CAP-Recap 2015

Leilehua High School takes top honors at Oahu’s Conservation Awareness Program

 

This year CAP contest was a great success! The Oahu Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) to host the Oahu Conservation Awareness Program at the CTAHR Waimanalo Ag Research Station. With the support of the Department of Education, high school students from across the island came with their teachers to compete for cash prizes.

“It was really great to have the students get contacts for internships and careers, and also participate in the hands on service learning project,” said Jeff Garvey of Waipahu HS.

Students judging a pit

Students judging a pit

Congratulations to Leilehua High School for winningteam group score! We also recognize the teachers and students from Castle, Nanakuli, Olomana, Kalani, and Waipahu High Schools that competed in the Oahu contest. 

 
Students experience service learning by building a Hale

Students experience service learning by building a Hale

There were three different land-use sites prepared for assessment. Students studied slope, soil texture, and natural resource concerns. Students also heard from specialists on soil science, natural resource management, and careers inagriculture and conservation. Generous financial support was provided by the Windward Oahu SWCD. Volunteer support also provided by farms of Pioneer, SOAP, HAF and Kiloanui Farm, and the NRCS, SWCD and CTAHR programs.  

 
First Place individual score winner

First Place individual score winner

Winners from the Oahu contest will go on to compete in the upcoming State Conservation Awareness Program on Hawaii Island. Best wishes to all the students at the upcoming State contest! We know that you will represent us well in the National competition.

Fall News

Summer has come and gone so quickly, and with it came a lot of rain! Farmers on Oahu took notice, and it has been interesting to see how they are dealing with the challenges that come with unexpected weather. Some of our cooperators have let us know that their conservation practices have held up despite the heavy downpours, and did their job of keeping the soil in its place. Hooray for conservation practices!

This third quarter of 2015, we are proud to say that we have about 3,200 acres planned for conservation. We worked with orchard crop producers, corn producers, wetland taro producers, and much more! Its a very exciting time in agriculture and we extend our warmest welcome to all of our new cooperators. In addition to developing conservation plans and providing technical assistance, we have been developing conservation information materials for Limited English Proficiency farmers, and planning soil health workshops. 

We welcome you to join us at the next SWCD meeting and let us know about your farming project. Whether you are a current cooperator, or a future farmer, we want to hear all about it! 

Teacher Training

In preparation for this years CAP contest, teachers from around the island attended our special CAP teacher training. CTAHR soils experts Dr. Deenik and Dr. Crow provided their expertise and guidance for CAP contest ag teachers. 

We were so lucky to have them on board and provide us with the best information on Hawaii Soils. We also have received help from soil experts Josh Silva and Nolan Johnson. Their lab has just released the Hawaii Soil Atlas for farmers to use locally. 

Teachers were given soil to ribbon, squish, and get messy! Despite the down pouring rain, we were still able to have a great time, and talk about soil and agriculture. 

This years CAP contest will be held in cooperation with CTAHR at the Waimanalo Research Station on October 17th. 

HACD Annual Conference

“Don't be the Western Family canned luncheon meat.       Be the SPAM.”
                                       --Derek Kurisu, KTA: Mountain Apple Brand
 

This years Hawaii Association of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting took place at the Naniloa Hotel in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Along with motivating words Derek Kurisu and Kimo Alameda, we were also inspired by the hard working SWCD cooperators who hosted field trips at their farms. These farmers were more than willing to share their best practices, growing advice, and best of all, their lychee! We greatly appreciate the hard work the HACD put into putting on this meeting, and look forward to next year already. This summary highlights some of my favorite parts of the trip. Thank you for the wonderful experience!

-Jeana Cadby, SWCD- Oahu

 

Speakers:

HACD: Brenda Iokepa-Moses,    HACD President, Billy Kenoi, Hawaii County Mayor

HDOA: Danielle Downey

CTAHR: Susan Cabral

HGLC: Doug Benton

NRCS: Amy Koch, Bruce Peterson, Jason Peel

KTA/BHSSP: Derek Kurisu, Kimo Alameda

DLNR:Irene Sprecher

CREP: Alex Gerkin, Kalani Matsumura

SWCD Harrison Vidinha, Kylie Wong,  Jeana Cadby

ORCD: Shelby Ishida

HFB: Chris Manfredi

Windward & South Oahu District chairs share a laugh

Windward & South Oahu District chairs share a laugh

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls


Sweet Potato Farm

Hamakua

Hamakua

Pepeekeo, Hamakua SWCD

Tung Huynh, SWCD Farmer

 

The first stop was a large sweet potato operation in Pepeekeo. Our host provided a wonderful explanation of the sweet potato production in Hawaii, and some of the challenges they are facing. They are growing the purple sweet potato variety specific to Hawaii, and his farm is producing 200-250,000 lbs of sweet potato per week for export.

They found that incorporating cover crops into their farming practices helps reduce nematodes, nitrogen inputs and soil erosion caused by heavy rains, as well as increase their soil biodiversity.

Damage caused by the sweet potato weevil has been very problematic, and they have found that simple changes such as hilling the mounds can help reduce the pest pressure.

Hawaii is a major exporter of purple sweet potato

Hawaii is a major exporter of purple sweet potato


OK Farms Hawaii

Hamakua

Hamakua

Puueo, Hamakua SWCD

 Troy Keolanui, SWCD Director and Farmer

OK Farms Hawaii in Puueo grows coffee, macadamia nuts, lychee, longan, citrus, cacao and heart of palm. Co-owner Troy Keolanui took the HACD tour group to see the 17,000 lychee trees on their 1,000-acre property.

The main varieties of lychee they grow are, Kaimana and Bosworth, which produce over 75,000 lbs of fruit per year. Every two years the trees are topped, and the trunks are girdled annually. He recommends using a special girdling knife and staggering the process for a longer fruiting season. He also regularly applies potassium chlorite to induce flowering.

Peeling the Palm

Peeling the Palm

Troy Keolanui from OK Farms Hawaii treated visitors to a sample of delicious and fresh heart of palm, the inner core and growing bud of a palm tree.

Using his machete and fancy knife skills, he chipped away at the outer sheath until he reached the succulent core.

Heart of Palm

Heart of Palm

Picking lychee

Picking lychee

Samples for the guests

Samples for the guests

Cracking mac nuts

Cracking mac nuts


Piggery and Diversified Ag

Mt View

Mt View

Mt View, Puna SWCD

Atto Assi & Neena Roumell, SWCD Farmers

The most noticeable thing about the piggery operation in Mountain View was what wasn't there, the smell. Atto Assi and Neena Roumell are using a modified Korean Natural Farming (KNF) program on their piggery operation to deal with the pig wastes, flies and smell.

With the use of IMO4 and biochar, they can enhance the fermentation process of the pig wastes, As a result, rather than replacing the litter, they simply add weekly lactic acid treatments and tree trimming green waste mulch when needed.

They feed the animals honohono grass, macadamia nuts, and plant waste, and don't need to use antibiotics. They claim the meat quality is superior to conventionally raised pigs, and our tour group held a tasting to confirm it. It felt a little wrong to eat in front of the pigs, but everyone agreed that the meat was quite delicious.

Windward Oahu chair  in clean booties

Windward Oahu chair  in clean booties

IMO Fever

IMOs or Indigenous Microorganisms are part of the Korean Natural Farming Process. Creating them is a process that consists of culturing naturally occurring microorganisms to minimize the need for applications of inorganic soil amendments.

After collecting local microorganisms with the initial inculcation, levels of IMO are made by mixing the initial collection with different mediums to increase their numbers. These increases with changed mediums are categorized as IMOn and are generally applied to soil or litter at level 4.

Pig farmer

Pig farmer

Happy pig

Happy pig

Booties keep the sty clean

Booties keep the sty clean

 

Summer Ag Ed opportunity for students grades 9-12

Seeds4Tomorrow

Who: Open to all 9th through 12th graders.

What: Seeds4Tomorrow is a hands-on educational summer program designed for Hawaii students with an interest in food production, conservation, science, engineering and more! This year's focus is cacao, join us to Grow Your Own Chocolate from Bean to Bar.

Where: Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, 94-340 Kunia Road, Waipahu, HI 96797

When: Monday, June 15th - Saturday June 20th, 2015. Times: 8:00 am to 2:00 pm  M-Th, Friday night "Camp at the Farm", Saturday 8:00 am - 10:00 am, Optional long day extension until 4:00 pm M-Th.

Why: Hands-on learning from research to restaurant. Interaction with industry experts in labs and in the field. Fun with peers, producers, and the process.

Cost: $300. Many scholarships are available!
For more information visit: http://www.harc-hspa.com/seeds4tomorrow.html