Over $3.5 Million in Grants Allocated to Bolster Food Security in Hawaiʻi

by Ella

Hawaiʻi’s US Senator, Mazie K. Hirono, announced that the US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service is set to provide over $3.5 million in grants to the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture, aimed at promoting food security across the state.

These grants, made available through the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program, will offer essential support to small-scale gardening, herding, and livestock operations. The primary objective is to augment the quantity and quality of locally-grown food in communities facing food insecurity challenges.


The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (HDOA) will play a pivotal role in identifying and distributing the funding to various groups and individuals within communities marked by high levels of food insecurity through targeted community outreach.


Senator Hirono highlighted the significance of these grants, emphasizing that many families in Hawaiʻi and the US as a whole lack access to affordable and nutritious food options within their communities. These grants are envisioned to enhance access to locally-produced food, thereby strengthening food security across the Hawaiian islands.


Senator Hirono was instrumental in supporting the provision for this funding in the 2018 Farm Bill, and she reaffirmed her commitment to bolstering federal support for food security initiatives in the state.


This funding has been made possible through the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program (MGFSP), an initiative championed by Senator Hirono in the 2018 Farm Bill. The program’s core mission is to advance food security by empowering local communities to cultivate and store more nutritious food. It also seeks to ensure that families have access to food during supply chain disruptions.

Sharon Hurd, Chairperson of the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture, underlined the positive impact of MGFSP on the state. Over 1,100 Hawaiʻi households and 25 organizations have already benefited from the program, receiving essential resources to grow food for their families and communities. The funds can be used for various purposes, such as acquiring gardening tools, soil, seeds, plants, canning equipment, refrigerators, and more, all contributing to increased food production.

This funding is part of a more extensive $15 million allocation by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) for 22 grant projects. These projects aim to support the maple syrup industry and explore new market opportunities for US food and agricultural products. In addition to MGFSP, the funding is being channeled through the Acer Access and Development Program and the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program.

Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, highlighted the broader benefits of these grant programs. They not only support local and regional producers but also enhance access to locally-sourced food for underserved communities, contributing to the growth and development of the US food and agricultural industry.



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