It’s easier to embrace change when success is witnessed and measurable
Mission - Transfer knowledge to famers and policy makers to facilitate conversion to regenerative, high yield agricultural practices.
Need - No farm in Hawaii is successfully and comprehensively demonstrating regenerative and probiotic agricultural practices that incorporate nutrition grown principles. Most conventional and organic farms in Hawaii employ methods that are not sustainable, impact the environment, and yield low quality food. Organic and permaculture farms may employ aspects of regenerative farming, but none do it comprehensively and none include fermentations as a foundational element.
Goal –1.) Accelerate the adoption of high yield, pro-biotic and regenerative agricultural practices that produce nutrient dense food and 2.) Transfer 35+ years of Hawaii based organic farming experience to next generation of farmers.
- Demonstrate that yields and nutrition increase as biological production and ecological structure become increasingly more complex. This complexity increases the resiliancy of the farm as defined by the ability to rapidly adapt to changes.
- Host six on-farm tours and meetings of farmers and key agricultural policy makers and farmers including representatives from the State Legislature Agricultural Committees, University of Hawaii, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the Board of the Hawaii Farmers Union United.
- On farm mentoring program established. Two to four participants at a time commit to six months of mentoring. Priority given to at-risk young men.
Above, nutrition grown baby romaine lettuce. When ready for harvest, this nutrition grown lettuce will be four pounds per head compared to one pound per head for conventional and other organically grown local produce.
Our practices will model increasing biomass, biological activity, and intentional re-mineralization through,
- Inoculations with balanced microorganism cultures and fermentations. The recent surge in the use of microrganisms in Hawaii has centered on a system that creates an imbalance of microbes and typically an over growth of one fungus. system also incorporates animals, pigs and ducks, which is an unnecessary expense.
- Nutrient recycling through fermentation, not composting, which decreases labor, increases fertility faster, and is more efficient than composting.
- Mulch and no till practices. No production farms are till-free. There is a misconception that tilling is required for high yield. Higher yield will be created when the mycorrhizae spheres are left in tact year after year instead of being disturbed or destroyed one to three times a year per typical practices. The greater and healthier the mycorrhizae sphere, the greater the benefits to the farmer: increased nutrient uptake, drought tolerance, disease resistance, more efficient use of water, germination rates, etc.
- Bio-char production and applications. Very few farmers use biochar, but it is key for establishing homes for microbes and stabilizing soil nutrient inputs. Calcium requirements drop or are eliminated after five years of applications, because calcium is recycled and held in soil.
- Rock mineral applications. USDA nutrition databases for food show significant drops in minerals in our food over the last 50 years. Very few farmers use or understand the value of rock minerals, which contribute at least 57 different minerals.
- Cropping to increase mineral bio-availability. Crops such as comfrey and hemp can move minerals such as calcium from the sub soil to topsoil, while increasing the bioavailability to other crops.
- Island Herbs propriatory “lasagna” mineral amendment layering. 27 component system that is based on 35 years of farming in Hawaii and the special needs of Hawaii soils.
- Cultivar selection and seed saving for optimizing localized plant adaptations. After just three plantings from successively collected seeds, we typically see tremendous difference plant health.
- Industrial hemp production. We are participating in the first hemp (food and fiber) growing pilot project in the State and hope to move to a proof of concept for production farming in late 2015.