Agriculture faculty Chris Jacobsen receives sustainability award

At the 2nd Annual Sustainability in Higher Education Summit held at Windward Community College on March 13-15, 2014, Hawai‘i Community College Agriculture instructor Chris Jacobsen was honored for his work in the area of sustainability.

Believing that community health, well-being and stability are foundational to sustainability, the Agriculture Program and Chris have been working to build community connections that increase food security of island families through promoting and demonstrating home gardening and edible landscaping concepts to folks of all ages. They are currently working regularly with the Kamoleao Laulima Resource Center and a youth group from Sangha Hall.

Within production areas, the Agriculture Program has begun to improve many of its facilities and adopt progressive practices that protect resources and insure they are used efficiently. Irrigation systems and controllers have been improved to conserve water. Nutrients are increasingly provided through renewable or organic sources and include mulch, compost, compost teas and vermicomposts. Mushroom production is integrated as a component of the program’s organic-material recycling strategy- demonstrating that food resources can be produced from wood “waste” prior to returning it to the soil to enhance fertility.

A final area of focus of the program is to introduce students to entrepreneurial opportunities that increase the prospects of economic viability through value-added products which resourcefully use excess or off-grade fruit and produce. One of the best examples to date is a gingerale developed from lemons, calamansi, ginger and honey. This soda also highlights the collaborative nature of the program as we have developed a partnership with UHH’s Adopt-a-Beehive Program. The resulting soda from this collaboration is called HawCC UHH Collabrew.

The annual Sustainability in Higher Education Summit brings together faculty, staff, students and administrators from the University of Hawai‘i 10-campus System, Hawaii Pacific University, Brigham Young University – Hawaii, Chaminade, University of Phoenix – Hawaii, and community leaders to establish and advance sustainability goals and build lasting relationships to support institutional sustainability transformation in Hawai‘i.

The awards are given to highlight the achievements that Hawai‘i higher education institutions have made to advance sustainability on their campuses and in their communities and to showcase specific students, faculty, staff or projects as models for other campuses to achieve sustainability goals.

Congratulations, Chris!

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