HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

2177

TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2014

H.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO COMMUNITY FOOD FORESTS.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the number of food stamp recipients in Hawaii has nearly doubled over the last six years. The legislature also acknowledges that Hawaii residents face among the highest costs in the nation, with the inflation of cost-of-living often outpacing the growth of provisional rates for state welfare.

The legislature further finds that due to the island geography of Hawaii, the long-term sustainability of the State depends upon improved uses of land that has already been developed.  The legislature also finds that food production in populated areas may contribute significantly to community sustainability by providing locally-produced healthy food to those who can not otherwise afford it.

Community and urban gardens, concepts which have been adopted statutorily in states like New York, California, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Maine, may provide a solution to the problem of increasing food costs and the dwindling availability of undeveloped land. By identifying and utilizing public lands, particularly those near existing community gathering places such as parks and community centers, to create community food forests that adopt edible landscaping concepts, the State may be able to provide additional sources of low- or no-cost food to residents, while also utilizing developed land for community sustainability purposes.

Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to establish a community food forest program and to make an appropriation for this program.

SECTION 2. Chapter 171, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"171- Community food forest program. (a) The department shall establish and maintain a community food forest program.

(b) The community food forest program shall develop a statewide network of locally-directed community food forests in viable locations around the State by working with the various county governments and community-based citizen organizations to:

(1) Identify potential locations such as parks, community centers, or other locations that may be suitable for community food forest use;

(2) Examine the fiscal impacts of implementing a community food forest in identified areas, particularly in regards to the provision of food assistance to residents, and the impact on local farm revenues;

(3) Determine what types of edible plants may be appropriate for growth in each planned community food forest, including by assessing relevant community culture, food and landscape preferences, and environmental conditions;

(4) Take appropriate steps to implement community food forests in identified locations, including by developing land, planting plants, and maintaining existing gardens;

(5) Provide guidance and technical assistance to communities where community food forests are to be placed to ensure continued food forest sustainability through community participation;

(6) Develop guidelines for the harvesting of plants grown in community food forests to discourage theft and the harvesting of garden plants for sale;

(7) Develop policies and procedures to protect public health and safety in the operation of community food forests; and

(8) Lease to county agencies or community-based citizen organizations, at nominal consideration, by direct negotiation and without recourse to public auction, for a period not to exceed fifteen years and on such terms and conditions as my be prescribed by the board, public land or improvements under the control of the department for the purpose of managing or maintaining a community food forest.

(c) The department shall adopt rules in accordance with chapter 91 to carry out the purposes of this section.

(d) The community food forest program shall collaborate with interested stakeholders, including the communities where community food forests will be placed, the department of agriculture, and other state and county government agencies and private organizations concerned with the development of community food forests.

(e) The community food forest program shall report to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of each regular session, beginning with the regular session of 2015, describing the progress made in implementing the program, including a review of potential community food forest locations and the amount of community involvement in each potential community food forest location.

(f) For the purposes of this section:

"Plant" means any member of the plant kingdom, which bears edible fruit, seeds, or roots."

SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $         or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2014-2015 for the establishment of a community food forest program.

The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of land and natural resources for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2014.


 


 

Report Title:

Community Food Forest Program

 

Description:

Establishes a community food forest program in the Department of Land and Natural Resources that shall work collaboratively with local government and community organizations to provide sources of healthy food statewide. Appropriate funds. Effective July 1, 2014. (HB2177 HD1)

 

 

 

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