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$3M in Home Gardening Grants

HDOA News Release

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is now accepting applications for the second year of the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program (MGFSP), which provides support for small-scale gardening, herding and livestock operations to help produce food in areas that are food insecure.

A total of $3 million will be available in this program, which includes $2 million for this year’s grant funds combined with $1 million that was carried over from the previous year. Last year, a total of 177 grants were awarded statewide. Funding for this grant program is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the 2018 Farm Bill.

The maximum award per household is $5,000. Due to the high level of interest from individuals, organizations will not be eligible for this year’s MGFSP program. The online application form and program information are available at the HDOA Market Development Branch website at hdoa.hawaii.gov/add/md/.  The deadline to apply is noon on Sept. 19.

To be eligible, applicants must be a Hawaii resident, at least 18 years old and head of the household; and the household has not received a previous MGFSP grant.

Consideration will be based on the description of the project, the number of beneficiaries, and whether the applicant received an award in the previous program. Consideration will also be given to 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

“Since the department received a great amount of interest last year from home gardeners and small-scale farmers, the department has streamlined the application process and will focus on supporting households so they may grow their own food for their families,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture.

Examples of the types of activities that may be funded under this grant include:

  • Small-Scale Gardening – purchase tools or equipment, soil, seeds, plants, canning equipment, refrigeration, composting equipment, towers, hydroponic and aeroponic farming.
  • Small-Scale Herding and Livestock Operations – purchase animals, buy, erect or repair fencing for livestock.

To assist interested parties with the application process, a Zoom webinar was held on Aug. 24 and a recording will be posted on the HDOA website.

Questions regarding the application process may addressed to HDOA’s Market Development Branch at (808) 973-9595 or email hdoa.md.microgrants@hawaii.gov.


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