I Support a Maui County Department of Agriculture! We Need Food Security Now!

I Support a Maui County Department of Agriculture! We Need Food Security Now!

April 2, 2020
Petition to
County of Maui Maui County Council and 9 others
Signatures: 4,515Next Goal: 5,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Jennifer Karaca

Food security in Hawaii is a very large and worrisome issue. Hawaii is approximately 2,506 miles from the continental United States, and that is where we receive most of our shipments from. According to the Office of Planning Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism, 85- 90% of Hawaii’s food is imported. This is concerning because it makes us particularly vulnerable to food shortages, if the shipping process is interrupted by natural disasters and/or global events (Office of Planning, 2012).

Maui is unique because, unlike most areas around the globe, it is estimated to be about 80% agricultural lands (Office of Planning, 2012). While
this may seem like a lot, much of these lands are under-utilized, if they are utilized at all. A huge reason for this is that, agriculture is grossly under supported in Hawaii. Maui County currently employs one agricultural specialist and Hawaii’s agricultural sector receives less than 1% (0.045%) of the State budget (FY2019) for Agriculture that is divided by all of the islands. 

By creating a Department of Agriculture, with defined responsibilities, could develop a sustainable regional agricultural system for Maui County, increase community preparedness in the event of food shortages through coordinated policies and actions, strengthen resiliency of our island communities through research and economic growth in the agricultural sector, boost resident health through access to more locally grown produce and promote ecosystem health through natural resource regeneration and protection

According to a study by the Office of Planning in 2012, “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.” 

We are asking that the Maui County Council allow us, the Maui County community, the opportunity to vote to establish a Department of Agriculture! We deserve to be part of the conversation!

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Signatures: 4,515Next Goal: 5,000
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to help others easily find and sign the petition.

Decision Makers

  • Maui County CouncilCounty of Maui
  • Keani Rawlins-FernandezCouncil Vice Chair
  • Alice LeeCouncil Chair
  • Tasha KamaCouncilmember
  • Mike MolinaCouncilmember