Kona to Guam Weaving the Farmer Chef Network
This grant provided travel funds to take a team of three farmers, one chef (president of the Micronesian Chefs’ Association), and one cooperative Extension Field agent to Kona, Hawaii during a week of intensive activies in this area, these included: 1) Subregional Western SARE conference where there was enormous networking opportunities, and the chance to observe where Hawaii issues match those of the recent subregional conference held in Guam. 2) Following this conference is the annual Hawaii Farmer Chef conference followed by 3) The Hawaii tropical fruit grower’s association annual meeting. They came back with ideas and methods of interacting and working together that have been successful in Hawaii.
The Guam team held two quarterly meetings and 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 the Co-Op members attending the MCA meetings quarterly for planning and local produce promotion purposes.
1)Take a team of Farmers, Chefs and Extension Professionals to Kona, Hawaii, to attend a series of meetings and tours designed to promote peer-to-peer networking between Guam and Kona; Farmers, Chefs and Extension Professionals.
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 and Chefs and Extension Professionals and Tourism Professionals.
1) The Kona to Guam tour was a success. Local interest was so strong that Guam Hotel and Restaurants Association: Food and Beverage Group and UOG Cooperative Extension sent an additional chef and extension specialist on the tour.
2) The desired goal of peer-to-peer networking on this tour to share new ideas also was met. Ideas brought back included: new enterprises (figs, citrus); education around seasonality of fruits and vegetables (seasonality calendar, what is fresh now); the concept of an annual regional farmer chef conference; the idea of back-to-back related conferences (fruit growing, farmer chef, and regional agriculture needs assessment) to increase participation; the value of bringing in USDA fruit experts to stimulate new and improved fruit production in a conference format; the impact of displays, to chef and the public, of the diversity and high quality of local produce as part of conferences or quarterly meetings.
3) Specific accomplishments using the above concepts include:
a. Following the tour the Farmers Co-Op prepared and was awarded a grant that included funding for, development of local seasonality calendars for fruits and vegetables modeled on Hawaii’s concept, at two MCA meetings one during rain season one during dry hosting a display consisting tables of currently available fruits, vegetables and herbs, and initiate discussions with chefs and purchasing managers on their demand for local produce.
b. Also following the Kona tour, the partnerships developed and ideas gained were incorporated into a Western SARE R&E grant that had passed the pre-proposal screening. This grant is now funded and in the contract issuance stage.
c. Two promising species of fig cuttings were brought back to Guam and propagated under mist. These are now being grown out for cutting production in order to promote fig production on Guam. Many of the original cutting have already formed small fig trees that have produced fruit in less than a year.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Two awarded grants’ development were influenced by ideas coming from this small Professional Producer grant: one for $180,000 (of which over $20,000 directly addresses issues/concepts identified in this grant) from USDA Rural Development that was just completed; the second by Western SARE for two years for $130,000 that directly follows on and develops the concepts identified in this grant. Work on the Western SARE grant will initiate in January 2010.
Two varieties of Fig (Brown Turkish and White Kadota) were brought to Guam and are being propagated by UOG Cooperative Extension. These represent a potential new enterprise for Guam producers.
P.O. Box 11883
Tumuning, GU 96931
Office Phone: 6717896800