Ulupono Initiative’s work in local agriculture goes beyond the farms and fields. It also takes us to the State Capitol where, every year, we collaborate with our partners and local lawmakers to pass better policies for our sectors.
Much of our focus every legislative session is on agriculture-related bills and measures. As you can imagine, there are many issues on the table. While the specific bills we support may change every session, we generally look at those that will impact local food production.
There are a couple of ways we share the message about supporting local agriculture. We participate in the annual Ag Day at the Capitol event, organized by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation. This popular event gives us a chance to connect with lawmakers, their staff and other visiting community members. This year, we handed out Ulupono-branded garden gloves to encourage everyone to garden and grow their own food at home.
We were also neighbors with one of our investees, Paniolo Cattle Company, which served up samples of its pasture-raised meatballs.
Down the walkway, we saw our friends from the Aina Pono: Farm-to-School Initiative, including Chef Greg Christian and Jayson Watts of the Lt. Governor’s office.
When it comes to promoting local food, it makes sense that we should also share local food. That’s the idea behind another outreach effort: local food deliveries to lawmakers. As a member of the Local Food Coalition (LFC), we sponsor community-supported agriculture (CSA) bags featuring fresh, local produce (valued at under $25).
Several Ulupono team members hand-delivered the Oahu Fresh CSA bags to the offices of all 76 members of the 2018 Legislature on Feb. 2. This year’s bag included a literal bounty of local favorites, including apple bananas, watermelon radish, long beans, kale, tomatoes and lettuce from various Oahu farms.
Rep. Richard Creagan, chair of the House Committee on Agriculture, was there to accept our delivery and expressed support of the state’s goal of doubling food production. “We need to give aspiring farmers training and resources while also working to manage invasive species,” he said.
To learn more about the Local Food Coalition, visit here.