Most organic gardeners consider pests and diseases to be a symptom—as opposed to a cause—of poor plant health. From this perspective, pest and disease prevention focuses on plant health, which depends on three main factors: plant selection, soil health, and biodiversity.
Coastview Aquaponics is a backyard farming operation on a half-acre lot started by Chris and Alexis Smith as a hobby three years ago. It was a way for the family to grow additional food to supplement their grocery purchases with fresh, organic food.
They were soon growing more than they could eat and began giving some away to friends and neighbors. "After a while people started offering us payment to help offset the expenses of growing the food" says Chris, "and this money was used to expand the system. Before we realized it, the hobby grew into a business as a result of demand from our neighbors."
The small aquaponic farm is at 1,500 foot elevation just off Mamalahoa Highway 190 on the slopes of Hualalai, just above Kailua-Kona, and is run with totally organic practices, where nothing gets wasted. Even the bags used to package the produce for distribution are biodegradable.
The Waimea Mid-Week Farmers Market at Pukalani Stables has only been in existence since early April of this year, when it migrated from its previous location at Anna Ranch. The Market is managed by a board of directors and sponsored by the Paniolo Preservation Society.
At the time of the move, 12 vendors relocated and since then the number of vendors has increased to 28. They come from Waimea, the Hamakua Coast, Waikoloa, Kohala and some as far away as Puna, offering produce, food products, arts & crafts, and almost anything that has been grown or made locally on Hawai’i Island or within the State of Hawai’i.
The Ho'oulu ka 'Ulu project, led by Hawai'i Homegrown Food Network (HHFN) and the Breadfruit Institute (BFI) of the National Tropical Botanical Garden is pleased to announce the launch of Breadfruit Harvest for Hunger pilot project. This fall, as soon as the breadfruit is mature, the Breadfruit Harvest for Hunger pilot will begin harvesting breadfruit that is not being used and distributing it through social service agencies to Hawai'i Island families who are food insecure.
According to a HHFN survey, people who grow breadfruit reported that 46% is wasted. At the same time, since the economic downturn of 2008, many families are food insecure—lacking access to affordable and nutritious food. Breadfruit is a local, abundant and nutritious food that can be used to alleviate hunger in Hawai'i.
Decomposing organic materials are the primary source of fertility in tropical organic gardens. The richest source of organic materials is plant matter such as tree and garden trimmings, grass clippings, weeds, and kitchen scraps. These can be used directly in the garden as mulch or indirectly after composting. Mulch is a layer of decomposing organic matter on the soil surface. Mulching improves nutrient and water retention in the soil, encourages favorable soil microbial activity and worms, and suppresses weed growth. When properly done, mulching can significantly improve the well being of plants and reduce maintenance as compared to bare soil culture.