Leeward & Kunia Farms & Farmers, the Irradiator, Alumni Potluck

Seminar 2 Day 3 – Oah‘u
After meeting at the university laboratory school in Manoa, our classmate Miki was graciously waiting for us to transport us in a short bus (school bus).  Not every class comes with such a cutie as a driver. Yeah!  it was nice to remember those old student days.

Derrick was waiting for us with the rest of the class at Ma’o farm.  This non profit organization took organic farming to the next level at the same time that it serves as a tool for local youth to embrace a higher level career in agriculture. Derrick explained the benefits the youth gain when they embrace responsibility and feel the challenge.  Derrick and his team mates at Ma’o farms use organic practices and specialized equipment to control weeds.  The attitude of this team is to make out of the challenges opportunities to think out of the box and solve problems.  The quality of the Ma’o farm produce is well receive by customers like “foodland”, one of the prime customers and cooperators of this organic farming initiative.

After touring the farm and learning about the challenges and accomplishments of the students and the administration then we had an opportunity to talk to Mr. Gary Forth.  He has been integrating his knowledge and energy to move Ma’o farm forward.

Touring the Ma’o farm I was able to capture this moment! Not exactly sure what was the message but seems like Pauline is in the middle of a dispute about farming here! Peter has been working on teaching us good negotiation practices.  Seems like Cynthia and Kirby put the learning tools to work already!

Right after Ma’o farm we moved into our next destination, Kahumana Farms!  This place seems to be very complex and different.  The architecture of this place is very funky and remind us “the hobbit”.  A mix of initiatives resulted in gorgeous organic farming! At Kahumana farms the people look into their spiritualism and farming as a therapy for healing.
The Kahumana organic farm includes a full integration of fish residues, chicken manure and legume residues as a source of nutrients for the diverse crops they have.
Derrick and Cynthia are still looking for the chickens!
Nice pictures of the organic crops used at Kahumana Farm Cafe. Our class did have the opportunity to taste the flavors of Kahumana organic greens, pasta with fresh vegetables and refreshing edible hibiscus beverage!
During the day Peter gave us some exercises to test our problem solving skills and ability to deal and execute an emergency response plan.  The example used was very close to reality and essentially was a situation that Jennica was identified with.  The emergency response plan was related to an oceanic conflict and domino effect of an external factor (weather) causing the leverage of a salmon that is not mean to be integrated into the food chain.
Peter challenged again the team members by pairing members to test their negotiation skills.  A theoretical situation about a soprano contract negotiation provided the class members with enough opportunity to put into practices basics of negotiation!
After our session with Peter we went back on the road inside our short bus to learn about the “irradiation” method to treat fruits for exportation at Pa’ina Hawai’i.  A reactor of cobalt under the water has been use in this facility to treat papayas among other fruits and vegetables to pass inspection for exportation purposes.  The radiation makes the insects infertile in case they are transported and release outside Hawaii.  The treatment is an acceptable and alternative method to improve food safety and qualify products under exportation standards.
Lyle Wong, PhD performed a demonstration using the reactor.  Our class had the opportunity to ask questions and to learn about the radiation process and facility available to farmers.
After the radiation demonstration Kirby decided to check his height inside the short bus hitting the roof with his head! No more comments!
Right before our alumni party Neil Ho from Ho Farms discussed with our class members farming challenges.  Neil and his family have been farming for a long time on Oahu.  They have more than 70 acres in production.  During the past 5 years they have been improving farming practices and searching for diversity to make their farming operation more sustainable. Food safety is a big barrier for medium and small farmers.  The integration of sanitation facilities is imminent in the near future but medium and small farmers aren’t ready to reach those standards!  The investment will be huge and could result in the extinction of small farmers on Hawaii.
Stevie Whalen explained the rationale behind the 4 farm parks at Kunia valley plus the challenges of keeping the village housing up to date!
Then let the party start! Skip Bittenbender provided nice music “very mello” while the beef and food in general were getting served!
No comments!
To finish our discussion Jennica reminded every one about the mission/vision statement “assignment”???? Not sure what was that!
At the very end the super duo Pauline and Donna announced the upcoming workshop for Sunday and finished the activity with a nice nice nice and big smile!
and of course we all missed Kim who was dealing with a vehicle mechanical failure!  We are all sorry for Kim and are looking forward to hear the story tomorrow Sunday!
Mahalo!

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