SB593 = “Game Changer” for food self sufficiency in Hawaii, Testimony needed TODAY! Hearing is Monday Feb. 2nd.

A “game changer” for food self sufficiency in Hawaii, please support SB593 and send in testimony TODAY! Hearing is scheduled at the State Capitol Room #224 for Monday February 2 at 2:50pm.

Read the Bill, Understand the Process and Testify Here:

“The agribusiness development corporation, by December 31, 2025, shall lease a minimum of 50 per cent of lands controlled by the agribusiness development corporation to operations that support the sustainable agriculture and local food production plan and whose primary business is the production of food for local consumption in Hawaii.”SB593 (excerpt)

Translation: If SB593 is passed into law – it is possible that over the next 10 years over 10,000 acres of public agricultural lands would be made available to local farmers and could only be used for sustainable agriculture and local food production.

Please testify and share your mana’o and your suggestions as to how our State can increase the use of sustainable agricultural practices while increasing local food production.

Facts and Background on the Agribusiness Development Corporation

1) The Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) was supposedly created to help “transition Hawaii’s agriculture industry . . . to one composed of a diversity of different crops.” (ADC website). Yet, while ADC controls over 20,000 acres of agricultural public lands, less than 5% of ADC lands are used for local food production.

2) Hawai‘i urgently needs to become more self-sufficient and “food secure.” According to the Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism’s (DBEDT) “Increased Food Security and Food Self-Sufficiency Strategy”:

About 85-90% of Hawaii’s food is imported which makes it particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and global event that might disrupt shipping and the food supply.

3) Local farmers and ranchers state “the lack of affordable long term leases on good agricultural lands” as the most important roadblock to expanding local food production

4) The vast majority of the over 20,000 acres of state owned agricultural lands that the ADC leases has been leased to non-food producing corporations for very long terms at very low rates.

5) Requiring the ADC to develop and implement a plan to lease a minimum of 50% of the tillable public lands they manage within the next 10 years for sustainable agriculture and local food production is a reasonable approach to utilizing existing public lands to achieve our State’s goal of increased food sustainability.

6) This would also benefit Hawai‘i economically, creating thousands of jobs and infusing the economy with $$millions. According to the Hawai‘i DBEDT’s “Increased Food Security and Food Self-Sufficiency Strategy”:

The economic impact of food import replacement is significant. Replacing just 10% of the food we currently import would amount to approximately $313 million. Assuming a 30% farm share, $94 million would be realized at the farm-gate which would generate an economy-wide impact of an additional $188 million in sales, $47 million in earnings, $6 million in state tax revenues, and more than 2,300 jobs.

7) The public lands the ADC is managing are held in trust and are supposed to be used for the public good. Sustainable agricultural practices are important to restore and preserve the land for future generations, as opposed to pesticide-intensive industrial practices.

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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3 Responses to SB593 = “Game Changer” for food self sufficiency in Hawaii, Testimony needed TODAY! Hearing is Monday Feb. 2nd.

  1. Tom Niblick says:

    I support SB593.
    We need to be sustainable. With our current situation of growing only seeds for export and precious little we can eat, we are inviting disaster. Famine and conflict are our future should the ships and barges fail to bring us our food. Give the men and women who want to till the soil and feed us every opportunity to do so.
    Tom Niblick

  2. Danny Miller says:

    Why are we waiting until December 31, 2025 and why just 50% of the land? It should be within 3 years and 90% of the land – we are running out of time AND land as more and more is developed — and Oahu is heading towards zero local food production as more and more of the dwindling AG land on Hawaii’s most populated island is destroyed by uncontrolled urbanization by those supporting the billions being spent on the high speed rail that is targeting these lands for “a new metropolis” where all the food is imported.

    • garyhooser says:

      Good question Danny. I too would like this number to be greater and everything to happen sooner. Apparently most of these lands are already leased to private companies doing GMO research and “bio mass” (tree growing). The ADC cannot just cancel all the leases all at once. In addition it is thought that a gradual transformation of the lands is better so food farmers can transition into the new lands and the market not be disrupted by too much land dumped onto the market all at once. Also much of this land does not have infrastructure (fences, roads, irrigation) and that will take time to put into place. The 50% amount for food is just an estimate I think and could be more. There is a need also for building materials, biomass and other non-food crops too.

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