14 to Graduate from Maui Farm Apprentice Program

June 24, 2017, 8:15 AM HST · Updated June 24, 7:39 AM
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Fourteen graduating FAM Apprentices will receive a Certificate of Professional Development from UH-Maui College, Office of Continuing Education and Training on Thursday June 29, 2017.

The Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United Farm Apprentice Mentorship (FAM) Program presents the 2016-2017 Graduating Cohort and their mentors. Courtesy image.

Presented by UH-MC Chancellor Hokoana and Mayor Arakawa, these certificates represent completion of a comprehensive beginning farmer regenerative agricultural curriculum designed and implemented by the Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United.

Program Director, Dr. Phyllis Robinson worked with a team of expert farm mentors from across the state to create a training program that distinguishes itself for its focus on growing food in healthy microbe rich soil.

Working diligently since late last fall, these FAM apprentices have completed a rigorous 10-module curriculum created to help them become successful farmers here on Maui.

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The FAM program curriculum allows participants to explore all the various aspects of farming on Maui, from the given factors on your land, to water resources and irrigation needs, to soil composition and fertility management, propagation, weed and pest management practices, and most of all, the Business of Farming.

The classroom experiences were offered through UH-Maui College’s Sustainable Living Institute of Maui and 10 experienced farm mentors followed up the classroom experience through on farm demonstration.

Among the learned farm mentors were Bobby Pahia of ʻĀina Ola Farms in Waikapū, James Simpliciano of Simpli-Fresh Farms in Lahania, and Evan Ryan of Pono Grown Farm Center in Kula and Gerry Ross of Kupaʻa in Kula.

The FAM program was designed to give the apprentices a wide range of farms geographically in order to see where they might benefit from the old ways of the ahupua’a where ingredients for value added products for farms can be sourced from fellow farmers in other regions. Or just to help landless farm apprentices to decide where they want to farm.

“Participating in the FAM program has been an incredible experience. It’s foundational and imperative to our existence, farming is. Not until the grocery stores are empty would we notice we’re having a FARMER CRISIS. My dreams, goals, visions, and ideals have been examined, altered, encouraged, filtered, and supported through my participation in this program” said apprentice Georgia Pinsky.

The next cohort will begin in the Fall of 2018. To get involved in the next cohort of the Farm Apprentice Mentorship Program, interested individuals can contact FAM Program Director Phyllis Robinson, [email protected]

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