The Honolulu Food Forest Pilot Project at Kamaliʻi Park aims to beautify and revitalize a small city space that stands at a “gateway” to downtown Honolulu. Last year, the City Council approved funding for the pilot project. Though the project enjoys broad community support, it has yet to be approved by the Department of Parks & Recreation.
A “food forest” is a designed ecosystem of food-bearing trees and shrubs which mimics the productivity of a natural forest. This project utilizes culturally significant and climate appropriate species, and, in the urban context of Honolulu, aims to bring a diverse community together around the commonality of food.
Establishing a food forest in Honolulu is a small step towards re-establishing our island's food security and a can serve as a tangible and thriving demonstration of the city and county’s dedication to healthy and sustainable island communities.
Funding for the pilot project was established in the FY2013 budget but has yet to be released. Even if timing or the charged nature of FY2014 budget negotiations preclude releasing the funds, I still want to see the project approved.
A coalition of community-based organizations has come together in support of the project, including The Outdoor Circle, 808 Urban, Institute for Human Services, Mental Health Kokua, The Arts at Marks Garage, Hawaii Pacific University and others. In addition, a key endorsement has come from Downtown Neighborhood Board, which passed a unanimous resolution to support the project on February 7th, 2013. The partnerships mean that this project can also help advance the Mayor's "next priority," addressing homelessness.
I want to see Parks move forward with this coalition of community organizations on the Honolulu Food Forest. Please approve this innovative and important project -- it exemplifies the kind of community collaboration we need for tomorrow's Honolulu.