Waimanalo Research Station launches crowdsourcing campaign

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Ted Radovich, (808) 956-7909
Specialist, Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, CTAHR
Miles Hakoda, (808) 956-3093
Director, Office of Communications Services, CTAHR
Posted: Mar 21, 2014

Native Hawaiian la'au lapa'au, or healing herbs, growing aquaponically at the Waimanalo Station.
Native Hawaiian la'au lapa'au, or healing herbs, growing aquaponically at the Waimanalo Station.
Rendering of Learning Pavilion.
Rendering of Learning Pavilion.

The Waimanalo Research Station of UH-Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, known for its community outreach and education, is now itself turning to the community. Faculty and staff at the station are launching a crowdsourcing campaign to build a roof that will complete the construction of a Learning Pavilion to provide a venue for classes and workshops and shelter for visitors.

Crowdsourcing is a method of grassroots fundraising in which individuals, fledgling companies, bands or theater troupes, non-profits like the Waimanalo Research Station, and many other groups set up “campaigns” to raise money on websites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Visitors to the sites may pledge as little as $1 to $5, depending on the campaign, which has a specified time, often a month or two, to reach its funding goal. Goals also range from as little as $500 into the tens of thousands of dollars.

The Waimanalo Station has been in the news recently thanks to its highly popular taro and sweet potato field days, at which growers, Native Hawaiian groups, and the general public gathered to learn about these indigenous and culturally important plants and their implications for island food security. The station is also known for the help its aquaponics experts give to community groups and individual families seeking to become more self-sufficient. Faculty and staff also offer hands-on learning to elementary and high schools and Master Gardeners. Last year, more than 2,500 people came to events at the station, and the numbers are projected to be higher this year.

Accommodation for all these visitors and students can be a problem. Since their original classroom collapsed in a 2011 storm, temporary tents have been erected to shelter class and workshop participants. Partial funding has been granted by the Castle Foundation, CTAHR’s capacity-building grant, and O‘ahu County to build the base and columns of the new Waimanalo Learning Pavilion, which will be able to accommodate 100 students at a time, but an additional $30,000 is needed to add the roof to the pavilion. The Station hopes to raise these funds with its crowdsourcing campaign.

“Engaging the community is a high priority for CTAHR,” says sustainable agriculture expert Dr. Theodore Radovich, part of the team creating the campaign. “This pavilion will help us showcase some of the great work happening at the station and really help build a living laboratory for those in the community who are interested in agriculture, sustainable and organic food production and self sufficiency.”

The Learning Pavilion campaign may be viewed at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hawai-i-on-farm-learning-pavilion/x/3374229.

To find out more about Waimanalo Station’s role in sustainable agriculture, sign up for Hanai‘Ai, the newsletter of CTAHR’s Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/SustainAg/news/index.html

For more information, visit: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu