In order to elevate Hawaii’s farms to meet national standards and public expectations, Hawaii’s farmers will require technical assistance and training to comply with food safety regulations and land management requirements. This initiative, “Co-Managing Food Safety and Land Stewardship on Hawaii Farms” will identify and fulfill opportunities for local farmers to comply with two common regulations: food safety requirements designed to minimize risk to consumers, and land development ordinances designed to minimize soil erosion. We will assemble a team of farmers and food safety & conservation planning experts to identify, select, and demonstrate co-management practices (defined as conservation practices that simultaneously address food safety requirements) that are suitable for Hawaii’s agricultural industry. We will share information with conservation planners, extension agents and other agricultural professionals, increasing the use of conservation practices that improve land stewardship and support food safety compliance.
Project team members will identify, select, and demonstrate management tools and best practices for Hawaii farmers to successfully co-manage food safety and land stewardship goals. Key objectives and timelines include:
- Evaluate and identify practices that simultaneously address food safety and land stewardship goals.
July – October 2019: Convene advisory panel of farmers and professionals with expertise in food safety and land stewardship
July – December 2019: Create matrix of conservation practices based on the relationship between food safety and land stewardship
- Select high priority practices based on efficacy, feasibility and viability for Hawaii’s farmers.
January – March 2020: Obtain feedback from farmers and others to select the most viable strategies
- Demonstrate the use of practices identified as supportive of both goals (co-management practices).
April – June 2020: Install on-farm demonstrations of the most viable practices
July – September 2020: host on-farm workshops to share results (2 islands)
- Increase knowledge of co-management practices among farmers and agricultural professionals.
April – June 2020: draft outreach materials (fact sheet, e-newsletter, articles / publications)
June – December 2020: Share information with farmers, farm advocacy groups, conservation planners, farm advisors and other agricultural professionals.
No educational approach to report at this time.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
Learn from food safety and conservation professionals about their experience with viable best co-management practices.
The coordinator worked with partners from the North Shore Economic Vitality Partnership and extension agents of the University of Hawaii to cull a list of potential best co-management practices from hundreds, to just a few dozen. This process involving completing an initial matrix of potential practices, and then working together with the partners to identify that the venn diagram method was the best way to proceed. The reduced list of practices were ranked by agricultural professionals during interviews to identify those most relevant and viable to consider for the venn diagram.
The project coordinator traveled to California to visit with agricultural professionals in regard to food safety and conservation efforts. These meetings connected the coordinator with various useful resources, previous work conducted on the topic (outside of Hawaii), and provided a network of support and advice for future workshop and outreach materials.
In Hawaii, the coordinator has met with local agricultural professionals in the same regard, as well as to discuss the framework of project goals and how to best disseminate useful information to farmers later this year.
Jacob Guth and Meaghan Donovan of California Certified Organic Farmers discuss best management practices with the coordinator (left) along with Jo Ann Baumgartner of Wild Farm Alliance (middle left), and Danny Karp of UC-Davis (middle right). Kali Feiereisel from Community Alliance with Family Farmers and Judith Redmond of Fully Belly Farm share insight and hosted a farm tour highlighting potential co-management strategies (right).
Agricultural professionals interviews for this process have guided the vetting process of potential co-management processes required to prepare for farmer interviews in Hawaii.
Learning: The partners agreed there was little benefit to farmers in reporting practices which are of low impact to both conservation and food safety. Thus, partners supported the decision to pursue creation of a venn diagram to display potential positive strategies rather than a matrix which displays a spectrum including low-impact practices. Resources were acquired from partners on previous co-management research to assist in decision making.
Action outcomes: Material generated to draft prioritization matrix (venn diagram) deliverable.
Impact: Providing a more concise list of practices to take to farmers for their input.
Expand the network of farmers in Hawaii that are interested in co-management strategies
The coordinator has attended a Produce Safety Alliance grower training course, as well as a Food Safety Modernization Act workshop on Oahu to share project goals and network with local farmers and professionals that may be interested in integrating conservation practices into food safety management. Additionally, community agricultural events with other organizations have provided opportunities to discuss project goals and connect with farmers including attendance to events hosted by Kokua Hawaii Foundation and Waimanalo Agricultural Association.
Learning: The coordinator saw a demonstration of what a typical food safety training workshop looks like and how it may be incorporated into a co-management workshop. Additionally, the concerns of community farmers helped identify what priorities, challenges, and opportunities Hawaii faces for local food production such as common food safety outbreaks/concerns.
Action outcomes: Four farmers have been identified to invite to upcoming workshops and to consider for feedback during the development process.
Impact: Sharing the final project outcomes will be most helpful to share in a visual and interactive way rather than relying on verbal or written formats. Impactful information should include in-person opportunities to answer questions and tangible actions for those interested in installing co-management practices.
Educational & Outreach Activities
The ranking “game” that agricultural professionals participated in generated three lists of practices to be used in a venn diagram. Practices listed are considered to be successful in addressing food safety concerns, conservation of natural resources, as well as co-management (center) for many growers in Hawaii, which has distinctive growing conditions from the continental US. This project outcome will be used in the next phase to meet with farmers and learn from their experiences in Hawaii agriculture to finalize a list of recommended co-management practices
While there was overlap of practices considered in both categories of farm goals, it was noted that many practices best suited for food safety were unrelated to those best suited for conservation goals and vice versa for those best suited for conservation (not listed in venn diagram). This observation has introduced the need to reevaluate the impact of the project initiative to identify clear overlapping practices. Co-management practices will be evaluated further in farmer interviews. Despite this challenge, the necessity of addressing both concerns remain of clear importance in Hawaii to support a sustainable agriculture system. Identifying cases in which food safety and conservation practices run counter to each other will flag important challenges for farmers and those supporting them in one or both of these areas, while preventing unrealistic recommendations (i.e. the adoption of a conservation practice that undermines food safety).
Recommended practices for conservation highlight the overall improvement to an ecosystem that can be attained, which can encourage healthy plant communities and food safety, however, the marriage of these two concepts is often challenged in real-world agriculture. Examples of such realized challenges for Hawaii specifically were: small acreage plots, short land leases, limited commercial distributors that must comply with FSMA food safety standards, and year-round growing seasons. The outcomes of this initiative have provided valuable insight into this challenge, as it was not previously well-defined, and have also encouraged the opportunity to share co-management strategy information in a more visual and cohesive way for participating farmers.
None to share at this time.
None to share at this time.