UH West Oʻahu will host the opening day of the Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United 2017 State Convention, providing the campus an opportunity to showcase its new Sustainable Community Food Systems program and facilities. The convention is scheduled for Oct. 6 to 8.
The convention is expected to draw farmers and others interested in regenerative agriculture, or farming practices that focus on improving soil health, cropping systems resilience and sustainability. The Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United operates with the belief that an increasing number of small to mid-sized diversified family farms implementing regenerative farming techniques will help build a more resilient and economically vibrant agricultural system able to meet the food productions goals of the state of Hawaii.
State Sen. Mike Gabbard and Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture Chairman Scott Enright are scheduled to speak to the convention. UH West Oʻahu’s Albie Miles, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Community Food Systems, is also scheduled to give a talk entitled “Agroecology and Sustainable Community Food Systems.” Dr. Miles and UH West Oʻahu staff will lead tours and discussions of the new Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Community Food Systems (SCFS), the campus’s Student Organic Garden and the long-term vision for education, youth leadership training, research and community engagement.
UH West Oʻahu offers a Bachelor of Applied Sciences degree with a concentration in Sustainable Community Food Systems, which is designed to prepare students for work in multiple fields, including sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, agriculture and food policy, education, business, non-profit organizations and other work. UH West Oʻahu is a co-sponsor of the convention.
The convention will include a panel discussion consisting of Sen. Gabbard, Chair of the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee; Chairman Scott Enright; and State Rep. Richard Creagan, Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture. The panel will address current legislative issues relating to food and agriculture in Hawaiʻi. Dr. Ted Radovich, an Associate Specialist with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources is also scheduled to speak on the topics of sustainable and organic farming systems.
Hawaiʻi Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is scheduled to attend the convention on Saturday, when the gathering shifts to Kahumana Organic Farm. On September 21, 2017, Gabbard announced a $1.6 million federal award to MA’O Organic Farms in Waiʻanae to fund the building of a produce processing facility to enhance and scale their farming operations and nationally recognized youth leadership training program.
MAʻO Organic Farm is a key community partner and helped provide foundational input into the creation of UH West Oʻahu’s Sustainable Community Food Systems (SCFS) program starting in 2013. Along with MA’O and many other farms across Oʻahu, the SCFS program uses Kahumana Organic Farm in Lualualei Valley as a senior practicum site and field trip destination. The convention will shift to Kahumana for its final two days, including hands-on workshops.
The National Farmers Union, a national organization representing farmers, ranchers, and fisherman, is scheduled to formally make Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United a chartered state chapter during the convention. NFU President, Roger Johnson and a delegation from the organization will also attend the convention.
For more information, please see the following URL: https://hfuuhi.org/2017-state-convention/