Maui News

Hawaiian Homestead Nonprofit Issues Food Sovereignty Grants

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The Homestead Community Development Corporation nonprofit has issued food sovereignty grants to more than 18 families so far in the second quarter of 2021, with 40 additional grants expected to be made to families on all islands over the next year.

“Grants are issued directly to families to support backyard gardens, edible landscapes or other subsistence activities across the pae ʻāina, and even fishing,” said Vaipuarii Tapiero-Kight, a program manager leading the project. “Small investments like these food sovereignty grants can yield food all year round, creating more and more food secure ʻohana, one family at a time.”

The HCDC Food Sovereignty program creates access to resources either in the form of grants or loans to invest capital in family-based food production. Under the program, families receive financial assessments, savings plans and grant funding to grow healthy foods, whether through conventional gardens or installing small aquaponics systems and in many cases, planting food-producing trees

PC: Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations

“This program is so perfect for us in the Kahikinui homestead,” said Donna Sterling, a food sovereignty grant recipient. “Being off-grid, food security and self-sufficiency is key.” Sterling purchased sheep with her food sovereignty grant and took out a modest loan to install a comfort shed to add to her 12-acre kuleana homestead on Maui.


The HCDC Food Sovereignty program is funded in part by the Native American Agriculture Fund, created from cy pres funds awarded in the Keepseagle v Vilsack litigation. NAAF is committed to investing in Native agriculture to support Native ranchers, farmers, fishers and champions of food self-sufficiency.

“NAAF is not only funding programs here in Hawaii on our trust lands but is sharing successful systems in other areas of the country that we are learning from too,” said Faisha Solomon, HCDC Deputy Director. “The partnership with NAAF comes at an excellent time, as we pivot to address the food insecurity of all of Hawaii.”

To apply for a food sovereignty grant, contact Vaipuarii Tapeiro-Kight or Rolina Faagai, at Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis.



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