Maui Business

More than $3.5M in grants to promote food security in Hawaiʻi

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File photo by Wendy Osher.

US Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) announced that the US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service is awarding over $3.5 million to the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture.

The grants, made possible through the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program, will provide support for small-scale gardening, herding, and livestock operations to increase the quantity and quality of locally-grown food in communities experiencing food insecurity.

Through community outreach, the HDOA will identify and administer the funding to various groups and individuals in communities with high levels of food insecurity.


“Too many families in Hawaiʻi and across the US lack access to affordable, healthy food options within their own communities,” said Sen. Hirono. “These grants will help people in Hawaiʻi access more locally-grown food options—increasing food security across the islands. I am proud to have supported the provision in the 2018 Farm Bill that enabled this funding and I will continue working to strengthen federal support for food security projects across our state.”

This award is made possible through MGFSP, a program supported by Senator Hirono in the 2018 Farm Bill that promotes food security by helping local communities grow and store more nutritious food and to help feed families when supply chains are disrupted.

“The MGFSP has impacted more than 1100 Hawaiʻi households and 25 organizations, providing them resources to grow food for their families and neighborhoods,” said Sharon Hurd, Chairperson of the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture. “Food security increases when we grow what we eat and eat what we grow—the MGFSP  funds can be used to purchase, for example,  gardening tools or equipment, soil, amendments, seeds, plants, animals, canning equipment, refrigerators/freezers, fencing, vertical farming units—to increase food production. Appreciate the work of our congressional delegation to bring millions of MGFSP dollars to Hawaiʻi.”


The funding is part of a larger $15 million being awarded by the USDA AMS for 22 grant projects to promote the maple syrup industry and to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for US food and agricultural products. In addition to the MGFSP, the funding is being awarded through the Acer Access and Development Program and the Federal State Marketing iMprovement Program.

“USDA’s investment in these grant programs will not only benefit local and regional producers, but also improve access to locally sourced food for underserved communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “We look forward to seeing the positive impacts these projects will have on the US food and agricultural industry.”


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