In June 2010, O’ahu RC&D awarded seven agricultural businesses a total of almost $200,000 in support of projects to expand or enhance their operations. Funding for the program is provided by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Individual awards ranged from $4,400 to $40,000. In no particular order, the grantees and their projects are described below.
Tin Roof Ranch
Project Description: Tin Roof Ranch will expand its poultry and produce farm in an effort to meet the community demand for organic, local, pasture raised chickens, turkeys and fruit. This project requires extensive land clearing and field prep including boulder removal, fencing, and planting both pasture and fruit trees. It also includes purchasing chickens and turkeys, and building additional coops, purchasing a container to store equipment and feed, and building a water catchment system.
Project Description: Mari’s Gardens’ commitment to sustainable agricultural practices has extended to the development of an aquaponic lettuce production facility with the goal of producing a high quality product with minimal resource demand. The proposed project will expand the existing aquaponic operations at Mari’s Gardens for higher production by increasing the number of tables and benches for lettuce production, adding fish ponds and associated accessories, constructing a processing shed to prepare the product for market, and installing additional photovoltaic panels. The expansion will allow for a 300% increase in lettuce production, with no soil impact and minimal water requirements.
Susan & Jason Akamine
Project Description: The project aims to achieve profitable and sustainable aquaculture through a substantial increase in the existing aquaculture program, with emphasis on food fish (tilapia and catfish). Older tanks will be replaced, and approximately forty new tanks will be installed, substantially increasing production. Smaller tank size will allow for customized conditions for different varieties and ages of fish. Species selection will be based on tolerance to wide ranging environmental conditions, growth rate, and disease resistance.
Project Description: Pang’s Nursery is a wholesale nursery business that has been growing ornamental and edible potted plants for retail garden shops in Hawaii since 1970. This project entails constructing a new greenhouse to protect crops from inclement weather, installing growing benches, and renovating the existing irrigation system. These changes will significantly improve existing growing facilities and increase the production area, allowing profits to grow and additional staff to be hired.
Matsuda-Fukuyama Farms, Inc.
Project Description: Matsuda-Fukuyama Farms, Inc. has been farming for three generations on 150 acres on the North Shore. During the past five years, they have begun to produce value-added products from fruits and vegetables grown on the farm, including jams, honey, teas, and bath and body products. Currently, the processing must be done at a commercial kitchen on Maui. With this project, Matsuda-Fukuyama Farms will complete the last step in establishing its own commercial kitchen by purchasing and installing a water-treatment system. Once the commercial kitchen is up and running, the company will be able to process all value-added products in-house, reducing costs by about 25% and giving them more control of the recipes and the final products.
Takenaka Landscaping Company, Inc.
Project Description: This Kunia nursery will develop and install a streamlined production system for landscaping plants and organic vegetable seedlings for homeowners, landscapers, and farmers. The vegetable seedlings will also be used on a ten-acre farm for organic vegetable production. The company aims to provide the farm and home garden community an opportunity to purchase healthy vegetable starts grown in locally-produced organic potting mixes, as well as a wide variety of potted landscaping plants.
Katsuhiro Kobashigawa Farm
This project supports construction of a packing and processing facility for green onions that will be compliant with new food safety standards and requirements. The facility will be segregated into three sections: a processing area, a packing area, and a refrigeration area. All three sections will be enclosed with fiberglass reinforced plastics and will have plastic curtain to prevent entry of foreign objects or creatures. The most important components of the new facility are stainless steel tables and tubs, construction of a drainage system, and epoxy paint for the flooring of all three sections. Once certified, the Farm will be in compliance allowing sales to major buyers.