Action Alert: Food and Farm Sustainability

 Subcommittee Update

At our December General Membership Meeting, our Caucus voted to support legislation regarding the expansion of long term Agricultural leases and the study of a Agribusiness Cooperative Program, both designed to encourage local small family farmers to invest in Hawaii’s future food sustainability.

 Subcommittee Chair Juanita Kawamoto has been working hard to move legislation on these important issues forward, and she has asked me to post this personal note and action alert update.

 Personal note from Juanita Kawamoto:

Please support our Small Family Farms in Hawaii

 Small Family Farms make up a large portion of food farms in the State of Hawaii. For centuries, they have provided food for our communities. Large corporate plantations and organized corporate conglomerates may provide our State tax revenues, but they give little back to the people of Hawaii. 

 Small family farms in Hawaii provide:

 1.      Fresh healthy produce, livestock, and value added locally produced products.

 2.      Knowledge and experience regarding local land management. They help address issues like Hawaiian food sustainability, environmental protection, and community cooperation.

 3.      Job opportunities for future farmers who wish to keep farming an honored Hawaiian profession. These farms will also be great educational tools for Hawaii’s future farmers.

 Hawaii’s small farms currently are facing the worst economic times since the great depression, yet small family farms keep 100% of their revenues in the State of Hawaii, supporting Hawaii’s economy, schools, hospitals, roads, housing.

 We must tell our legislators to support subsidies, cooperatives, local feed mills, and the expansion of long-term leases for small food farms on current agricultural State land.

 Please send testimony supporting the following bills, so we can continue to help keep small farms growing in Hawaii:

 SB 1155 – Long Term Ag lease task force – currently being reviewed by the Ag committee. Will move on to WAM upon approval. Please contact members of both committees to show your support.

 SB 1156 – Relating to the establishment of an agribusiness cooperative program.

Waiting for hearing to be scheduled on Education. Please ask Senator Jill Tokuda to hear this Bill. We are hoping Dr. Sabry Shehata can help us move this to hearing.

 HB1496 – Agribusiness Cooperative Program: UH Task force—HED Chair Scott Nishimoto has agreed to hear the bill this Thursday, February 10th at 2pm in room 309. Please submit testimony in support at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/emailtestimony/?measure=HB1496

 HB 920– Agricultural Leases: Task Force Appropriation–We are working with AGR chair Rep. Clift Tsuji to set up hearing for this bill. Please send in support testimony to hear this bill to reptsuji@capitol.hawaii.gov.

 Finally, please forward this e-mail to your friends and ask them to do the same.

 Mahalo

 You can learn more about Caucus at http://environmentalcaucusofthedemocraticpartyofhawaii.com

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