Category Archives: Food Security and Sustainability

On February 26, Thursday, the ECDPH will talk story with DLNR appointee Carlton Ching

Please join our ECDPH General membership at a informational

Q & A with DLNR Appointee Carlton Ching

When: February 26, Thursday at 6 p.m.

Where: 45 N. King St., 5th floor (street parking and free parking in the building after 6pm)

Please RSVP by February 25, Wednesday to or call Juanita @ 330-6224. seating limited

Help us plan to protect and  preserve the future for  Hawaii’s  Natural Resources

Reminder – Food Security Form 6pm today at Olelo Mapunapuna

You are all invited to participate in a Food Security Forum this evening at 6pm at Mapunapuna Olelo, 1122 Mapunapuna Street, Honolulu, HI (808) 834-0007

Come listen to experts discuss what needs to be done to shift Hawaiiʻs agriculture from big farms, plantation style to diversified ag that grows food for Hawaii.

this can make the difference between eating and starving when our supply lines are disrupted by natural disaster, terrorism or transportation strikes.

Farm Land in double jeprody

Posting courtesy of Laura Thielen.

Please read this, and if you are concerned about what is happening, cut and paste the email addresses at the bottom and send an email to the Legislature TODAY.

The Legislature is poised to pass two bills that will eradicate more high quality farmland than Ho’opili.

SB 2341 allows vacation rentals on agricultural lands, including the highest production lands.  Even worse, vacation rentals can be the primary use, no farming is required.

SB 2350 doubles the number of houses permitted on agricultural lots with one ohana dwelling for each farm dwelling.*

If these bills pass, the number of houses built on agricultural lands will dramatically increase and agricultural lots will be priced for their vacation rental value, not their farming potential.

The expansion of tourism has already transformed other areas, like Windward Oahu.  The density of some communities doubled when ohana units were allowed.  The vacation rental market dominates many neighborhoods, affecting home prices.

Nearly 16,000 acres of farmland on Oahu’s North Shore are being marketed for great views or access to the ocean.  These qualities aren’t relevant to farming; they’re relevant to tourism.  The bill permitting vacation rentals as a primary use will destroy any ability to assure these lands remain available for agricultural production.

The price of Oahu farmland is nearly out of reach for food farms today.  These bills will make it impossible for food farms to operate.  The vast majority of Oahu’s food is grown on rented land.  Will landlords force farms to close when neighboring vacation rentals complain about noise, or when they realize they can increase their rental income by transforming all or some of the property to vacation rentals?

The Department of Agriculture, Office of Planning, and City and County of Honolulu have all testified against these bills and the Farm Bureau has raised serious concerns.

Our Constitution requires the State to assure the availability of agricultural lands for agriculture.  The law requires directing non-agricultural uses away from the best farmland.  Several bills before the Legislature this session support increasing local food production.

How is it that the Legislature on one hand says it supports agriculture, but on the other hand takes action to pass laws that will transform the agricultural district into the rural tourist district?

The Senate unanimously passed both bills.  They are now at the House Committee on Water Land and Ocean Resources.

Contact legislators at the links below and tell them to stop SB 2341 and SB 2350.

Email addresses for Chair Jerry Chang, Vice Chair Sharon Har and Committee members:;;;;;;;,,,

* While the ohana unit bill was amended to take out Oahu, it just as easily can be put back in, now or next year.

Food Securtity 101–An Environmetal Caucus Forum to air on Channel 49

The Environmental Caucus
of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i presents

The First of a Four Part Series
An Introduction to Food Security in Hawaiʻi Nei

Why is food security such a hot topic at the capital?
What exactly does it mean to be food secure and how venerable is our State?
Please join this live 90-minute call in discussion with some of the States top experts. You may attend either in person or from the comfort of your own home. Call in information will be provided during the event.

This event will air on cable channel 49
March 14, 2012
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

or join us in person at
‘Ōlelo Māpunapuna Community Media Center
1122 Māpunapuna Street, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96819

Neighbor Islanders may attend though
Livestream available at:
Channel 49

Topics and featured speakers

The Agricultural Renaissance: Esther Kia‘āina & Giorgio Caldarone, Kamehameha Schools
Ho‘omaopopo Na Mea Ai (Defining Food Self-Sufficiency): Representative Faye Hanohano, Hawai‘i State Legislature
Variables in Food Security: George Kent, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Hawai‘i

Moderated by Gary Hooser
Director Office of Environmental Quality Control


agricultural committee will be hearing this ECDPH platform issue February 1, 2012, Wednesday morning at 8am in Room 312 of the Hawaii State Capitol.  We need to send in or personally attend and give public testimony from the people of Hawaii who are concerned and support local livestock farming and true food security.  ECDPH first  introduced this bill last year.  ECDPH can now stand proud that our voices have been heard, in the efforts to support the need for local agribusiness cooperatives that will support many small family farmers as one united voice.  Hawaii farmers can maintain economic self sustainability by supporting or creating small local feed mills within a good agribusiness cooperative.  The 2011 Oahu County Democratic convention agreed with the ECDPH and supported and adopted Resolution SCR 81 as part of the Oahu County Democratic convention platform. We will be encouraging the State Democratic convention to adopt this same resolution to provide the support for programs regarding Agribusiness Cooperatives and local feed mill production across Hawaii nei.

Please send in your testimony and let our legislators at the State Capitol know we are waiting for solutions to food security for all people of Hawaii.

Please click on this link attached and say yes I support HB2363 :

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, or to, 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,



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.

Short Video about Hawai’i’s Food to School Future

Growing the Future: Farm to School in Hawai’i
Produced by a UH Manoa graduate student of urban planning, this inspiring film encourages viewers to get involved in Farm to School programs in their communities.  It provides an overview of what Farm to School programs are, why they are important, and explores some of the obstacles faced in broader implementation.

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

 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

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


 You can learn more about Caucus at


Aloha Members of the Environmental Caucus of Hawai’i, As we enter this important next stage of our advocacy, the Steering Committee felt the need to set a testimony policy for those appearing on behalf of the Caucus. While individual members … Continue reading