New Farmers: Choosing the Road Less Traveled

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2003: $90,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $46,278.00
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Samir El-Swaify
University of Hawaii MANOA

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: melons
  • Vegetables: cucurbits, greens (leafy), sweet corn
  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: poultry, swine


  • Animal Production: free-range, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational
  • Crop Production: agroforestry, cover crops, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, mentoring
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, community-supported agriculture, cooperatives, marketing management, market study, value added
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement, riparian buffers, soil stabilization, wildlife
  • Pest Management: botanical pesticides, field monitoring/scouting, sanitation, soil solarization
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter
  • Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities, urban/rural integration


    Sustainable agriculture is an important alternative for beginning farmers in the Pacific Region. This regional project was designed to assist CES and NRCS staff in introducing sustainable agriculture to new farmers in a timely manner, before they have made financial or emotional commitments to farming in a certain way. Project output was a trainer module consisting of a beginning tropical farmer manual, a support website, and a trainer resources CD. The training materials were pilot tested in three locations with teams of CES, NRCS and Community College professionals. Module materials were revised and delivered to CES and NRCS staff via a one-day workshop. The project took three years to complete.

    Project objectives:

    • To assist Pacific Region agricultural professionals to become more capable of conducting educational programs for new farmer clients and be better prepared to respond to client needs relating to sustainable tropical agriculture;
    • To develop a trainer module for Pacific Region agricultural professionals to help CES and NRCS staff guide potential new farmer clients toward adopting sustainable tropical agriculture concepts and systems;
    • To provide hands-on experiential learning for participating CES and NRCS staff via pilot testing of the Trainer Module;
    • To improve access to information about sustainable tropical agriculture by providing materials in print, on-line and on CD.

    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.