Sold out! Two words we usually hear from garden centers offering compost tea as the growing season heats up…but this time it was a sell out crowd at a full day workshop in Hilo, HI, organized by the Hawaii Organic Farmers Association and funded by the University of Hawaii. The more than 80 in attendance soaked up the latest research and innovative uses of compost, vermicompost and compost tea during presentations and field trips over the course of the day. Presenters included Dr. Norman Arancon (Sustainable Agriculture Program, CAFNRM), Dr. Ted Radovich (Sustainable Farming Systems Laboratory, UH-CTAHR) and Growing Solutions’ Michael Alms. The afternoon included an on site compost tea demonstration in a commercial vegetable operation at Island Harvest Organics in Pahoa. Michael offered an overview of the 15-year-old compost tea industry, and a look to the future in tropical environments and elsewhere.
Hawaii is leading the world in researching compost tea and its use in tropical and subtropical production systems. The University of Hawaii has a dedicated department for organic and sustainable agriculture, with Dr. Radovich and Dr. Arancon leading the efforts. Dr. Radovich discussed the current SARE (Sustainable Agriculture & Research Education) grant project using compost tea on pak choi. Growing Solutions is participating in this project to further a better understanding of the use of compost tea in on-farm trials and through educational activities, including the May 6 Hilo event.
Dr. Arancon is co-editor of the latest and most comprehensive text discussing compost and compost tea, Vermiculture Technology: Earthworms, Organic Wastes, and Environmental Management. Stay tuned for a post about this culmination of work from an international cast of scientists. Dr. Arancon and Dr. Radovich both work with Compost Tea System10s in their research efforts at UH/Hilo.