Ho`olehua Ohana Garden to Farm
UH Extension Service News Release
Here in Ho`olehua, many families have a garden. Subsistence agriculture or farming is a way of life for many. Subsistence agriculture is self-sufficiency farming in which the farmers focus on growing enough food to feed themselves and their families. The typical subsistence farm has a range of crops and animals needed by the family to eat for a period of time.
The Ohana Garden to Farm program is designed to first get homesteaders interested in growing their own food. The intent is to eventually transition them from gardening to small scale farming once they know what they can grow best and have a feel for the resources needed to increase production beyond subsistence.
The first round of the Ho`olehua Ohana Garden to Farm program kicked on May 2 with orientation and then met Mondays for the next six weeks. The class was presented by the Hawaiian Home Lands Agriculture Extension Program and the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Molokai Extension Office. It was sponsored by the Molokai Native Hawaiian Beginning Farmer Program.
Nine participants enrolled in the six-week program. Some have not gardened in years, some had tried gardening and not been successful, and others just wanted to learn new gardening techniques. The class was hands-on with the class learning how to conduct germination tests, learning how to start vegetables from seed, when and how to transplant vegetable seedlings, as well as, how to identify various pests and diseases. Classes were also held on organic pest control and plant propagation. Each participant received a soil analysis complements of the Beginning Farmer Program.
Participants increased awareness of the importance of sustainable agriculture, knowledge of gardening and crops. They gained familiarity with organic pest control methods in gardening and alternative production techniques for vegetable crops. In addition, participants increased interest on farming small scale as viable commercial opportunity in the future and gained a greater understanding of the potential for development of businesses dealing vegetable production.