Part of Ulupono Initiative’s core mission is rooted in agricultural sustainability, and we pride ourselves in helping Hawaii reach its local food production goals to reduce our state’s dependency on imported goods.
In addition to testifying on agriculture-related bills and measures during the legislative session, one of the many ways we encourage more local food production is by supporting our partners at the annual Ag Day at the Capitol, which this year was held on Wednesday, February 6, 2019. Hosted by the Hawaii Farm Bureau, Speaker Scott Saiki, Representatives Richard Creagan and Lynn Decoite, and Senators Mike Gabbard and Russell Ruderman, this was a great free opportunity to meet with legislators and bring awareness to what is being produced and accomplished in agriculture throughout our state.
This year, the fourth floor hallways were full as various agricultural agencies and local businesses shared success stories, future plans and delicious produce with industry stakeholders and lawmakers representing the entire state.
Our team, including Vice President of Investments Jesse Cooke, Director of Communications Amy Hennessey, Senior Government Affairs Associate Brandon Lee and Investment Associate Tee Suntharo, mixed with partners such as the Maui Food Innovation Center (MFIC), which provides business and technical support and expertise to local agricultural entrepreneurs on the Valley Isle. The program, part of UH Maui College, provides free workshops for small local entrepreneurs interested in getting into the local food industry.
“MFIC’s collaboration with Ulupono Initiative has been rich,” commented Chris Speere, associate professor at UH Maui College and site coordinator of MFIC. “It is so beneficial to have a partner willing to embrace your evolution and journey in meeting your mission and goals. MFIC is still in its infancy and through Ulupono Initiative’s support we continue to learn that being wrong is okay, staying wrong is not.”
We’re excited about next year’s event and look forward to seeing continued collaboration between the various agencies, non-profits and businesses involved in our local agriculture system.
For examples of Ulupono’s investments in organizations working to produce more locally grown food, click here.