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UH CTAHR’s Sustainable Ag Program

on 14 February 2010.

Unveils Newsletter and Improved Website
Significant and positive changes have happened over the past year at the University of Hawai'i's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resource program for sustainable agriculture.

In April, 2009, Dr. Ted Radovich, Extension Specialist at CTAHR's Sustainable and Organic Farming Systems Laboratory, became the newly designated Coordinator of the Western Region Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Education (WSARE) program. The WSARE Program annually offers several grant programs for innovative sustainable agriculture projects. Dr. Radovich is a strong proponent of research in organic growing methods and improving soil fertility.

In May, the Sustainable Agriculture Program at CTAHR was merged with their Organic Agriculture Program. View their new website

In September, the newly merged program published their first quarterly newsletter, Hanai'Ai ("to provide food for...") and recently published their second issue. Both issues are full of relevant information for Hawai'i small farmers regarding crop quality and productivity, farm business and marketing, disease and pest control, and grant funding for organic research projects. Read current and previous editions of the newsletters. Of particular interest are a feature about Hawai'i Island farmers and business owners (Adaptations wholesalers, Tane and Maureen Datta); a CTAHR video about crop damage from vog; an article about direct marketing of crops; and a plug for Agroforestry.net's new Specialty Crops profiles.

In November, CTAHR published "Overview of Organic Food Crop Systems in Hawai'i" by Radovich, Cox and Hollyer. This important publication summarizes growth trends, crop and product distribution, production by island, and type of organic stakeholder. It also identifies challenging issues for organic agriculture in the specific areas of infrastructure, production, genetic engineering, postharvest and economics. View the publication, plus a webpage describing its background.

It is curious that the program has two somewhat different websites. A website within the overall program website is called "Organic Agriculture at CTAHR," Whereas the focus of the overall sustainable ag program is on profitable farming, "stewardship," and family farm stability, the mission of the Organic Agriculture Program is specifically focused on increasing organic crop research, developing organic ag academic programs, and improving the quality and production of organic crops and products in the State of Hawai'i. It seems as if this program within a program is developing a more truly sustainable agriculture. The "Organic Working Group Topic Leaders," composed of ten CTAHR faculty specialists has been working to achieve the mission. Learn more about the Organic Working Group.

It is refreshing to see this very small part of CTAHR start to expand and serve the interests of our local organic and sustainable farmers in a more practical and meaningful way.