The GoFarm Hawaiʻi beginning farmer training program, a collaboration between the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Windward Community College and UH’s Agribusiness Incubator Program, received more than $250,000 in funding from the Ulupono Fund at the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation and Kamehameha Schools.
This money will allow GoFarm Hawaiʻi to purchase equipment, access facilities and fund support operations. New GoFarm Hawaiʻi sites at Kauaʻi Community College and Leeward Community College are also launching this spring, expanding GoFarm Hawaiʻi’s reach and impact on developing new farmers for Hawaiʻi.
GoFarm Hawaiʻi is aligned with the Ulupono Initiative’s support of increased local food production and Kamehameha School’s 2009 Strategic Agricultural Plan Goal 4: Growing Hawaiian Farmers Initiative.
GoFarm Hawai‘i is a comprehensive and practical training program built around the real-world needs of tomorrow’s farmers. It involves several stages of increasing commitment and learning, from an initial AgCurious seminar to a series of AgXposure workshops to a nine-month AgSchool course, followed by two years of incubation support for the new farmers while they grow crops on land provided by the program.
All aspects of farmer training from crop selection and farm equipment instruction to pesticide information and business plan guidance are covered. The programʻs goal is to develop aspiring farmers who can provide local food and other agricultural products for Hawaiʻi while being compensated fairly for their efforts
The program, which started in 2012, recently graduated its first cohort of students and is halfway to graduating its second cohort. A third cohort kicks off with the AgCurious seminar to be held at Windward Community College on March 3.
GoFarm Hawaiʻi is currently supported by significant in-kind contributions from the collaborators as well as grants from the U.S. Department of Labor and indirectly through a grant to the Agribusiness Incubator Program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture division.