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Food-Producing Agroforestry Landscapes For Hawaii

Creative agroforestry for food production in home, farm, and community landscapes

Creative Agroforestry Workshop logo 360pxAgroforestry landscapes are models of productive, low input systems that have sustained people for centuries in Hawai'i. Farmers, homeowners, and communities are rediscovering the many benefits of agroforestry. This workshop offers participants an introduction to best practices in establishing and maintaining a working agroforestry landscape tailored to their needs. Presentations combine traditional, modern, and local knowledge to enable participants to get started on their own systems, avoiding pitfalls. With a little knowledge and experience, the end result can be a landscape that provides high productivity, social & cultural values, and beauty, now and for generations to come. Join us for an interactive and lively learning experience! Please register early, as space is limited. 

 

Kaua'i: April 25–26 Workshop report
Maui: June 12–13 MAUI information and registration
Hawai'i (Kona): June 20–21 KONA information and registration
O'ahu: June 27–28 O'AHU information and registration

Topics include (agendas are set for each workshop based on speaker availability):

  • Important Pacific island crops and agroforestry systems
  • Soil fertility maintenance using locally available resources
  • Pest and disease prevention strategies
  • Food forestry for home and commercial use
  • Small-scale enterprise development and value-added processing based on perennial food plants
  • Hawaiian cultural perspective on Pacific Island agroforestry systems
  • Strategies for converting to agroforestry systems
  • NRCS practice standards that support agroforestry systems
  • Integrating livestock and poultry
  • Perennial alternatives to annual crops
  • Advice and techniques for landscapers
  • Local experiences in agroforestry system implementation

Audience: Landscapers, agricultural professionals, agricultural extension, community planners, and everyone working with agriculture, urban beautification, conservation, and human nutrition. Other target audience members include farmers, ranchers, and homeowners.

Sponsors: Hawai‘i Homegrown Food Network, Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Eduction (WSARE), Agroforestry Net, and local partners.

Kaua'i: April 25–26 Workshop report
Maui: June 12–13 MAUI information and registration
Hawai'i (Kona): June 20–21 KONA information and registration
O'ahu: June 27–28 O'AHU information and registration

Free publications for food-producing landscapes in Hawai'i and other Pacific islands

Agroforestry Landscapes for Pacific Islands: Creating abundant and resilient food systems. A series of new publications focusing on low-input and sustainable techniques for food producing landscapes.

Chapters

Authors

Sustainable Traditional Agricultural Systems of the Pacific Islands by Harley I. Manner. Covers key patterns in traditional Pacific agroforestry systems and presents example agroforestry systems that could be adapted in modern day.

Download 
(5MB PDF file)

Sustainable-Pacific-Systems-cover-160px

Enhancing Soil Function and Plant Health with Locally Available Resources by Ted Radovich, Archana Pant, Amjad Ahmad, Craig Elevitch, and Nguyen Hue. This guide focuses on the use of locally available resources to enhance soil function and plant health in the short and long term. The emphasis is on a description of the inputs, pros and cons of use, specific conditions in Hawai‘i and recommendations for food producers. 

Download
(2MB PDF file)

Locally Available Resources Radovich-cover-160px

Pest and Disease Control Strategies for Sustainable Pacific Agroecosystems by Hector Valenzuela. Covers recommended production practices that may be used in agroforestry systems of the Pacific and tropical regions to create resilient production systems and enhance and protect the natural resources on the farm.

Download 
(2MB PDF file)

Sustainable Pest and Disease Control-cover-160px

Small-scale Livestock Production in Agroforestry Landscapes by Glen Fukumoto. Covers integration of livestock into Pacific Island environments, including local fodder and sustainable waste management.

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(2MB PDF file)

Livestock in Agroforestry Fukumoto-cover-160px

Grower’s Guide to Pacific Island Agroforestry Systems: Information Resources, and Public Assistance Programs by Craig Elevitch, Garien Behling, Michael Constantinides, and James B. Friday. Describes ten of the most important agroforestry systems of the Pacific Islands and associated practices supported by technical and financial assistance programs through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and other state and federal programs. Includes development and value-added processing based on perennial food plants and a resources section (technical guides, periodicals, organizations, and species information).

Download
(4MB PDF file)

Growers Guide Pacific Agroforestry Elevitch-cover-160px

 

Getting Started with a Food-producing Agroforestry Landscape in the Pacific by Craig Elevitch. Introduces Pacific agroforestry systems in general, and presents the benefits of these systems compared with monocultures and ornamental landscapes. Important traditional species and their functional roles in agroforestry systems.

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(9.7MB PDF file)

Getting Started Agroforestry Elevitch-cover-160px

Project sponsors

This project is being carried out in collaboration with Hawai‘i Homegrown Food Network with sponsorship of the USDA Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.

 SARE Western logoHHFN logo-72px

Currently 85% imported food

Currently it is estimated that over 85% of the food consumed in Hawai‘i is imported from the U.S. mainland and other overseas sources. The remaining 15% of food grown locally is almost completely dependent upon imports of fertilizer, chemicals, and fuel for its production and distribution. Given the remoteness of Hawai‘i (2,560 miles from the US mainland), there is increasing interest within educational institutions, government and among the general public in creating ecologically and economically sustainable local food systems. 

Honolulu port, where much of Hawai'i's food arrived.Honolulu port, where much of Hawai'i's food arrives.

Historically 100% self-sufficient

Despite Hawai‘i’s geographic isolation and high dependence on imports, its environment makes it especially well suited for year-round food production. Pacific islanders such as indigenous Hawaiians had sustained-yield perennial home and community landscapes that made them among the most well-nourished and self-sufficient peoples in the world. Agroforests of breadfruit, banana, coconut, and other fruits and nuts, and a wide range of perennial leafy vegetables blanketed the landscape, providing abundant food, fiber, and fuel. 

Archibald Menzies, one of the first European botanists to study the agricultural systems of Kona, Hawai'i, remarked in 1793 that, "...the fields are productive of good crops that far exceed in point of perfection the produce of any civilized country within the tropics."Archibald Menzies, one of the first European botanists to study the agricultural systems of Kona, Hawai'i, remarked in 1793 that, "...the fields are productive of good crops that far exceed in point of perfection the produce of any civilized country within the tropics."

Decline of the plantation era

As food-producing plants disappeared from landscapes over the past 200 years and small farms declined, production became centralized on larger, mechanized plantations. However, there are many challenges faced by large-scale farms in Hawai‘i. Island farm products, grown with relatively expensive land, labor, and materials costs, have difficulty competing with cheap imports of produce, meat, dairy, and eggs. Second, real estate values have put pressure on farmers to sell their land for development, and much farmland has been converted to urban and peri-urban development or high-end “gentleman” farms. Third, young people are not choosing farming as a career path—the average Hawai‘i farmer is currently over 60 years of age.

Much prime agricultural land has been replaced with residential development that produces little food.Much prime agricultural land in Hawai'i such as here in Wailuku, Maui, has been replaced with residential development that produces little food.

Transitions to perennial food-producing landscapes

There is a growing movement to complement large-scale food production by promoting the use of perennial food plants in private and public landscapes. This approach has many advantages, including

  • Integrating food production into urban and rural areas where the food is consumed, avoiding reliance on the fossil-fuel dependent distribution systems.
  • Reallocating some of the fertilizer, pest management, fuel, and labor resources that are currently consumed in ornamental landscapes for growing food.
  • Providing opportunities to supply small, local, farmers markets with produce
  • Expanding opportunities for value-added cottage industries such as preserves, baked goods, fermented products, and other specialty items.

IMG 2635Agroforestry landscapes can produce large amounts of food with low inputs.

 

Sponsors

This project is being carried out in collaboration with Hawai‘i Homegrown Food Network with sponsorship of the USDA Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.

 SARE Western logoHHFN logo-72px

Lead Authors

Harley I MannerHarley I. MannerHarley I. Manner, B.A., M.A., Ph.D. received his degrees in Geography from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and has taught at Bucknell University, Yale, University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva, Fiji, and the University of Guam. He served as chairman of the Micronesian Studies Program and the Division of Social/Behavioral Sciences at the University of Guam, and briefly, the Department of Geography at USP. Dr. Manner has conducted fieldwork in Fiji, Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, and many other Pacific islands and atolls where he studied traditional agroforestry systems, ethnobotany, and tropical ecology. He served as the Micronesian Coordinator for PABITRA (Pacific Asia Biodiversity Transect Network). Dr. Manner retired from active teaching in 2008 and now lives on Maui, Hawai‘i. He is an Emeritus Professor of Geography and Micronesian Studies  (Univ. of Guam) and continues to publish scholarly articles in his areas of interest.

Glen K FukumotoGlen K FukumotoGlen K. Fukumoto is County Extension Agent in Livestock Programs for the Cooperative Extension Service, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Mānoa. He is responsible for evaluating needs and implementing extension educational programs for livestock industries in Hawai‘i. Glen is author and founding member of the successful A Taste of the Hawaiian Range Agricultural Festival and Forage Field Day. He is team leader for CTAHR’s Beef Initiative Program, research leader in development of the modified dry litter waste management system technology, and animal waste management leader for CSREES Southwest and Pacific Regional Water Quality Program. He has researched grass-fed meats and small-scale poultry systems. Glen has collaborated in over 30 CTAHR publications, a dozen national and international papers, and managed over 30 grants totally more than $1.5 million.

ted radovich tpssTed RadovichTed Radovich, Ph.D., is an assistant specialist in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM). Ted received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from University of Hawai'i at Mānoa and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Ted co-coordinates the Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program at UHM and is principle investigator of the Sustainable and Organic Farming Systems Laboratory. The primary focus of his lab's research are the links between ecological farming practices, yield and crop quality. Ted also teaches multiple classes, including Herbs, Spices and Flavorings, Organic Food Crop Production and Vegetable Crop production. 

 

Craig Elevitch 180pxCraig ElevitchCraig Elevitch has been an educator in agroforestry and sustainable human agroecosystems since 1993. He directs Agroforestry Net, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to empowering people in agroforestry and ecological resource management. The organization’s internationally recognized publications and workshops have guided thousands in becoming more proficient in ecological food production, agroforestry, and reforestation. He has facilitated numerous agroforestry workshops in the Pacific, with over 6,000 producers and resource professionals participating since 1993. His publications have garnered over 15 million downloads since 2000. These include Agroforestry Guides for Pacific Islands (2000), Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands: Their Culture, Environment, and Use (2006), and Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands (2011), all of which promote diverse agricultural systems that are environmentally and ecologically sustainable. 

Workshops for professional development 

XR0Y6349A series of professional development workshops will be held as part of this project.

 

Contact information

Craig Elevitch
Permanent Agriculture Resources
PO Box 428
Holualoa, Hawaii 96725 USA
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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