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$2.7M Awarded for Small-Scale Agriculture

HDOA News Release 

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has announced the award of 579 grants, totaling $2,684,350, for small-scale agriculture; including home gardening, herding and livestock operations in areas that are food insecure.

More than 7,400 applications were received this fall under the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program (MGFSP). The applications and project proposals were evaluated and ranked by HDOA’s Market Development Branch (MDB) and final approval was received last week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Funding for this grant program is provided by the USDA under the 2018 Farm Bill. Grant amounts ranged from $750 to $5,000.

“There was unprecedented interest in the micro-grants program this year,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Those who were awarded the grants submitted proposals that were well thought out and most likely to achieve the grant purpose of increasing the quality and quantity of locally grown foods in areas where access to food is limited.”

Consideration was based on the description of the project, the number of beneficiaries, and the level of food security in the location of the household as indicated on the Food Insecurity Index, calculated by Conduent Healthy Communities Institute using data from Claritas, 2021. The index which maps food insecurity by zip code may be found at hawaiihealthmatters.org/indexsuite/index/foodinsecurity

Of the 579 grants awarded, 67 in Maui County, including some on Molokai, 347 were on Oahu, 32 in Kauai County and 133 on Hawaii Island. All the grant awards are posted on the State Procurement Office website at hands.ehawaii.gov/hands/awards (search under “micro-grants”). 

Examples of proposals that were funded included projects for fencing to protect crops and seedlings from axis deer damage; purchasing of seeds and tree crops; purchasing of soil amendments, compost, tools and irrigation systems; refrigeration/freezing capacity and canning supplies for food preservation; purchasing of garden towers and raised beds for vegetable production; building shade houses, aquaponic, hydroponic and aeroponic systems; and constructing poultry coops.

Grant awardees have been notified via email and must submit a W-9 tax form (Internal Revenue Service). Awardees will also be sent a contract, which must be signed electronically and returned to the MDB. The contract also includes the terms and conditions of the micro-grant. Once the W-9 and contract forms are submitted, the funds will be disbursed.

Questions regarding the status of the awards may be addressed to MDB via email at hdoa.md.microgrants@hawaii.gov.


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