Craig Elevitch conducts a training on breadfruit. He and a team of educators will be conducting a workshop in Guam this November on designing and maintaining a productive and resilient food forest. Photo courtesy of Craig Elevitch
Community members interested in cultivating a farm, homestead, or urban area into a productive agroforest can avail of an informative hands-on workshop to be held from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the University of Guam with a field day the following day from 8 a.m. to noon in Umatac.
The workshop, “Designing and Growing an Agroforest: Creating Regenerative and Profitable Landscapes,” is being presented by the University of Guam Western Pacific Tropical Research Center, The Pacific Farmers’ Together Cooperative, and Permanent Agriculture Resources. It is part of a workshop series that will also be presented in Saipan, Pohnpei, the Marshall Islands, and Hawaii.
“Until a few years ago, agroforestry was not on the radar for most growers,” said Dr. Craig Elevitch, a Hawaii-based educator and author in agroforestry, regenerative food production, and reforestation specific to the Pacific and a presenter at the workshop. “Today, an increasing number of people throughout the Pacific are eager to plant food forests to increase profitability, regenerate soil, and reduce risks associated with weather extremes, but they are not sure how to proceed.”
Elevitch said this first-of-its-kind interactive workshop will give participants experience in planning an agroforest from scratch. Participants will learn how to design an agroforest suited to their site, prepare the soil, select and properly space crops, schedule crop maintenance, and analyze financial outcomes.
The workshop is for growers at all scales as well as agricultural extension specialists, educators, and anyone interested in local food security.
“We can learn by observing how Mother Nature places plants in relation to other plants in the natural landscape,” said Dr. Marilyn Salas, a retired professor, dean, and researcher at the University of Guam Micronesian Area Research Center, who now farms her own land and serves as president of Guam-based Pacific Farmers’ Together Cooperative. “Agroforestry allows plants to co-exist, to produce an abundance of good fruits and vegetables, to withstand natural disasters … thereby satisfying our social, spiritual, and economic needs.”
Salas will present at the workshop along with Dr. Ansito Walter, an associate professor at the University of Guam whose areas of expertise include planning and development, on their ancestral knowledge of traditional Micronesian agroforestry and community food security.
Also presenting at the workshop will be Neil Logan, a long-time agroforestry professional and ethnobotanist based in Hawaii who has worked on projects in ecosystems around the globe, and Shirley Kauhaihao, a cultural practitioner and the co-director and founder of Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu, a project to revitalize the use of breadfruit as food in the Pacific region.
The two-day workshop costs $10, which includes lunch on the first day, light refreshments, and workshop materials. A limited number of scholarships are available for students and those who cannot afford the regular registration. Participants should register early, as space is limited. For a detailed agenda and to register, visit www.agroforestry-workshop-guam.eventbrite.com or email email@example.com.