PUHI — Anyone who is curious about how to incorporate organic pest control and ecosystem management into farming and landscaping practices should stop by the Kauai County Farm Fair on Friday and Saturday.
That’s when experts with Beyond Pesticides and Hawaii Center for Food Safety will be on hand at the GMO Free Kauai booth to talk story about methods and practices that actually work.
“We’ll talk about switching over to an organic system,” said Autumn Ness, who is part of both organizations and will be present at the event. “What does a natural system look like? Why do you need microbes?”
She’ll be highlighting a Maui project in which county parks switched from using pesticide and chemical fertilizers to using microbes and molasses to keep the parks nice.
“Instead of fertilizer, we planted beneficial microbes and fed them with molasses, that starts a self-feeding system,” Ness said.
In May 2019, county officials had conversations with private citizens about the potential to go pesticide-free in Kauai parks. So farm, no action has been taken on the topic.
Sometimes the elimination of chemical controls on grass and weeds results in more work for staff caretaking areas, but Ness points out her experience is that chemical-free agriculture and landscaping just requires a different approach.
“There’s not a product for product replacement for things like Roundup. You have to think differently, it becomes juggling all these pieces,” Ness said. “In some areas you can remove the labor and input costs and then you can take that labor and move it somewhere else.”
Landscaping is going to be just one of the many topics up for discussion at the GMO Free Kauai booth over the weekend — there will also be info available on chemical-free gardening and ag projects.
“We want to be able to talk to whoever wants to learn to do better,” Ness said.