Island to Island, Farmer to Chef: Ag Agricultural Marketing Proposal

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2009: $133,967.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Grant Recipient: University of Guam
Region: Western
State: Guam
Principal Investigator:
Dr. L. Robert (Bob) Barber, Jr.
University of Guam Cooperative Extension Service

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Fruits: avocados, bananas, berries (other), citrus, figs, melons
  • Vegetables: beans, cucurbits, eggplant, greens (leafy), sweet corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes
  • Additional Plants: herbs, trees


  • Crop Production: windbreaks
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, networking, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: agritourism, cooperatives, farm-to-institution, market study, marketing management, value added, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Production Systems: permaculture
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, social networks, sustainability measures, urban agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Guam farmers at every focus group have consistently identified marketing as their number one concern. Penetration of the tourism industry, our largest economic sector, is critical. Ironically the number one objective of GHRA Food and Beverage Committee is “to support the local economy by working with the local farmers to grow products in sufficient numbers that can be used by all hotels and restaurants.” Sadly only minimal local products are used by this industry. A related issue is development of methods to store unique seasonal products for year-round chef use. In Hawaii when chefs use local produce in their menus they become the most vocal advocates for buying island produce. Local produce suits chefs’ needs in many ways; fresher, higher quality, and conveys an ambiance sought by tourist. Key is education and communication between industries and a new paradigm; “What’s Fresh Now.” Chefs move from seeking year-round availability of a product to using what’s available each month. Farmers identify marketing as the single biggest problem that threatens the sustainability of agriculture on our islands. Accurate data is critical in addressing this issue. Guam’s and nearby islands’ tourism industries’ monthly consumption of fruits and vegetables is unknown. No studies have identified a comprehensive list of agriculture products harvested each month (seasonality) in the Western Pacific. These data are needed in programs which build market links between farmers and chefs. Survey purchasing agents and chefs on monthly purchase price and volume for each agriculture item gown on islands. Monthly market field surveys on local products available. Farmer/chef evaluation of data, market logistics and processing target product identification. Peer to peer farmer chef meetings with Kona team for strategic planning. Education programs on “What’s Fresh Now” guidebook. PEACESAT video conferences with island teams. Hold regional farmer chef conference second year. Both farmers, GHRA and chefs have agreed to participate in planning, quarterly awareness building and market coordination events, and public culinary events focusing on local products. First year subregional activities include market surveys, agriculture/tourism needs/issues assessments, and quarterly video conferences with other islands for coordination and information sharing. SubRegional conference. Project materials will be posted on for regional and global access.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objectives: 1. Survey the tourism industry’s total monthly demand for each fruit and vegetable grown on the islands. 2. Market survey’s and farmer interviews on product seasonality by month. 3. Develop food processing methods to extend the availability of few key seasonal products. 4. Regular community building events between farmers and chefs. 5. Develop educational products like “What’s Fresh Now” monthly guide. 6. Farmer/Chef meetings on product standards, market logistics, seasonality and other issues. Time Table: Qtr 1 start surveys and video conferences, Kona team to Guam farmer/chef conference. Qtr 2 initial survey analysis, farmer/chef meetings to identify target products, logistics and product standards. Qtr 3 first culinary event, initiate “What’s Fresh Now” guide and commodity sheets, develop processing methods for 2 products. Qtr 4 complete “What’s Fresh Now” guide, 2nd culinary event. Qtr 5 subregional farmer/chef conference. Qtr 6-8 bi monthly farmer/chef educational/culinary events. Scholarly and educational products to be produced: 1. Market profile of tourism purchases of Agriculture products. 2. Farmer/chef prioritized list of agriculture products for import substitution. 3. Extension publications on targeted commodities (seasonality, market specifications). “What’s Fresh Now” calendar/guide to a market basket for each month. 4. Extension publications on processing target seasonal crops. 5. An Industry Participants Guide to Linking Agriculture and Tourism, which will be a resource collection adapted to the islands.

    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.