papaya, banana, and jackfruit.)

The original demonstration micro-plot was fenced in utilizing t-posts, and galvanized (2×4) wire fencing for protection from feral pigs. So far this has been successful in preventing further feral pig damage.  Key conservation practices in place are sheet mulching, mulching, composting, drip irrigation, contour filter strips, fruit tree windbreaks, cover crop/living mulch, and nitrogen fixing/mulch producing contour hedgerows.

1 b.  Create and formalize demonstration farm plans with the five producers in the initial cohort and start plant propagation. The PI and Project Manager will conduct site visits to assess and discuss the potential micro-plot site with each producer. The Project Manager will coordinate planning meetings to discuss overall constraints, plant materials, and conservation practices. Each producer will select tree species, agroforestry, and conservation practices. 

A meeting was held in December 2015 between the PI, Cooperative Extension staff, and the initial cohort to discuss the program timeline, issues, farmer preferences, and the grant's parameters.  During the rain season of 2016 and dry season of 2017, meetings were held with both original and replacement pilot producers to identify micro-plot location, develop planting and conservation plans , and start the micro-plots. Farmer additions were made to the initial cohort. Three farmers chose to retire from active farming and asked to be removed from the program, but prior to leaving they recruited 3 additional farmers (including 1 US military veteran). Tom Camacho, Linda Reyes, and Angie Mendiola stepped down and were replaced with: Eugeino S. Aguon, Jesse R. Cruz, and Mike Ady.

The most difficult aspect of this project has been keeping the core farmers when the magnitude of the project tasks are clear to them.  Initially they like the idea of the grant and the support provided but once several realized the amount of work expected of them they withdrew.  This has been the challenge.  But we finally have a group that are committed to the concept of establishing agroforestry micro-plots on their land.

Euginio S. Aguon was replaced during the rain season of 2018 with Marilyn Salas and Vicente Velasques. Mike Ady was replaced with Jesse Garcia who acquired Mike Ady’s farm. Currently at the close of the project, our active producers are Marilynn Salas, Vincente Velasquez, Jesse Garcia, Bill McDonald, and Jesse R. Cruz.

2. Implement agroforestry demonstration micro-plots with five producers in the initial cohort.  UOG will distribute plant materials to initial producers. Initial producers will begin tree planting from the seedlings/cuttings and institute conservation practices. The Project Manager will implement a monitoring process by which all parties can document and learn from successes and challenges of the demonstration plots.

During the 2017 rain season 2 participant farmers', Mike Ady and Bill McDonald, permanent and intermediate plantings were established.  A 3rd farmer Jesse Cruz identified plot location and started the planning process.  

In 2017, PI and project manager held planning meetings and site assessments with farmer Mike Ady at Camp Witek Farm in Yona. Purchase orders were processed immediately to begin procuring necessary materials and supplies for the farm. Farmer opted to utilize student workers in conjunction with farm help rather than purchasing fencing materials. During this period, project manager started stockpiling bags of shredded paper that was delivered to the UOG demonstration site donated by UOG maintenance, Guam G4S security, and Guam Community College. Project manager also spoke with Mike Ady who owns an office furniture business to begin saving cardboard boxes.  Mike was able to deliver several loads of cardboard to Camp Witek farm. Mike has provided most of the cardboard for the other 7 Trees demonstration plots as well.

In 2017, student workers and farm help performed tasks such as marking the demonstration site (40′ x 50′), clearing large Leucaena trees, transporting shredded paper, and removing tape and staples from the cardboard. During this time, compost delivery was delayed as a result of the company’s sifting machinery was down.  Once the compost was delivered, student workers began sheet mulching the entire plot as the first conservation practice implemented on the farm. Sheet mulching activities involved: spreading compost and materials high in nitrogen throughout the field, laying out cardboard as a weed barrier, spreading shredded paper above the cardboard as mulch, and watering each layer thoroughly. Fruit trees were planted immediately after the sheet mulch step was completed. Fruit trees planted were jack fruit, calamansi, soursop, mulberry, bear’s lime, fig, and sweetsop. Existing fruit trees on the plot were calamansi and coffee. During 2018 rain season, intermediate and short-term crops were planted and drip irrigation was installed.

Also in 2017, the PI and project manager held planning meetings and site assessment with farmer Bill McDonald in Yigo. Bill had his labor cut grass and compost was delivered immediately after.  Student workers began transporting materials, began sheet mulching, and assisted in planting fruit trees, during the 2017 rain season.

In September and October 2018, the final three farmer demonstration plots were established using student labor. In the northern village of Dededo Vicente Velasquez, in the southern villages of Umatac Dr. Marilyn Salas, and Piti Jesse Cruz. The 5 farmer plots offer different planting practices and growing conditions. 1. Bill McDonald’s 50 ft. x 40 ft. plot is not only flat it is in the well populated northern village of Dededo so, peri_urban in nature.  2. Vicente Velasquez’s 50 ft. x 40. ft plot is also flat, but it is in a traditional farm area, and within his existing farm, in Dededo. 3. Mike Ady’s flat 50 ft. x 40 ft. plot is also in a peri-urban are of the southern village of Yona, and represents an enhancement of his agroforestry system. 4. Dr. Marilyn Salas’s 30 ft. x 70 ft. plot is on undeveloped badlands located across a stream from her current agro-forestry homesite in a sparsely populated area of the southern village of Umatac.  5. Jesse Cruz’s 20 ft. x 100 ft. plot is on sloping land in his existing farm in the village of Piti.

Fruit tree propagation for project participants was a continuous project output of the on-campus demonstration site's nursery and is still on-going.  Fruit tree species include: breadfruit, fig, mulberry, jackfruit, soursop, calamansi, key lime, pomegranate, papaya, and banana.  Other plants are propagated for conservation practices like sweet potato, Malabar/Ceylon spinach (groundcover/living mulch), moringa (contour hedgerows), and lemongrass (vegetative filter strip).  Once the participants plots were ready (fruit and intermediate crops planted and area sheet mulched) short term high value vegetable crop seedlings were provided as well. These include but are not limited to: eggplant, hot pepper, cucumber, green bunching onions, long bean, wing bean, and various leafy greens and herbs.

3. Formalize the mentorship relationship between the initial and secondary cohorts. Once the initial farmer plots are established the PI and Project Manager will facilitate a mentorship process, coordinating farm workshops in the initial farmer plots targeting the secondary cohort. Initial producers will recruit new participants and explain their plot plans, give hands-on practice, and conduct demonstrations.

Mike Ady transferred his plot to Jesse Garcia. Marilynn Salas is actively mentoring a group of extended family members.  All producers assisted in recruiting workshop participants.  All hosted workshop on their farms where they discussed their approach and answered questions.  All have expressed willingness to host future workshops.

4. Provide outreach educational opportunities for a secondary producer cohort, comprised of three to five farmers or community groups, in the establishment of their own agroforestry micro-plots, leveraging the mentorship and workshop involvement of the primary producers.  Desired behavior outcome is for members of the secondary participants/cohort to start their own micro-plot plans and establish their sites.

On November 17th, 2018 a workshop and farm tour was held for a group of 25 participants led by Jesse Bamba, Roland Quitugua, and Phoebe Wall.  After visiting the UOG on campus micro-plot forest gardening demonstration site, the class went on to tour three of the five farm demonstration micro-plots around the island. The first plot is was Mike Ady's peri-urban site in the southern village of Yona.  Mr. Ady chose figs, calamansi, and soursop as his three fast growing fruit trees.  His intermediate term crops are papaya and bananas.  Eggplant, pepper, and tomato were his short term crops. The three practices that he chose were sheet mulching/mulching using cardboard and shredded paper, drip irrigation, and vegetative strips of lemon grass.

The second farm demonstration micro-plot visited is owned by Dr. Marilyn Salas.  It is located on her existing agroforest farm in an undeveloped portion across a stream in the southern village of Umatac. The flat 30 ft. x 70 ft. plot is surrounded by tall trees, steep hills and was fenced in utilizing t-posts, and galvanized (2×4) wire fencing for protection from feral pigs. Dr. Salas chose figs, calamansi, and soursop as her three fast growing fruit trees and papaya for her intermediate crop.  Eggplant, pepper, and tomato were her initial short term crops. The three practices that she chose were sheet mulching/mulching using cardboard and shredded paper, drip irrigation, and vegetative strips of lemon grass.

After leaving Dr. Salas’ farm the group proceeded to the village of Piti where they visited the third farm demonstration micro-plot owned by Jesse Cruz. Mr. Cruz’s micro-plot is a slender 20 ft. x 100 ft. area that is on sloping land, below his house. Mr. Cruz chose sweetsop, calamansi, and soursop as his three fast growing fruit trees and eggplant, pepper, and tomato for his short term crops. The practices that he chose were sheet mulching/mulching using cardboard and shredded paper, drip irrigation, vegetative strips of lemon grass, and contour plantings.

On November 24th, 2018 the “Seven Trees, Seven Practices” group of 23 people led by Jesse Bamba and Pheobe Wall visited the fourth farm demonstration micro-plot (50 ft. x 40 ft.) owned by Vicente Velasquez.  It is in a traditional farm area in the northern village of Dededo. Mr. Velasquez chose mulberry, calamansi, and sweetsop as his three fast growing fruit trees and eggplant, pepper, and tomato for his short term crops. The three practices that he chose were sheet mulching/mulching using cardboard and shredded paper, drip irrigation, and vegetative strips of lemon grass.

After leaving Mr. Velasquez’s farm the group proceeded to the fifth farm demonstration micro-plot owned by Bill McDonald. Mr. McDonald’s 50 ft. x 40 ft. plot is a peri-urban site in the same northern village of Dededo. Mr. McDonald chose sweetsop, calamansi, and fig as his three fast growing fruit trees, papaya is his intermediate crop, and eggplant, hot pepper, and tomato were his initial short term crops. The practices that he chose were sheet mulching/mulching using cardboard and shredded paper, drip irrigation, and vegetative strips of lemon grass.

The last farm visited by the group was the University of Guam Triton farm. The Triton farm has the oldest commercial calamansi orchard on Guam. The orchard is 15 years old and is part of a two-acre model farm.  These tours allowed the participants to see micro-plots in: peri-urban settings; within traditional row crop farms; and within established agroforests.  They also gave the farmers opportunities to share, with the participants,  their experiences establishing these vertically and temporally integrated micro-plots across a wide range of environments.  The workshop participants were able to ask questions get ideas from the farms they visited throughout the island.            

5. To meet objective 4 develop seven workshops around key agroforestry practices, targeting the general public. The PI has a curriculum (PowerPoint’s) on several of the conservation practices from prior New Farmer workshops. The Project Manager will oversee a review process by which initial producers can provide input on revisions; the Project Manager will then finalize it. Additionally, the PI, Project Manager, and the initial producer cohort will develop, and write, new educational materials about the fast-to-fruit trees. Educational materials will include Power Point presentations, Extension publications, and resource lists. The secondary producer group will provide feedback on the educational materials targeting beginning to intermediate-level farmers.

New Extension publication completed/under review or in draft working form include: Windbreak Benefits, Design, and Management (completed), Sheet Mulching (completed), Drip Irrigation Basics (in review), Mulberry (in review), Fig (in review), Soursop (in review), Breadfruit (draft), Calamasi (draft), Pomegranate (draft).  Powerpoint developed or adapted for the project include: Windbreaks, Sheet Mulching, Micro-Irrigation, Backyard Nursery and Propagation by Cuttings and Division, Contour A-Frame, Nitrogen Fixing Trees and Alley Cropping, Living Mulch, and 7 Fast to Fruit Trees.  In addition to these a host of publications and powerpoints developed in earlier years under the New and Veteran Farmer Program and Information resources from other WSARE projects and regional land grants were used during the trainings.

6.  Implement seven workshops around key agroforestry practices and seven fast to fruit trees. These workshops will occur throughout the second year. The workshop format will include presentations, hands-on practice, and site visits/on farm workshops. Workshop participants will be recruited through networks such as the Northern and Southern Soil and Water Conservation District voter rolls, Chamorro Land Trust leaseholder lists, the Cooperative Extension client base, and networks of the secondary producer groups.

From the period of November 2015 to January 2016 nine Saturday morning trainings (4-5 hours each) and one Saturday morning farm tour were co-delivered by UOG CE&O project team and Small Business Development Center (SBDC) with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) field staff, Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Development Service (ADS), and Soil and Western Conservation Districts (SWCDs) participating. This series co-leveraged funding with a Western Extension Risk Management Education Center (ERME) grant that funded the development and delivery of the farm planning portions of the curriculum.  The ERME grant also utilized many of the production materials from the Seven Trees project in later trainings under its funding, extending the reach of these materials.  The dates these workshops were held were November 7, 14, 21, 28 (farm tour), December 12, 19, January 9, 16, 23, and 30.  This workshop series provided approximately 12 hours of farm management and planning topics combined with combined with approximately 26 hours of production practices, and soil and water conservation practices, and agroforestry species topics (Seven Trees’s fun hands on topics that severed as the hook to keep attendance/retention high.)  The curriculum developed new materials to support the seven tree project goals and adapted relevant topics from the existing WSARE supported UOG CE&O New and Veteran Farmer program curriculum materials.  

Delivery of the farm planning and management topics was by the PI and the Guam Small Business Development Center (SBDC) staff, the other topics by the P.I. and the Seven Trees program’s agricultural professional partners.  During the first three the workshop the farm planning materials portion focused on identifying values, goals, resource identification, production style, basic record generation, and initial farm and environmental plan components.  The 4th Saturday was a farm tour of one of the most successful farmers on Guam the tour focused on his use of the program’s production practices in his commercial production setting.  The remaining five Saturdays focused on developing production/conservation plans, supporting practices and species.  Each Saturday was approximately divided between ½ classroom and ½ hands on activities.  The final Saturday consisted of an overview of the materials covered, questions and answers, and an awards ceremony/potluck lunch.  A total of 315 participants attended the workshops over the course of the 10 Saturdays, including 10 agricultural professionals who routinely attended gaining training on farm resource identification, agroforestry plot planning and the Seven Trees project in addition to their delivering training on production and conservation practices.  From March 14th to March 25th one on one sessions were held, by the P.I. and a SBDC counselor with 8 farm families that actually wanted more one on one assistance in developing their farm plans.

From September to November 2016 (rain season), using the Seven Trees on-campus micro-plot demonstration was used in other grant funded workshops on Saturday mornings.  The classes were held in the nearby UOG Agriculture and Life Science large classroom and at the Seven Trees micro-plot demonstration site for the hands-on portion of each Saturday workshop.  Many of the materials from the Seven Trees project were used in these workshops.

From the period of September 30 to November 25, 2017 nine Saturday morning trainings (4-5 hours each) were again co-delivered by UOG CE&O and SBDC with the NRCS field staff, Department of Agriculture ADS, Chamorro Land Trust, Department of Land Management, and SWCD participating.  The funding was leveraged with local funds, and the Western Extension Risk Management Education Center grant.  The dates these were held were September 30, October 7, 14, 21, and 28, November 4, 11, 18, and 25.  These workshops provided approximately 8 weeks of farm management and planning topics combined with  approximately 20 hours of production practices, soil and water conservation practices, and agroforestry species topics (Seven Trees’s fun hands on topics that severed as the hook to keep attendance/retention high.)  The curriculum enhanced both the new materials supporting the seven tree project goals and materials from the existing WSARE supported UOG CE&O New and Veteran Farmer program.  

Our participants ranged from subsistence gardeners, market gardeners, to full time farmers. But the lesson we learned is that the vast majority of the participants want to become subsistence or market garden producers not full time commercial.  This round our Agricultural professional team was made up members of the UOG CE&O and WPTRC (AES), SWCD, FSA, Guam DoAg, NRCS, SBDC, Farmer Cooperative Association of Guam (FCAG), Agricultural consultants, Chamorro Land Trust agents, Department of Land Management agents, and Farm to Table staff.

Attendance for this workshop series was:

September 30, 2017 (30 producers, 11 Ag professionals); October 7, 2017 (26 producers) 8 Ag professionals); October 14, 2017 (15 producers, 7 Ag professionals); October 21, 2017 (27 producers, 7 Ag professionals); October 28, 2017 (20 producers, 4 Ag professionals); November 4, 2017 (18 producers, 3 Ag professionals); November 11, 2017 (13 producers, 2 Ag professionals); November 18, 2017 (16 producers, 3 Ag professionals); November 25, 2017 (15 producers, 1 Ag professional.)

A significant local success was the active engagement and participation of the professionals from the Chamorro Land Trust Commission and Department of Land Management.  This was largely due to the inclusion of the farm and environment planning components in the program, but gave them training in appropriate production practices for their target clientele as well.

On November 10th, 2018 a two-hour on-campus workshop introduced 27 participants to the seven fast producing fruit trees and the seven conservation practices that the “Seven Trees, Seven Practices” project addresses. The two-hour class was conducted by three Cooperative Extension & Outreach agriculture professionals, Jesse Bamba, Joseph Tuquero, and Phoebe Wall. Immediately following the two-hour class, the group visited the UOG on campus micro-plot forest gardening demonstration site. The one-hour tour helped to reinforce the activities covered earlier in the class activities by reintroducing the different types of fruit trees and conservation practices.  

Research results and discussion:

This project is exploring possible answers to the question: 
What is the appropriate intensive farming system components in agroforestry micro-plots to develop economically significant (purchased food substitution, market gardening) outputs for a tropical island environment? 

On Guam given the low soil organic matter and weed/species covering the land areas identified for the 6 micro plots, sheet mulching was a key practice in the establishment of the micro.  The practice both built the plots soil fertility and controlled undesirable plant growth.  This allowed the establishment of long-term trees and intermediate and short-term crops without tillage (and the associated equipment cost/requirements).  On one of the plots earlier efforts to establish fruit trees failed due to weed pressure. Another key practice for establishment of these new plots was drip irrigation and on several of the micro-plots fencing was needed to exclude wild pigs.  Each site had its own unique situation requiring other practices, but sheet mulching and drip irrigation were two common practices across the micro-plots.  The projects’ micro plots and the process to establish them demonstrated a potential system for our limited resource farmers who have limited capitol and equipment but do have family labor.  These microplots show potential producers that agro-forest farming is possible on a range of conditions on Guam using local resources and labor that most limited resource families have available.  Across these different micro-plots most of the limiting/preventing conditions to farming identified by the earlier assessments of non-producing Chamorro Land Trust agricultural lessees were addressed.  It is expected that they will serve as examples in future workshops.   

Intercropping of fast to fruit trees with high value cash crops that include herbaceous fruits like banana and papaya, and vegetables for fast returns/consumption can produce significant amounts of fruits and vegetables on small micro-plots.  As a micro-plot becomes established and its’ long and intermediate-term plants’ canopy close (and management requirements are reduced), a new micro-plot is established with the short-term root crops and vegetables production shifting to the new plot.  In this way an agro-forest farm can be established 1 micro plot at a time using a planned succession of productive (food) plants that leaves a fruit tree forest in its wake. During the calendar year of 2017 (when both intermediate and short term crops were being harvested), approximately 1,500 pounds of fruits and vegetables were harvested from UOG's demonstration micro plot.  

Participation Summary
5 Farmers participating in research

Educational & Outreach Activities

37 Consultations
6 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
6 On-farm demonstrations
15 Tours
5 Webinars / talks / presentations
22 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

111 Farmers
16 Ag professionals participated
Education/outreach description:

Workshop flyer
Workshop flyer
Site visit with Marilynn Salas on her farm in Umatac.
Site visit with Ben Velasquez on his farm in Dededo.
WSARE Island Liaison's utilize the demonstration site during the Guam conference.
Mike Ady's micro-plot demonstration in Yona.
Marilynn Salas' plot with wire fencing protection from feral pigs.
Stream at Salas farm in Umatac.
Using an A-frame for contour plantings at Cruz farm in Piti.
Compost spread for 50 ft. x 40 ft. plot.
Paper mulch and drip irrigation at Velasqeuz farm in Dededo.
Calamansi fruit tree at University of Guam Triton farm.
Fig fruits at UOG/WSARE micro-plot demonstration.
Winged beans growing on fence at the UOG/WSARE micro-plot demonstration.
Mixed planting of fruit trees and vegetable crops.
Chinese kale and green onions growing in the UOG/WSARE micro-plot demonstration.
UOG/WSARE micro-plot demonstration.
Young soursop growing with malabar spinach.
Pomegranate tree with fruits.
Sweet potato living mulch around jackfruit tree.
Mixed planting at the UOG/WSARE micro-plot demonstration site.
Okra.

7-trees-7-practices-workshop-schedule

Seven_Fruit_Trees

Seven_Practices

Alley_Cropping_with_Nitrogen_Fixing_Hedgerows

Backyard_Nursery

Contour_A-Frame

Micro-Irrigation

Plant_Nutrition_for_Growing

Windbreaks

Plant_Propagation_Division

Plant_Propagation_Cuttings

Living mulch

Soursop publication

 Fig Publictation

Mulberry Publication

Drip irrigation Publication

Sheet-Mulching

Learning Outcomes

79 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation
Key changes:
  • Conservation planning

  • Agroforestry

  • Plant Propagation

  • Soil and Water Conservation

  • Sheet Mulching

Project Outcomes

5 Farmers changed or adopted a practice
1 Grant received that built upon this project
Project outcomes:

Impacts

Over 111 farmers and 16 agricultural participated in workshop series on these methods of establishing agro-forestry farms in limited resource settings.

Over 111 producers were given starting propagation stocks (seedlings or rooted cuttings/divisions) of an array of fast to fruit trees, root crops, perennial greens, and heirloom vegetables and training on how to grow propagate these plant materials on their own farms.  These plant materials included: fig, mulberry, soursop, calamansi, pomegranate, breadfruit, key lime, banana, sweet sop, Malabar and Celon spinach, Chaya (spinach tree), Morenga, sweet potato, taro, Chinese kale, okra, winged bean, hot peppers, basil, Thai basil, and lemon grass.  This put new plant materials in many small local farms where they are currently being grown and propagated.

79 of these producers who completed evaluations reported changes in knowledge, attitudes and/or skills from the workshops.

The on-campus demonstration is now on its 3rd iteration of new microplot with the original producing fruits from the fast to fruit trees.  This site has been used by Extension and Resident Programs of UOG in classes, labs, workshops and tours beyond the projects’ workshops. 

Workshop participants have been able to visit 5 farmer microplot demonstrations and observed how these were established in a variety of conditions on Guam. 

The project was able to leverage the project funds with both local and a Western Extension Risk Management Grant to extend its activities and provide additional content (values identification, goals, resource mapping and farm planning) to some of the projects workshop series and provide nursery support beyond that possible with just project funds.

Accomplishments

The project established 5 on farm micro-plot demonstrations (1. Bill McDonald 2. Vicente Velasquez 3. Mike Ady 4. Dr. Marilyn Salas 5. Jesse Cruz) and established and expanded an on campus UOG/WSARE micro-plot demonstration site. Also, seven on-farm (3 in Dededo, 1 in Mangilao, 1 in Yona, 1 in Umatac, 1 in Piti) demonstration field visits were were conducted.

Workshop materials were developed on the conservation practices, plant propagation and fast to fruit trees to support the workshops on micro-plot planning and establishment. 

The project conducted 22 workshops on the practices, plant materials and planning in support of the project’s goals and activities.  We estimate that these workshops had over 400 attendees (representing approximately 111 unique individual producers and 16 agricultural professionals).

In addition to the projects workshops and tours the on-campus demonstrations was used in many UOG resident instruction class labs and for UOG Cooperative Extension and Outreach programs’ school and other tours and workshops.

Propagation of both fruit and vegetable seedlings for project demonstration support and dissemination to workshop participants was a continuous activity.

For the course, AL451/651 Agriculture and Natural Resource Management, students used the seven trees site to develop their course farm plans and to develop a draft outline/template for farm planning for island subsistence agricultural producers for use in future subsistence producer workshops.

Recommendations:

 

Recommendations:

The most difficult aspect of this project has been in keeping the core farmers when the magnitude of the task is clear to them.  Initially they like the idea of the grant and the support provided but once several realized the amount of work expected of them, they withdrew.  This has been the challenge.  But we finally have a group that are committed to this concept of establishing agroforestry micro-plots.  Recommendation would be in this type of project have the demonstration established prior to recruiting farmers and show them the demonstration and activities prior to soliciting their commitment.

While the participants liked workshop series where the class meets every weekend it was rough on the staff, in future we will test doing the series every other weekend.  Hopefully this will be frequent enough to keep the participants engaged while given the presenters a break

We used staff from several partner organizations to run the registration, logistics and evaluation collection and entry.  This is not ideal for program evaluation (many days evaluations were lost).  Next time we will have a single individual responsible for evaluations and a single individual for registration.

Blending production topics, with business planning topics, and hands on field exercises doing production the practices in equal time blocks in each workshop was very effective for our participants learning styles.  This kept participant recruitment and retention high.  But it also served to keep a large (for us) number (12) of production specialists attending and participating in business topic sessions and to have business trainers (4) active participants in the production workshop and hands on activities.  This resulted in a great deal of cross training and development of common points of reference among the training partners.  We are getting requests for more of these types of trainings from local agricultural support agencies.

Identifying island military veterans as target clientele for our programs also uncovered a well of interested participants.  We are still getting positive feedback from these participants and their friends and families.

Information Products

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.