HCC ag students donate 1,000 pounds of produce to Food Basket
At the start of the fall semester last year, a group of students in the Hawaii Community College Agriculture Program set an ambitious goal: to donate 1,000 pounds of vegetables to the local Food Basket in Hilo. In early May, after eight months of growing, harvesting and giving away lettuce, eggplant, tomatillos and other vegetables, the students reached that milestone.
“It sounded daunting in the beginning of the fall,” said ag student Lenny Fujimoto. “A thousand pounds? I thought, ‘We need to grow watermelons or something.’ But we managed to do it.”
Fujimoto was one of 22 students in the HCC Tropical Production classes who grew the produce in greenhouses and fields on a farm site the college shares with the University of Hawaii at Hilo.
The student-driven effort led to weekly donations of fresh produce to the Food Basket, which Fujimoto said made him and other students feel they were playing an important role in the community.
“We took great pride in the quality and quantity of our harvests each week and to know that we could share that quality and wholesomeness with the needy was a great feeling,” said Fujimoto. “During a lecture our instructor, Chris Jacobsen, told us that part of being a good agriculturalist was to ‘assure abundance’ for everyone in the community, and this donation program made us feel like we achieved some of that goal.”
The Food Basket appreciated the vegetables, added Ande Buskirk, the Farm Lab coordinator for the Agriculture Program.
“They always emphasized that vegetables are a nice thing to receive because a lot of what they get are canned goods, and those are important, but we think produce represents something really strong for people’s diets and all-around health,” said Buskirk.
“A thousand pounds is a lot, especially considering it often came in the form of lightweight greens and other vegetables, said Buskirk. “Twenty pounds of lettuce is three huge coolers full.”
The Agriculture Program, which prepares students for a variety of possible careers such as agriculture entrepreneurs and landscapers, is thriving, said instructor Jacobsen.
Recent grants have helped bolster the program by funding the purchase of a tractor, walk-behind tiller and automated greens harvester, said Jacobsen, a UH-Hilo alumnus who has been leading the program for four years.
“There’s strong demand for the program,” said Jacobsen. “There are more than 20 students in each class, which is beyond what we’ve had historically.”
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.