ACTION ALERT: SB1155, relating to Caucus Priority on State Ag leases

Aloha members,

Our Food and farm Sustainability Subcommittee Chair Juanita Kawamoto has been working tirelessly to ensure that our priority bills pass into law, and we have reached a point in the process when she could really use your testimony and help.

SB1155, relating to AG Leases, has crossed over; moreover, it may be scheduled for a hearing as soon as next Monday. We can’t afford to wait for testimony to be presented through the Capitol’s website because such testimony might miss the deadline.

We are asking you to e-mail us directly with your testimony this weekend, so we can present it at the hearing bright and early on Monday.

PLEASE take a moment to read over my own testimony, which I have pasted below. Feel free to copy, paste, edit, and write your own testimony using my talking points.

We really could use your written support on this one. Send your testimony to either lynn@navigatinglife.org, or to farmfreshhawaii@yahoo.com, so we can be sure your voice gets heard on Monday.

Below you will find s a copy of my own testimony for your reference, and please take a moment to forward this important legislation information to your friends.

Mahalo to you all,

Lynn

*************************

March 9, 2011

Testimony in Support of Senate Bill 1155

My name is Lynn Marie Sager, and I am currently the President of my local democratic precinct, as well as the Vice Chair of the Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i.

I wish to testify in support of Senate Bill 1155 – Relating to Long Term Agricultural Leases with the State of Hawaii and the Food Farms they currently affect.

Currently, many local farmers are expected to run their businesses under short-term Ag leases, and I ask you to consider the difficulty of running a food farm on a monthly lease.

As a local farmer, you would have no incentive to invest in long-term products, and you would have no means of developing collateral for long-term investments. Our current State lease practices make it nearly impossible for our local small food farmers to compete with large agri-businesses, or to secure outside investments in their farms. Unless this process is changes, Hawai’i will continue to be dependent on importing our food essentials from other locations, thereby increasing our State’s vulnerability, our State’s carbon footprint, and the money we currently send out of State daily to simply feed ourselves.

We live on some of the most fertile lands on the planet, and yet our laws have made it nearly impossible for our local farmers to feed us.

Senate Bill 1155 will create a task force focused on the process at which State Ag leases are currently handled, and come up with a solution to address amendments or structure policies that represent the need for better conditions for state agricultural leases focused on food farms in the State of Hawaii.

Hawai’i’s local food farms are an integral component for providing our islands with sustainable food products.

Many community plans and organizations currently advocate for local food sustainability:

  • Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i
  • Hawaii Farmer’s Union
  • Hawaii Farm Bureau
  • Hawaii Cooperative of Organic Farmers
  • Hawaii Fruit Growers Association
  • Waimanalo Neighborhood Board
  • Kahaluu Neighborhood Board
  • Hawaii North Kona Coffee growers Association
  • Kamilonui Farmer Alliance – Hawaii Kai
  • And many more….

Food sustainability:

  • Provides our local residents with inexpensive, fresher food
  • Improves our resident’s health
  • Supports and increases local jobs
  • Reduces our States Carbon footprint
  • Keeps our much needed food and tax money within the State

Please support SB1155. This bill will support an extensive discussion with food farms through out the State of Hawaii via various agricultural organizations, with the goal of improving the State Ag lease agreements to promote long-term leases for responsible local farmers.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony.

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