Maui’s Common Ground Collective, a nonprofit dedicated to building food security, is receiving nearly $440,000 in federal grant money to work on strengthening the island’s food system.

Maui County locator map

According to a news release from U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono’s office, the organization was one of four in Hawaii that were awarded a combined $1.3 million in federal grant funding aimed at building local economies, boosting sustainability in food systems and increasing access to fresh, local foods.

On Maui, there’s a significant amount of agricultural-zoned lands that are “vastly underutilized,” according to the description of the grant project. Common Ground Collective plans to use the grant money to work on shifting the community away from relying on imported foods by providing distribution assistance to new growers and expanding the capacity of Maui food businesses.

Through research and on-the-ground experience, the nonprofit is looking to create a new backyard-to-market supply chain that could drastically boost local food production, according to the project description.

“A working model of the project will be shared with other rural communities as this project paves the way for a more sustainable food system and thriving global economy,” the summary says.

Across the state, the other organizations receiving funding are: Hawaii Good Food Alliance; Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services; and the Olohana Foundation.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by grants from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation and the Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation.

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