Sustaining Molokai Native Hawaiian Family Farms

2009 Annual Report for SW09-502

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2009: $47,420.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Alton Arakaki
UH-College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Cooperative Extension Service
Glenn Teves
UH CTAHR Cooperative Extension Service

Sustaining Molokai Native Hawaiian Family Farms


The 5 Native Hawaiian farmer participants are mono crop farmers, producing sweet potato, watermelons and papayas. The project provides opportunities for these farmers to gain experience in producing other crops and to hedge against some of the business and production risks that come with steep learning curve of growing a new crop and incorporating a new sustainable production system. The participants have bought into Western SARE goals that promote diversifying crop production, farm income stream, biological environment and providing island consumers with diversity of food crops, all contributing to developing a sustainable food system for communities and at the same time supporting and promoting good environmental stewardship.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1. Plan and design 5 on-farm tropical sustainable demonstration family farms in month 1 of project.
2. Order supplies for the establishment of 5 tropical sustainable demonstration family farms in month 2 of project.
3. Begin installing 5 sustainable tropical demonstration farms.
4. Maintain the production of diversified crops and monitor plant biological environment beginning month 4 and through the duration of the project to month 30.
5. Collect soil and plant tissue samples; analyze samples; conduct educational activities with producers beginning in month 4 and through the duration of the project to month 30.
6. Conduct annual field days in project month 10, 20 and 30.
7. Collect production and cost of production data beginning in month 4 and through the duration of the project to month 30.
8. Prepare and publish project information as a College Extension Bulletin, post on website and share with clientele in month 34 through month 36 of the project.
9. Conduct project evaluation in month 34 through month 36 of the project.


1. Individual meetings and consultations were held with each participant to discuss alternative crop that could be added into their mono-crop production system. Production needs, compatibility with existing crop and system, sustainable alternative practices to address potential problems, market competition and marketability were covered in the meetings.
2. Supplies for the establishment of tropical sustainable demonstration family farms were order for 4 of the 5 participating farms. Included in the supplies were in-State produced farm inputs, green waste compost, fish bonemeal and crushed coral for liming.
3. Field site inspection and demonstration farm locations were conducted and identified by participants and co-coordinator.
4. Participants attempting to diversify their farm by establishing and managing their second crop continue to expand their efforts in a timely manner.
5. Soil samples were reviewed to monitor soil fertility and as plants mature tissue samples will be taken to monitor plant nutritional conditions. Educational activities and individual participant consultation were conducted to develop plans and designs for each of the 5 demonstration sites. Educational activities on crop selection, accessing production and economic feasibility of alternative crops, examining crop compatibility, conducting soil and plant tissue sampling, application on new plant propagation method on traditional and cultural crop, reading sample results, installing fertigation injection system, exploring local sources of farm inputs, calibrating farm implements, managing supply inventory and executing on farm plan and design were conducted. Participants are also participating in USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) and Farm Service Agency programs.
6. The project is in its 5th month since receiving its grant funds in August 2009. No field day has been conducted. Participants are installing their alternative crop, integrating them into their existing mono crop system. It is projected that a farm tour of participant’s project sites will be conducted in spring 2010 when projects are beginning to mature.
7. During the initial individual participant’s planning and designing activities, participants have agreed to maintain a production and cost records in parallel to their existing crops.
8. In preparation to accomplish this activity participants have agreed to maintain their production and cost data and records for developing a sustainable production system by integrating new crop into their existing production system. No project information has been published.
9. This project activity for #9 has not been conduct. No project evaluation has been conducted.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

1. As a result of individual participant meetings and consultations plans and designs for 4 of 5 on-farm tropical sustainable demonstration family farms have been completed. Farmers that concentrated on producing and marketing just 1 crop are attempting to learn and grow their second crop. One papaya grower has not decided on his second crop, but has incorporated sustainable practice of planting between-row ground cover in his papaya fields and installed micro sprinklers to create an favorable micro environment to enhance biological diversification in the field.

2. As a result of acquiring supplies for the project participants became familiar with locally produced farm inputs and have commenced to executing their tropical sustainable demonstration family farms.
3. As a result of accomplishments sustainable tropical demonstration farms have been installed on 4 of 5 participant’s farms. Participants are beginning to install their second crop into fields planted with their primary crop thereby beginning to experience and learn production skills required to manage an integrated and diversified farm environment. See Table 1

4. Participants are increasing the area of their second crop, integrating them into their primary crops and maintaining a consistent level production. L&R Farm, Castle Adolpho and Freeman’s Farm are beginning to expand their production area of their second crop beyond their commitment as a participant in the project.
Insect population has been monitored on farms growing taro as their second crop. It was projected that Rose Beetle damage on taro grown in integrated system would be less than mono cropping systems. Early indication in fall has shown that taro leaf beetle damage has been equal in fields with mono-crop taro and taro grown with in papaya and sweet potato crops. Population dynamics of Rose Beetle will continue to be monitored in both cropping systems. It is projected that biological systems need to be monitored beyond the timetable of the project, as time is required to cause and detect changes in biological environments under various external sustainable treatments.
5. As the result of these initial educational activities 4 or 5 participants have integrated their selected second crop into their once mono-crop fields, thereby beginning their new experience of managing a diversified production system and applying locally produced farm inputs to improve soil pH and microbial environment and supplementing soil plant nutrition. The papaya grower that has yet need to decide on his second crop has adopted sustainable practice of using micro sprinklers and planting between-row cover crop in his papaya field.

Participants have developed and filed a farm conservation plan with NRCS and have qualified to apply and receive cost-sharing benefits from their EQIP program. They have also received operating and capital loans from USDA-Farm Services Agency. FSA Loan Officer reported that there has been no loan default from participants or any other native Hawaiian homestead farmer in Hoolehua, Molokai.

6. Project progress field day is scheduled for Spring 2010.

7. As a result of the initial planning and designing activities participants are maintaining crop production and cost data on their newly planted crops.


Castle Adolpho
Adolpho Farm
P.O. Box 475
Hoolehua, HI 96729
Office Phone: 8085676551
Russell DeCoite
L&R Farm
P.O. Box 126
Hoolehua, HI 96729
Office Phone: 8085679234
John Henry Kaiama
Kaiama Farm
P.O. Box 358
Hoolehua, HI 96729
Office Phone: 8089898175
Noah Freeman
Freeman's Farm
P.O. Box 491
Hoolehua, HI 96729
Office Phone: 8083361508
Rick Tamanaha
Kaleikoa Farms
P.O. Box 171
Kualapuu, HI 96757
Office Phone: 8086580926