Kauai CC’s Aquaponics and Apiary programs pass a $25,000 milestone in sales

Kauaʻi Community College
Camilla Matsumoto, (808) 245-8280
Community Relations & Special Projects, Chancellor's Office
Posted: Aug 15, 2016

Dr. Georgeanne Purvinis scrapes off the caps of honeycombs to harvest a new batch of honey.
Dr. Georgeanne Purvinis scrapes off the caps of honeycombs to harvest a new batch of honey.
Ueli Muller sells Kaua`i CC produce at the Kaua`i Community Market​
Ueli Muller sells Kaua`i CC produce at the Kaua`i Community Market​

Lihue.  Ueli Muller, manager of Kaua`i Community College’s Aquaponics program, proudly announced that since 2013, the College has sold over $25,000 of produce and honey cultivated in its Aquaponics and Apiary facilities at the Kaua`i Community Market. The Market, held every Saturday in the campus front parking lot from 9:30 am – 1:00 pm, was voted Best Farmer’s Market every year since 2012.  Frequented by visitors from other islands, states and countries, with residents of all ages and from all parts of the island, it has become a gathering place where healthy, freshly produced food is abundant and ready to take home and enjoy.

Muller reported that over the years Kaua`i CC’s Aquaponics facility has successfully grown and sold ten different kinds of lettuces, including butter head, types of romaine, summer crisp varieties, and oak leaf; mizuna; mint; watercress; arugula; cilantro; napa cabbage; red cabbage; varieties of beets; fennel; varieties of basil; and tatsoi.  The honey, coming straight from the College’s beehives, varies richly in hues and flavors.  “Thanks to all my team members and volunteers who have assisted me over the years and put in so much work and dedication to the cause,” said Muller.  Every week he, with staff, can be seen at the Market busily making sales and teaching customers about where and how the items are grown.  The income from sales is used to purchase supplies for the Aquaponics and Apiary programs.

“I commend Muller, his staff, and members of the Apiary Program for their diligent efforts, which have brought us to this impressive level,” said Helen Cox, Kaua`i CC Chancellor.  “We are proud of our programs and weekly presence at the Kaua`i Community Market,” she said.

Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.  Systems vary in size from small indoor or outdoor to large commercial units.

In Apiary at Kaua`i CC, honey producing bees thrive and queen-rearing research and cultivation are taking place under the leadership of Georgeanne Purvinis, faculty; Francis Takahashi, Jr., retired faculty; and James Trujillo and Robert Alan Spencer, staff.  With the growing global concern over the decline of bee populations, the proactive work being done at Kaua`i CC is imperative.

Aquaponics and Apiary classes will continue to be held via Kaua`i CC’s Office of Continuing Education and Training (OCET).  “Backyard farming has indeed a place in agriculture sustainability,” said OCET director Calvin Shirai.

“Kaua`i CC is a place where we are promoting a lifestyle that is sustainable—where growing our own food is a way of life,” said Chancellor Cox.  “We support agriculture as a viable industry for Kaua`i and members of the community who love to garden and want to grow their own food,” she said.