The money will be distributed across Hawaii to bolster community-level food security.

Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s ever-popular Micro-Grants for Food Security Program is getting a $3.5 million cash injection from the federal government.

Intended to support food production in Hawaii’s most food insecure communities, the money will be distributed by DOA in the form of $5,000 grants to assist small-scale gardening and livestock operations.

The program has proven popular over the years as microgrants have been awarded to more than 1,100 households and 25 organizations statewide, which have used the money to buy everything from seed, compost or processing equipment, to funding larger projects.

  • ‘Hawaii Grown’ Special Series

The $3.5 million for Hawaii is part of a suite of recently announced U.S. Department of Agriculture grants totaling $7.6 million, with also include funds for Alaska, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Those federal funds are supplied under the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill.

Sen. Mazie Hirono, who supported the 2018 Farm Bill program, has said that she will support the program going forward.

“Too many families in Hawaii and across the U.S. lack access to affordable, healthy food options within their communities,” Hirono said in a press release Monday. “These grants will help people in Hawaii access more locally grown food options — increasing food security across the islands.”

U.S Congress is deliberating on the next iteration of the omnibus Farm Bill, one that is formulated every five years and is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

Rep. Jill Tokuda, who sits on the House Committee on Agriculture, said in May that she would like to see funding doubled for the USDA’s microgrant programs in that bill.

“Hawaii Grown” is funded in part by grants from Ulupono Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation and the Frost Family Foundation.

Help Power Local, Nonprofit News.

Across the nation and in Hawaii, news organizations are downsizing and closing their doors due to the ever-rising costs of keeping local journalism alive and well.

While Civil Beat has grown year over year, still only 1% of our readers are donors, and we need your help now more than ever.

Make a gift today of any amount, and your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $20,500, thanks to a generous group of Civil Beat donors.

About the Author