HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

8

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

Relating to Food Security.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that improving food security is vital to public health. Despite Hawaii's year-round growing season, approximately only ten per cent of the islands' food supply is grown locally, with nearly ninety per cent being imported, resulting in an estimated $3,000,000,000 in economic loss to the State. Hawaii's import-heavy food supply system is at risk of disruption during emergencies. Studies conducted by researchers at the University of Hawaii have estimated that there is only an eleven-day supply of food in the State at any given time, leading the governor to establish a goal of doubling local food production by 2020.

The legislature further finds that the actual percentage of locally-produced food could vary widely depending on what measurement system is employed. Local food production can be measured through various methods, including the pounds of food produced, the dollar value of total sales of locally-produced food, the percentage of land acreage used to grow food for local consumption, and unique metrics for each food category, among other assessments.

In addition, the legislature finds that Hawaii does not have a standardized food security metric system. Accordingly, in order to increase food security and self-sufficiency, methods to accurately determine Hawaii's local food production should be studied to help establish a standardized food security metric system.

The legislature also finds that during the COVID-19 pandemic, economic shortfalls caused financial uncertainty within Hawaii's food supply chain. Such economic turmoil exacerbated the food insecurity experienced by residents whose purchasing power had declined because of reduced employment. To ensure that Hawaii's people are able to meet their basic needs during economic downturns, climatological emergencies, and public health crises, it is imperative that the State increase its efforts to achieve complete food security.

The legislature notes that in May 2020, the state chief economist estimated that the tourism industry would not recover to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity for at least five to six years. To guarantee the financial well-being of Hawaii's residents and the continuation of essential government services, it is necessary to replace the islands' prolonged dependence on tourism with sustainable alternatives to generate fiscal prosperity. Investing in sustainable agricultural activities that advance food security and self-sufficiency provide viable opportunities for long-term economic diversification.

The purpose of this Act is to increase food security in Hawaii by establishing a Hawaii food security initiative program within the department of agriculture that:

(1) Identifies a plan for permanent food security in the State, including deriving a majority of Hawaii's food supply from locally-produced, sustainable, and regenerative sources by 2035;

(2) Recommends additional steps necessary to help increase food security; and

(3) Develops an assessment system to accurately determine how much food is locally produced in the State and how much food is imported into the State.

SECTION 2. Chapter 141, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"141-    Hawaii food security initiative. (a) There is established, within the department of agriculture, a Hawaii food security initiative program. The department of agriculture, in collaboration with the office of planning, shall design and implement the Hawaii food security initiative program, which shall include:

(1) Identifying a plan to make progress toward achieving permanent food security for the State, including the goal of deriving a majority of Hawaii's food supply from locally-produced, sustainable, and regenerative sources by 2035;

(2) Recommending additional steps necessary to help increase food security; and

(3) Developing an assessment system to accurately determine how much food is locally produced in the State and how much food is imported into the State, taking into account multiple methods of measuring and calculating local food production, including:

(A) Calculating the dollar value in terms of total sales of locally-produced food;

(B) Measuring the weight of locally-produced food in pounds;

(C) Assessing metrics that vary based on food categories;

(D) Analyzing the nutritional value of locally-produced food;

(E) Evaluating access to locally-produced food for economically disadvantaged communities; and

(F) Any other metrics deemed relevant by the department of agriculture.

(b) The department of agriculture shall consult with stakeholders to solicit and incorporate input on food security activities that may be implemented to help achieve the goals of the Hawaii food security initiative program, including experts in sustainable and indigenous agricultural practices.

(c) The department of agriculture shall submit a report on the Hawaii food security initiative program, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2022 and each regular session thereafter."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Food Security; Hawaii Food Security Initiative Program; Department of Agriculture

 

Description:

Establishes the Hawaii food security initiative program within the department of agriculture.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.