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Big Island Avocado Festival and a Visit with the Mayor

Aloha All,  My good friend, Dr. Randyl Rupar, is the driving force behind the wonderful Avocado Festival each year.  This Saturday, February 21, will be the 9th Annual festival, which features live music, a myriad of vendor booths, and, of course, lots and lots of avocados!  Avocados are incorporated into interesting and delicious dishes, some of which will be entered in contests and given out as free samples.  This is a free event for the public to attend and located on the magnificent, historic grounds of the Sheraton Kona Resort overlooking lovely Keauhou Bay.  Please come!  For more info, visit www.AvocadoFestival.org.

This festival is a huge amount of work for Randyl, and he and I visited the mayor of the Big Island, Billy Kenoi, on February 10 to ask for his blessing and support of this amazing event.   Mayor Kenoi received us very warmly.  I was pleased to be able to also share my vision of Beyond Organic agriculture with him and his staff.  My concepts were well received, and he thanked both Randyl and me for the work we do.  In turn, we thanked the Mayor for his help in keeping GMOs off of our island and stopping the incinerator project, which supports the return of green waste to our soil through composting and mulch instead of burning it.

Avocado Festival Flyer 2015

Dr. Bogs Awarded Grant to Study Natural Control of Fireweed

Toxic Fireweed Taking Over Pasture

Toxic Fireweed Taking Over Pasture

Sustainable Kohala recently offered grants for new sustainable projects in the North Kohala community on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Dr. Bogs was awarded one of the grants for her research proposal entitled, Controlling Toxic Fireweed Through Natural and Sustainable Means.

The purpose and goals of the project are to develop practical, natural and sustainable methods of control of Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis Poiret, also known as Madagascar ragwort), a highly toxic, extremely invasive, yellow-flowering weed which is taking over pastures in North Kohala.  This weed is liver toxic and has resulted in grazing animal deaths.  While animals try to avoid eating the weed, they accidentally consume it while eating grasses intertwined with it.  Fireweed is crowding out good forage, effectively decreasing pasture grass volume.

How does this project meets the criteria of local sustainability?  Grazing animals and, hence, ranchers and other grazing animal owners are at risk from this highly invasive species which was introduced to this island in the 1980’s.  Current methods of control include spraying toxic herbicides and grazing management, neither of which has proven to be very effective or practical.  For their safety, grazing animals must be removed from pastures treated with herbicides for at least several days, creating a hardship for some livestock owners.  Herbicides are persistent in the environment, some for as long as five years.  Even after the recommended waiting period, herbicide residues may be problematic for grazing animals because they are absorbed by all plants that they contact.  Furthermore, these compounds are toxic to fish and may find their way to ground water and our nearby ocean.  Promoted by the extension service, grazing management has proven to be helpful in some situations, but creates a major hardship in that animals must be removed from the land for up to two years to effect a significant change.

Dr. Bogs’ proposed experiment is based on the work of the famous soil microbiologist, Dr. Elaine Ingham.  Dr. Ingham gave a week long course in Kapaau (North Kohala) in July 2012, which Dr. Bogs attended.  The theory is that soil conditions can be changed to favor the growth of desired plant species while discouraging the growth of weeds.  The soil treatment programs are safe for livestock, so horses will be allowed to graze continually.  The ability to treat a pasture without removing livestock is a major benefit.

Work has already begun on the project, which will run through the end of the year, so stay tuned!

KMN article on microgrant 001

2012 Sustainability Innovation Challenge Award Winner

Dr. Bogs won the agricultural division of the One-Island Sustainability Innovation Challenge for her Beyond Organic Growing System entry!

Here are the results from the One-Island website–

Beyond Organic Growing System ™ (BOGS™)

Entrant: Jana Bogs, PhD., Hawi

Prize: Inn at Kulaniapia retreat

The Beyond Organic Growing System ™ (BOGS™) is a new paradigm of farming which goes beyond traditional organic farming methods by focusing on improving the nutritional content of foods. Food from this system is termed “Nutrition-Farmed™”. Data from analyses of Nutrition-Farmed™ foods compared to USDA food nutrient composition tables show many-fold increases in vital nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc and copper.

Kohala High School Ag Program Grows Again

Written by Andrea Dean | 27 April 2012

Volunteers spent Earth Day reviving the grounds of the Kohala High School Ag Program (Dr. Bogs on right)

For 30 years Uncle David Fuertes was the agriculture teacher at Kohala High School. In its glory days the ag program made $25,000 per year by growing and selling its own products. The program emphasized entrepreneurship and leadership skills, as well as agricultural skills. They had a greenhouse, certified kitchen, four acres of vegetables and animal pastures. Many of Kohala’s leaders today were students who were mentored by David in the Hawai‘i Future Farmers of America (FFA) program—including High School principal Jeanette Snelling, and Adriel Robitaille, the new Ag teacher. After attending college it was Adriel’s dream to come back to Kohala and to revitalize the ag program. That dream is now becoming a reality.

On Earth Day, Saturday, April 21st— former Hawai‘i FFA graduates, All About Trees, Ka Hana No‘eau students, and volunteers from the North Kohala Eat Locally Grown Campaign came together with Uncle David to help Adriel with some major projects at the site.

Crews cleared out invasive African Tulip trees, pulled out stumps from otherwise usable land, cleaned out the greenhouse, moved piles of roofing, laid irrigation pipe and planted two breadfruit trees. Previously, much of the site was literary unearthed—Adriel and the students removed grass that had grown 4 feet tall off the floor of the greenhouse, pulled sinks and tables out of the bushes, and beat back the jungle from the classroom.

Rebuilding the program is a major project, but the Kohala Ag program is already hosting a new chicken coop (with chickens), a pasture with goats, a taro lo‘i and an aquaculture tank (fish coming soon…now that there is water!).

It has been a long wait, but the North Kohala High School Ag program has begun its renaissance, and district families and students are energized.


Andrea Dean, MBA, of Sustainable Initiatives works with communities, businesses and non-profits on initiatives that enhance island economy, environment and community. Andrea is also the Special Projects Coordinator for the Hawai’i Homegrown Food Network, and is co-coordinator of the Ho’oulu ka ‘Ulu – Revitalizing Breadfruit program.

1 Comment

  1. Kaleopono makes this comment

Tuesday, 01 May 2012

I am so glad to learn that the Kohala High Ag Program is being revitalized. Years ago as President of the Hawaii State Young Farmers Association, I collaborated with David Fuertes to recognize and honor students in the North Kohala Future Farmers of America program. When I quite a few years later lived for 10 years in North Kohala, I was dismayed by the absence of the ag (and other trades like woodworking and mechanical) program from the high school curriculum. Does this mean than more generous resources for practical, hands on education are flowing back into DOE? I hope so.

 

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Organic industry keeps on rolling–Zintro article with Dr. Jana Bogs

Organic industry keeps on rolling
Posted on June 2, 2011 by zintro
By Maureen Aylward
The New York Times reports that with the global recession, organic farming and the organic industry is holding steady and growing. We asked our Zintro experts to comment on some reasons for this growth, especially in these tough economic times.

Carlos AgNet, an organics consultant who works in government regulation, says that supply is decades behind demand in the organics industry due to cost and complexity hurdles. “Besides consumer education driving demand, the future of farm regulation will create a more level playing field for certified organic operators,” he says. “With all producers being required to get a Food Safety or GAP certification in the near future, the regulatory cost difference between conventional and organic producers will narrow.”

Mashood Ahmed, and agro-ecologist and food safety and security expert, says that organic products are gaining market share due to a variety of reasons, such as farmer independence, better cultivation practices that allow the farmer to control input costs, and understanding the role of nature. “I have seen many farms becoming less mechanized and reverting back to the conventional plowing and harvesting techniques,” says Ahmed. “This means jobs, and I believe these shifts will keep economies moving in a balanced and rational way.”

Mayte de Groot, a specialist in the Mexican organics market, says that demand is growing faster than production. “The leaders in this space are the European countries (Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium) in production and consumption,” she says. “But many more consumers around the world are slowly shifting consumer habits due to ecological consciousness. Organic distributors and importers in Europe need new supplies because they claim there is not enough variety of organic products available in the market for industry and retail consumption.”

de Groot says that market researchers find it difficult to get figures about organic consumption because there is no official statistical data regarding organic yield production, trade, or consumption worldwide. “In Mexico, even though there are no official statistics about organic product consumption, Mexican companies in this sector are reporting sales increases over 20 percent each year,” she says. “This means greater business for supermarkets, distributors, importers, and farmers and more variety and choices.”

Dr. Jana Bogs thinks that the organic industry is growing because of the passion behind it. “People in the organic industry are on a passionate mission to make the world a better place. Organic farmers feel good about what they grow; organic product companies feel good about what they produce; and consumers feel good about using these products. A lot of people are aware and concerned about the planet, so buying organic is helping them do something good for our environment,” she says.

“Scientific studies prove that children who are fed organic food have significantly fewer toxic chemicals in their blood. As cancer rates rise, consumers look for ways to decrease their personal toxic loads. The extra cost for organics is justified, and we are seeing consumers voting for organics with their pocketbooks.”

Organic–it’s not just a label on good products–it’s a mission!

People in the organic industry are on a passionate mission to make the world a better place. It’s not a profession one enters just for the money–it’s about doing things right. Organic farmers feel good about what they grow, organic product companies feel good about what they produce, and consumers feel good about using these products. A lot of people are aware and concerned about the planet, so buying organic is helping them do something.

Besides feeling good emotionally, organic products help people feel good physically because they contain fewer toxic chemicals. That starts in the field with the farmer not having to “suit up” with a full body suit and a gas mask to spray toxic chemicals. Farming can be fun again! Scientific studies prove that children fed organic food have significantly fewer toxic chemicals in their blood. As cancer rates rise, consumers look for ways to decrease their personal toxic loads. The extra cost is absolutely justified, and the buying public votes “organic” with their dollars.

Other scientific studies show increased levels of antioxidants in organically-grown foods. Again, this appeals to the health conscious consumers. This quest for greater nutrient density is being answered by researchers such as myself who are moving “beyond (just) organic” to nutrient enhancement of food crops. This is accomplished through careful testing of soil and plants, and then supplying the plants with optimal nutrition so they can express their potentials. These nutrient-rich plants, in turn, supply us with outstanding quality food. Nutritionally-enhanced vegetables can have up to 10 times the mineral content of typical produce. This naturally-enhanced “beyond organic” food is the next big wave in the organic industry!

Article on “What’s Next for the Organic Industry”

What’s next for the organic industry in the US organic food and organic product areas? What are the challenges to future growth?      Posted on April 1, 2011 by zintro

In 2009, total US organic sales for food and non-food products were $26.6 billion and growing. With mass market retailers increasing their offerings of organics, where might the industry be headed?

The US organic products industry has seen strong growth over the years and should expect to see continued growth, says Peter Leighton, an expert and recognized leader in the areas of consumer products, nutraceuticals, and human nutrition. “In spite of weak economic conditions, the category remains vibrant,” he explains. “There are a host of drivers that fuel this growth, but the critical component is the acceleration of scale. As demand increases for organic products, more organic inputs are allocated, thereby reducing the endpoint costs for consumers.” This, in turn, fuels greater growth.

Environmental issues are increasingly playing a strong role in that growth, notes Leighton. “More data is demonstrating the value of sustainable agricultural practices and the health and environmental benefits of natural pesticides,” he says. While to date one of the greatest consumer triggers for organic products has been the health halo of the products, increasingly the industry will see environmental and ecological triggers driving consumer action, as these have a much more significant point of differentiation.

Carlos-AgNet, an expert in organic product lines and a consultant to organic companies and certification groups, says that the saving grace for the organics industry is a decade’s old demand that has seen supply increases. “This demand is providing unprecedented opportunity for those that can develop a retail organic product,” says Carlos-AgNet. “The industry has recently seen an explosion of beverages and beauty products.”

One of the challenges that Carlos-AgNet sees for the organics industry is the certification process. “Basic standards for organic certification receive a wide interpretation within the national standard and between countries, which inhibits trade in international products, such as food and textiles,” he says. New product areas in the organics industry bring with them a new generation of standards that are difficult for producers to sort out. Instead, cosmetic and food manufacturers are choosing voluntary or non-organic standards, such as natural, to avoid having to go through the national organic standards.

“The US market is decades behind Europe in organics and agriculture transformation,” says Carlos-AgNet. “A real threat to US producers could be the replacement of US producers of agricultural products with those from more advanced agricultural economies.” He states that this shift may not affect the US organic retail market.

Dr. Jana Bogs is looking beyond organics to the next step the industry might take to increase nutrition in organic fruits and vegetables and natural ingredients. Bogs is an expert in food science, horticulture, nutrition, and agriculture.

“Several scientific studies have shown significant decreases in nutrient density in fruits and vegetables over the past half century,” Bogs says. “There is a lot more research to be done, but we currently have enough knowledge to produce significantly higher quality produce at the current time. Some producers understand how to grow beyond-organic foods, but they need a better marketing system.” She adds that food and nutrition supplement companies who are looking to capture a larger percentage of the market would do well to look into these optimally-grown foods.

Great Event!

Awesome!

The Best of Hawaii!

Hana Hou–Encore, Encore!–She’s Back—By Popular Demand

Dr. Jana Bogs, nutritionist/horticulturist, gave a well-attended presentation sponsored by Sustainable Kohala on “Gardening for Greater Nutrition” in February. From comments received, it was evident that the information was very much appreciated by attendees. Many people said they wanted to attend, but just couldn’t make it that night. Others, who would have liked to attend, heard about it after the fact. So, Artesia, in Hawi, is sponsoring Dr. Bogs to speak on the same topic again, Sunday, April 10 at 3pm.

This free presentation is all about “creating health from the soil up”. Come learn about how the way we grow food affects its nutrient content, flavor, shelf life, and even pest resistance!

See how growing in a “Beyond Organic” way can help plants express their genetic potentials, providing us with life-enhancing nutrients so we can express our genetic potentials.

Dr. Bogs will give a powerpoint presentation (approximately 1 ½ hours), followed by a question/answer session. This event is free and open to the public. Artesia, a beautiful setting, is located at 55-3584 Kaauhuhu Road (the transfer station road) in Hawi. When going mauka, Artesia is just before the transfer station, on the opposite (right) side of the road. Look for survey tape streamers on a tree out front. Contact Dr. Bogs at 938-9888 for more information.

The Future of Farming

Published in The Kohala Mountain News, Story and photo by Dr. Frederick Kennedy

Dr. Jana Bogs and Sustainable Kohala will host an evening presentation on February 13 to discuss a fundamental paradigm shift in farming and gardening–to a focus on growing more “nutrient rich” foods.

Bogs will describe the history which explains how the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables has suffered dramatic losses over the past 60 years due to the influence of big agribusiness. She will show how nutrient density can be regained.

Due to the ‘unsustainable’ practices of agribusiness farming, the nutritional value of fruits, vegetables is much lower than it was early last century. USDA documentation and several scientific studies prove this claim.

Nutrient testing of produce reveals that, in some cases, organic produce has a higher nutritional value. However, this is not a consistent finding, and, unfortunately, sometimes organics have lower nutrient levels than conventional. An apple can be perfect by organic standards (no bug or weed killers) and yet be significantly lower in nutritional value than a conventionally-grown apple. Soil mineral balance is a critical factor which is often overlooked.

Bogs explains, “In the 1970’s, as some people became aware of what big agribusiness was doing to our fundamental sources of nutrition, our fruits, vegetables and grains, the need arose to distinguish healthy food from plants that were grown expressly for profit margin. That need was filled by establishing standards and practices that would assure food buyers they were not getting pesticides, herbicides, chemicals (such as left-over bomb materials) and, later, genetically modified organisms in their food. It was a new movement and direction in farming and gardening, and it was called “organic.”

Today’s organic standards and practices tell the farmer/gardener what he/she cannot do, in order to earn the label “organically certified.” The standards and practices are ‘restrictive’ rather than ‘prescriptive.’

Bogs will explain how a new paradigm in gardening and farming is going “beyond organic” to “nutrient rich” standards and practices. This is a perspective that, while it meets and exceeds organic standards, it is prescriptive rather than merely restrictive. It looks to see what is needed to optimize the genetic potential of the plant. Rather than telling the farmer/gardener what he/she cannot do, it prescribes for them what they need to do to grow the very best quality food.

Bogs defines “best” for the consumer as the best tasting, the highest nutritional value, the most appealing and beautiful; for the merchant as the longest shelf-life and the most desirable product; for the grower as the highest yield, the lowest insect pressure and the most disease resistant; and for the environment as practices which ensure clean air, water and soil.

The February 13 presentation will take place at 7 p.m. at the Kohala Intergenerational Center (KIC) located behind the Hisaoka Gym in Kamehameha Park. The event is free and open to the public. Dr. Jana Bogs is a nutritionist, food scientist, and horticulturist.