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Oahu to launch agricultural grant program for farmers

A new $3 million federally funded agricultural grant program for farmers, ranchers and other growers on Oahu is being developed by Honolulu’s city government to support local agriculture.

The funding, from the American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, originated with a resolution from Honolulu City Council Vice Chair Esther Kiaʻaina. The first phase of the program will allocate $1 million in each of 2022, 2023 and 2024.

“I am so excited for this new City program as it helps our farmers impacted by the pandemic, promotes food security, and advances economic diversification,” Kiaʻaina said in a statement. “We must move beyond talking about the importance of agriculture and get our farmers and producers the necessary resources they need to increase agricultural production. I am proud of the City for partnering with our state and federal leaders in making agriculture a priority for the people of Hawaii.”

Resolution 21-079, introduced in March, urged the City and County of Honolulu to use federal funding to support local growers. It passed on Thursday.

“Growing more food locally is absolutely essential to strengthening our local economy,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi in a statement. “These grants are vital to our strategy of creating precious sustainable jobs for our small farmers, ranchers, and growers and ensures the money stays in our local communities.”

Farmers can prepare to apply for the grants by attending an online informational briefing on May 17 or 18 at 6 p.m. The meetings, which are not required to apply for the grants, will be streamed on the Honolulu Office of Economic Revitalization Facebook page.

The public can receive email notifications about the availability of grant applications by signing up at https://www.oahuaggrants.org/.

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