December 2023

Hawaiʻi Food System Summit Recap

The 2nd Annual Hawaiʻi Food System Summit brought together over 150 advocates from across the islands to discuss the critical issues facing our food system and chart a path for progress on December 14, and 15, 2023 at the University of Hawaiʻi – West Oahu.

On Day 1 of the summit, participants heard from state legislators and food systems experts including Paula Daniels, Celeste Connors, Dexter Kishida and Wendy Gady. In the afternoon, participants worked collectively to identify 30 food and agriculture policy interest areas, then ranked these interest areas using a set of jointly determined criteria.

Day 1: Collective Advocacy

Hawaiʻi Food System Summit Top 4 Policy Issues for 2024

  • Expanding Hawaiʻi’s Farm to School Programs: Work with the Department of Education to increase use of locally sourced foods in school meals.
  • Supporting Indigenous, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK): Pursue subsidization for the production and purchasing of culturally significant crops such as kalo and ʻulu.
  • Increasing Food System Resilience and Disaster Preparedness: Better equip Hawaiʻi’s food system for the climate crisis and increase disaster preparedness capabilities across our islands.
  • Securing Permanent Funding for DA BUX: Strengthen the Double Up Food Bucks (DA BUX) program by securing permanent funding for this vital SNAP supplement benefit in the upcoming legislative session.

In addition, Dexter Kishida, Deputy to the chairperson of the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (HDOA) announced the intention of HDOA along with the Office of Planning and Sustainable Development (OPSD) to reintroduce and co-chair a revised state-level food system planning bill based on HB308 (2023). The intention of such a bill is to form a multi-agency and multi-sector working group responsible for outlining a plan and strategy to direct development of the food system and enable Hawaiʻi to reach a range of social, cultural, economic, and ecological sustainability objectives aligned with state goals.

Day 2: Building Networks

Our Top Four Priority Policy Issues for 2024

On Day 2 of the summit, advocates participated in a workshop about building networks, and applied network thinking to their food policy interest areas. This workshop resulted in Summit participants making tangible commitments towards the formation of a statewide food policy network.

This network would serve to do:
  • Unite and organize advocates and organizations working on food system transformation in Hawaiʻi
  • Ensure efforts for change are coordinated, comprehensive, and efficient in their use of resources
  • Break down silos of information
  • Enable Hawaiʻi to reach a range of social, cultural, economic, and ecological sustainability goals through shared values of equity, reciprocity, transparency, and cultural relevance