The Covid-19 pandemic exposed Hawai’i’s dependency on the mainland for our most basic food needs. As I volunteered at food distribution events, my heart was broken to see hundreds of our residents waiting in food lines for hours. With the pandemic, a bad situation has only become worse, as so many have lost their jobs. I am passionate about food security and I know you are, as well.
On Nov. 5, the Honolulu City Council will be considering several items I have created to enhance food security and to ensure that all of our residents can grow and produce their own food, even if they live in high-rises in urban centers.
Bill 59 will empower us to grow our own food by offering residents a city-provided community garden where they can grow their own produce. This bill exempts all 10 existing community gardens from any changes, but creates opportunities for residents everywhere to grow their own fresh, healthy food.
Bill 81 gives a tax break to property owners that allow land to be used for agricultural uses such as community gardens.
Bill 83 will allow the public to grow edible plants in city rights-of-way.
Resolution 20-293 and the accompanying bill will create Farm Villages of Tiny Homes to provide housing for farm labor on fallow agricultural acreage. This removes key barriers, housing and labor, to growing food in these areas. Farm Villages enable residents to live in simple agricultural communities where they can grow food, without turning precious agricultural land over to giant residential developments and shopping centers, as has happened in the past. The land will remain zoned as AG-1 and AG-2.
You have supported me in the past as I have worked towards stabilizing our food supply by becoming more independent through supporting agriculture and producing our own food. I urge you to bring your testimony to the City Council to support these very significant efforts to increase our food security and independence.
These measures will empower more people to grow their own food in our urban centers and create options for people to increase agricultural production. They are scheduled for public hearing during the full Honolulu City Council meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 5. Please register to testify by Wednesday, Nov. 4. We hope you will offer your support for this very important legislation. Thank you for any testimony you previously submitted!
To present oral testimony, (preferred), visit www.webex.com, click Join, enter the specified meeting number and complete the registration process. You will receive an email that contains links and information on joining the meeting by either phone or video conference. Webex testifiers are strongly encouraged to register at least 24 hours before the start of the meeting. Remote testimony will be taken at the start of the agenda and will then be closed.
Written testimony should also be submitted a day before the meeting, but late testimony will be accepted and hand-delivered to council members the morning of the meeting. You should be aware that If submitted, written testimonies, including the testifiers address, email address and phone number, will be available to the public on both the City Councils pilot website: www.honolulucitycouncil.com, as well as the Citys legacy DocuShare website.
You can find full instructions on how to register to testify on Pages 4 and 5 of the public hearing notice:
We also ask that time permitting, you contact other members of the Council to express your support:
Chair Ann Kobayashi, 768-5005, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Vice-Chair Tommy Waters, 768-5004, email@example.com;
Floor Leader Carol Fukunaga, 768-5006, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Chair Emeritus Ron Menor, 768-5009, email@example.com;
Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi, 768-5002, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Councilmember Alan Texeira, 768-5003, email@example.com;
Councilmember Joey Manahan, 768-5007, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Councilmember Brandon Elefante, 768-5008, email@example.com.
Please encourage your like-minded colleagues to submit testimony in support of the resolution by sharing this email. Mahalo for your time and consideration!
Councilmember Kym Pine represents residents of District One, comprising portions of Ewa Villages and Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Makakilo, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko Olina, Nnkuli, Mili, Waianae, Mkaha, Keaau and Makua) and is chair of the City Councils Committee on Business Economic Development and Tourism.
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