Field day promotes sustainable agriculture

James Brewbaker
James Brewbaker
Ray Uchida
Ray Uchida
Martha Coleman
Martha Coleman

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

WAIMANALO (KHNL) - With the economy unable to sprout out of its slump, more and more people are turning to sustainable agriculture.

The University of Hawaii is giving the public a closer look at some exciting research and outreach activities.

UH-Manoa's College of Tropical Agriculture hosted its 20th Annual Waimanalo Research Station Field Day.

Its goals are to get people to do their own farming and grow their own food.

Corn seed is the number one agricultural crop in Hawaii. Researchers say that's why it's important to continue to develop new technologies to grow it.

"A really important part of our day and our program is to talk about improved sweet corn for Hawaii, you simply can't buy corn from New York State and grow it in Hawaii," UH-Manoa professor James Brewbaker said.

From growing corn hybrids to combat viruses to teaching people about how to grow their own food, this field day is a learning experience for everyone who attended.

"We'd like to get the people familiar with agricultural research that the university is doing and also how important agriculture is to the State of Hawaii," Event organizer Ray Uchida said.

The research field station in Waimanalo is one of about 20 active field stations across the state managed by UH.

"It's very important especially today with the economy is, we'd like to get people to become sustainable by doing their own farming and growing their own vegetables," Uchida said.

That includes corn, which researchers see as a crucial crop not only for people but animals as well.

"In the long-term, we're going to see corn become an important food for beef, we're talking about range fed beef, as they have in Australia," Brewbaker said.

Students got the chance to teach the public about their work in the field. This included a biotechnology outreach program. It's aimed to get more feedback from more people.

"The best thing about being here today is that you get to meet members from the public that have different questions and concerns that bring to light things you're not aware of that people were thinking about," UH-Manoa graduate student Martha Coleman said.

A helpful partnership growing with each seed that's planted. This Waimanalo Research Station Field Day doesn't happen every year.

This is the first one in a few years. Kapiolani Community College culinary students were also there, making numerous corn dishes from the corn grown there for people to sample.