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Mayor Blangiardi, hotels commit to buying more from local farmers

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi and representatives from more than 20 hotels in Hawaii today committed to buying more locally grown food as well as collecting and providing data on the tourism industry’s purchasing habits.

The commitment came in the form of the City and County of Honolulu’s Oahu Good Food Pledge, which Blangiardi and the hotel representatives signed today during an event at the Hawaii Convention Center called the Oahu Good Food show, which was meant to connect local producers with hotels.

As part of the pledge, the hotels agreed to completing baseline assessments of their food procurement practices; developing multi-year plans with benchmarks to reach; and providing regular reports on their progress in buying locally grown or made products.

“For every dollar spent on local food in Hawaii, there is return of $1.60 to the local economy,” Blangiardi said in a statement. “That’s an investment worth making. I am most appreciative the hospitality industry is stepping up to the local food plate to help improve Oahu’s economy.”

The pledge is part of the city’s Oahu Good Food Program, the goal of which is to connect institutional buyers — hotels, hospitals and schools are some of the largest — with local farmers.

Dexter Kishida, Oahu’s food security and sustainability program manager, said the city’s goal is also to create a dashboard to track the tourism industry’s progress in local food purchasing.

“We’ll be meeting (with the hotels) in the next few weeks. We’re going to talk about baselines, we’re going to talk about collecting (data regarding) where they’re at. Some of them have a great view into that, but some of them don’t,” Kishida said.

The data collection will also include a verification process to ensure that the purchased food is locally grown, he said.

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