Hawai’i Women Farmers Network

Regenerative Agriculture Workshops

Regenerative Agriculture Workshop Series

The purpose of this workshop series is to provide the Hawaii Women Farmer Network (WFN) with an introduction to regenerative agriculture principles and practices, focusing on soil health management. This series will explore how farmers in Hawaii can better manage the health and functionality of their soil as a pathway to improving their operation. The workshops will support farmers in identifying regenerative agriculture principles and practices they may be using already and assist farmers in monitoring soil health for improvements.

Our farmer-to-farmer network is continuously trialing new practices, sharing what is learned, and collaborating to grow local agriculture together. The workshops are intended to provide a farmer-to-farmer learning platform for the WFN and to explore how local producers and other experts in the field are integrating soil health practices into existing farm management systems and decision-making. 

This four-part workshop series will feature the leadership of female farmers from a diverse spectrum of operations across the islands. Although these workshops are intentionally designed to provide an inspirational and inviting space for wahine in agriculture, these workshops are open to all local producers and agriculture enthusiasts.

Registration is now open for each of the virtual and on-farm workshops, which will begin June 1, 2021. Please click the button below to register. You can check out the workshop topics and register below, view farmer videos, and join our Facebook Group to begin actively participating in our network of farm mentors and agriculture professionals. For those who are unable to attend, you can still view workshop recordings and access workshop materials on our WFN webpage.

In addition to attending the workshop series you can also generate a personalized list of soil health goals for your farm by taking our Regenerative Agriculture Quiz.

How are Farms in Hawaii Integrating Regenerative Practices

SBH Taro Farms

Sierra is a 6th generation wahine taro (kalo) farmer. She has recently assumed the farm management role from her grandfather. Watch Sierra’s video to learn how she is focusing on building relationships, tools and resources to begin integrating regenerative practices, starting with soil health testing, water quality testing and increasing biodiversity through crop rotation methods on her farm.

Sweetland Farm

Emma manages the 86 acres of Sweetland Farm with her family. As the only certified goat dairy on Oahu, their 300+ goats produce a variety of gourmet goat cheese products operating on a regenerative grazing system. Watch Emma’s video to learn how this system of grazing and best management practices cycles nutrients, increases biodiversity and contributes towards the health of both the on-farm ecosystem and the surrounding greater ecosystem.

Maiden Hawaii Naturals

Kelly co-manages the oldest biodiesel company in America, Pacific BioDisel. The philosophy of their business is based on regenerative principles and their 114-acre farm is an extension of this model. In addition to stressing the importance of using renewable energy, equipment to conserve water and improve crop infiltration, and recycling of resources, Kelly is a big advocate for increasing plant and soil biodiversity through cover cropping. She points out how this is a particularly important step towards improving soil health as Hawaii transitions from a predominantly monoculture to a diversified agriculture system. Watch this video to learn how Kelly’s is converting cooking oil into a valuable commodity and in-turn, supplying restaurants with high-quality culinary oils grown from their sunflower and other crops.

“Growers that seek to regenerate the ecological services they use, often work through trial and error, to develop a site-specific suite of practices to improve soil health and nutrient cycling, with the goal of increasing yield, profitability, and overall, long-term resilience for their operation.”

McGuire, 2018

Workshop Series Topics & Learning Objectives

Workshop 1: Introduction to regenerative agriculture principles for soil health management [Virtual workshop]
  • Understand what soil is and the links between soil biology and soil health;
  • Be able to identify and link regenerative agriculture principles with improved soil health;
  • Understand the productivity benefits of improved soil health for farmers;
  • Learn about NRCS’s Four Principles to Building Healthy Soil and the Steps to Developing a Soil Health Management System.
Workshop 2: How to monitor, assess and set soil health goals on your farm [In-Person Workshop]
  • Understand the difference between testing for the needs of soil nutrients versus soil health;
  • Know how  to collect and submit a sample for soil health testing;
  • Learn in-field techniques to test soil health using the NRCS In-Field Soil Health Assessment Guide;
  • Be able to assess and relate soil health characteristics with observed management concerns such as compacted soil and poor water infiltration; 
  • Be able to access and use our WFN Regenerative Agriculture Assessment Tool to develop a custom list of ‘Soil Health Goals’ based on resource concerns for your farm.
Panel Speakers 
Workshop 3: Using cover crops and organic amendments to meet your farm’s soil health goals [In-Person Workshop]
  • Know how specific cover cropping systems and organic fertilizers can be selected to meet your soil health goals for your farm;
  • Understand how to account for the contributions of cover crops and organic fertilizers into your farm’s nutrient management system; 
  • Be able to link improved soil health and nutrient management needs on your farm; 
  • Be able to identify changes in soil health after implementation of new management practice, focusing on trials and improvements from using cover crops and organic fertilizers;
  • Become familiar with an in-field soil incubator test to determine the amount of microbial activity in your soil;
  • Learn how to setup a simple on-farm fertilizer trail and the results other farmers are seeing.
Panel Speakers 
Workshop 4: Integrating Practices and Setting up for a Soil Health Plan [Virtual Workshop] 
  • Introduction to a soil health plan in Hawaii, how it is generated, and how to use it on your farm;
  • Working understanding of the USDA NRCS programs and resources that support management practices to improve soil health and the development of a soil health plan;
  • SWCD regional resources and planning to support soil health management;
  • Soil health testing indicators in Hawaii;
  • Using soil health testing as a management tool to monitor continuous improvements in soil health over time.
Panel Speakers 

Increasing organic matter, improving nutrient use efficiency, increasing aggregate stability, enhancing and diversifying soil biology and habitat, and increasing water infiltration and water holding capacity are objectives farmers must continuously consider in their management decisions and field operations if they want to make soil health a priority.”

These workshops are generously funded by the Atherton Foundation and the National Resource Conservation and Development Council.