University Of Hawaii Maui College has a vegetable farm on campus and it is currently in business. The Agriculture and Natural Resources program has teamed up with an organization called GoFarm Hawaii to train aspiring farmers and they’ve grown a variety of produce such as sweet corn, zucchini and patty pan squash, field and hydroponic lettuce, cherry tomatoes, herbs, eggplant, swiss chard, beans, honey, and bouquets of flowers. Come and Shop today (Holiday Poinsettias) from 11-2 or on December 3, 11:30 – 1:00 and December 5, 9:00-12:00 (Other Produce.)
Hawaii’s farmer base is an average age of 60 years old, and young people don’t seem to be interested in continuing family style farms. This is considered a red flag for Hawaii because we rely on and import about 92 percent of our food, including two-thirds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Just last March when the Pandemic began we experienced the problem with relying on outside sources, as shelves of essential goods became emptied due to frantic hoarding. To combat this, Hawaii’s leaders in agriculture intend to prepare our state for a more plentiful and healthy future.
The program consists of five courses over a span of two semesters. In the fall, students learn sustainable agriculture techniques necessary to run a farm in Maui’s growing agriculture economy. They visit various farms around the island to see the farm systems that produce the food we see in stores. On campus, the students use a 10,700 sq. ft. greenhouse and 1.5 acres of fields and landscapes to grow more than 70 vegetables, flowers, and honey. In November the program began selling a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box. In the spring semester, the agriculture students will run their own farm with minimal instruction from faculty. The students prepare the soil, set up irrigation, plant seeds, and do tons of weeding. Then, in April, they harvest and package the veggies for a new cycle of CSA customers. After completion of the program, students can either continue on in pursuit of the agriculture and natural resources degree or they can start working at a local farm.
If you want to get your hands on some of the local produce grown on campus, visit our farmer’s market located at the ULU ag building cluster. Enter campus at the Recycling Center and park in the lot, then walk into campus between the greenhouse and science building. You will see the green GoFarm sign on your left. And don’t forget- in terms of essential resources like fresh produce- a farm means a future.