Hawaii is the most geographically isolated population on the planet which relies on 85-90% of imports for food (S/H DBED, 2012). Ninety-five percent of farms in Hawaii are small family farms (USDA NASS, 2012). This PDP proposal aims to increase food self-sufficiency and security in the Hawaiian islands by forming a consortium between the University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH CTAHR) Cooperative Extension and Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program (SOAP) with state agencies, new farmers’ training programs, farmer’s unions, community colleges’ ag programs, and other essential public and private organizations to develop educational programs that support a “Together We Farm” movement initiated by West Oahu Soil &Water Conservation District (SWCD).
Our specific objectives are:
- Increasing farmer awareness of sustainable agricultural practices that promote soil and water conservation through collaboration with traditionally under represented farm communities across Hawaii,
- Empowering Hawaii’s rural farm communities through the hands-on teaching demonstration method (train the trainer’s approach) and becoming active information seekers, and
- Examine the regional, economic, social, and environmental implications of adopting sustainable agriculture practices and systems.
We anticipate providing agricultural professionals and producers with the technologies, skills and competencies to increase on farm productivity and efficiency; practice responsible farming by safeguarding human health, reducing chemical inputs, enhancing on farm biological and natural resources, recycling local waste as farm inputs; become active information seekers and transformational leaders; reaching out to Agribusiness Incubator Programs that master in agribusiness, marketing, ag tourism; and improve the overall quality of life of Hawaii’s farmers and agricultural communities through education, outreach, and applied local research.
Project objectives from proposal:
We will maximize the limited resources available for agricultural professional development training in Hawaii while building long-term trusting relationships and heightening competencies.
Specific objectives to achieve all WSARE goals
1. Increase farmer awareness of sustainable agricultural practices that promote soil and water conservation through collaboration with traditionally under represented farm communities across Hawaii. (Year 1)
a. Identify key under represented farm communities across Hawaii with multiagency collaboration and support
b. Work with community agricultural leaders to boost sustainable agriculture education.
c. Strengthen partnerships with local teams of extension agents and NRCS staff which will allow SOAP to reach more stakeholders and increase awareness of sustainable agriculture practices.
d. Design, deliver and evaluate in-depth training on priority sustainable agricultural topics based on the needs of those who service and farm in these agricultural communities.
e. Develop simple, yet science-based presentations in lay terms with heavy visuals (translated if necessary) to increase and reinforce sustainable agricultural concepts.
f. Transfer new technologies to address priority need areas for agricultural professionals.
g. Engage and involve agricultural leaders into our program design, implementation and evaluation
2. Strengthen the viability of Hawaii rural farm communities through hands-on teaching demonstration (Year 1-2)
a. Strengthen established relationships.
b. Incorporate the hands-on teaching demonstration technique into programming to build confidence and competency in our staff and community leaders.
c. Develop workshops, field days, farm tours and round table discussions on subjects on responsible farming, reduced risk edible commodities, environmental stewardship, food self-sufficiency, etc.
d. Exposing family farms to Agribusiness Incubator Program at UH with specialty in agribusiness, marketing, sales, ag tourism
3. Examine the regional, economic, social, and environmental implications of adopting sustainable agriculture practices and systems.
a. Track the level of adoption of producers in sustainable agricultural practices and note changes in knowledge, skill, and adoption.