HIPHI, in partnership with other organizations, has been awarded a Regional Food System Partnership grant from the US Department of Agriculture. This project aims to build statewide capacity and paves the way for a more robust, sustainable, and resilient food system, especially in times of crisis. The project harnesses the momentum from the COVID-19 pandemic, documents lessons learned, articulates policy and planning recommendations, and seeks to enable the state of Hawaiʻi to expand large-scale institutional purchasing of local foods.

The project has three objectives with key deliverables which include:

  1. The project will generate applied research and evidence to inform policy and strategy through the completion of the following:
    • Social Network Analysis – determines who holds power and influence in the food and agricultural system at the local, island, county, and state level.  
    • Food Systems-System Mapping – clarification of root causes and how they influence each other, lift opportunities, challenges and leverage points. 
    • Vulnerability Assessment – survey and interviews of key informants on gaps in the food system that lead to food insecurity. 
    • Policy Analysis – comprehensive state food and agriculture policy analysis to define key structural obstacles to achieving food systems related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. 
  2. Develop an integrated food policy framework and equity and resilience strategy that defines Hawaii’s food system, scope and structure which is inclusive of indigenous values and producers’ perspectives.
  3. Build state capacity to purchase local food for schools, hospitals, jails, and other large scale purchase institutions, by conducting an assessment of the opportunity, sharing best practices, weaving “farm to institution” into project activities, and vetting the readiness for large scale purchasers to adopt the Center for Good Food Purchasing model.

The project is a multi-sectoral gathering of partners who have committed to transforming elements of the food system with a shared vision of making local food the healthy, accessible and affordable choice for Hawaiʻi communities. The ultimate vision is for Hawaii’s food system to drive community well-being, economic vibrancy, and environmental resilience.