Transforming Hawaiʻi’s Food System Together is an initiative that seeks to build statewide capacity and pave the way for a more robust, sustainable and resilient food system, especially in times of crisis. The initiative harnesses innovation and momentum developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, documents lessons learned, articulates policy and planning recommendations, and sets up the State to expand large-scale institutional purchasing of local foods.


1. Conduct applied research that informs the prioritization of necessary food system actions at the community, county and state level. 

2. Develop an integrated food policy framework and food system resilience and equity strategy that is inclusive of indigenous values and producer perspectives. 

3. Implement capacity building strategies to facilitate institutional purchasing of locally produced food.


  • The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed social inequities and systemic vulnerabilities to household food security, agriculture and the economy. The impacts of the pandemic have  amplified the need for strengthening the food system of Hawaiʻi to ensure greater resilience, food security, human health and economic diversity and stability. 
  • A more sustainable, equitable and resilient food system for Hawaiʻi is critically needed given the many pressing ecological and social costs of the food system and the rapid rate of global environmental change.
  • No similar initiative, working group or plan currently exists that identifies obstacles and opportunities for food system change that will help Hawaiʻi advance climate change adaptation and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to food and agriculture.
  • As one driver of economic recovery and resilience building, the project will help restore and develop a community-based food system for Hawaiʻi and recapture a portion of the $8 Billion dollars annually spent on imported foods. 

Knowledge Products

Conducting applied research that informs food system planning and actions at the community, county and state level is foundational to the initiative. Growing a sustainable food system movement in Hawaiʻi will be facilitated by first conducting Food Systems Mapping that will  identify key resources and leverage points that can help to shape where public policy, investments and action will be most effective. The Social Network Analysis will identify community leadership, influencers and champions to work in collaboration to develop a shared food system development strategy for Hawai‘i. The Policy Analysis will identify key factors that inhibit or enable a thriving food system in Hawaiʻi and will highlight on-going efforts and collaborative opportunities for systems change. Food System Vulnerability Assessments will identify key systemic risks to household food insecurity in the state. Together, the resulting knowledge products will shape the formation of an Integrated State Food Policy Framework and a Food System Resilience and Equity Strategy informed by multi-level dialogue and inclusive consultation with key stakeholders.

OUR Partners

THFST Partner Logos

The Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute (HI-PHI) will serve as the “backbone” organization for this collaborative statewide project by coordinating, facilitating and convening key activities. The following partners are currently supporting the project in various capacities. Additional partners will be added as the project progresses.

To get involved in food system change on your island, please visit: