Updated: February 11, 2023
The US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded $1.9 million in federal funding to programs at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College.
The funding, which aims to promote and strengthen Alaska Native-Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions, will provide financial support for these institutions to carry out education, applied research, and community development programs within a broadly defined arena of food and agricultural sciences-related disciplines.
“This funding is an important investment in the future of Hawaiʻi’s food and agriculture system, and the Native Hawaiian communities that have been stewards of the land for centuries,” said US Senator Mazie Hirono, who announced the funding today. “UH’s programs, like GoFarm, play an important role in teaching and training the next generation of individuals who will care for the land and be responsible for strengthening Hawaiʻi’s sustainability practices. I am glad that this funding will be used to support our local economy, develop our workforce, and engage members of the Native Hawaiian community as we work to protect the land and feed our communities for years to come.”
The funding will be used to support two programs at UH Mānoa and one at UH Maui College. The projects at UH Mānoa include GoFarm Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi-One-Ag.
GoFarm Hawaiʻi is a statewide beginning farmer training program aiming to help enhance Hawaii’s food security and local economy by reducing dependence on imported food and increasing the number of sustainable, local agricultural producers.
Hawaii-One-Ag creates and provides a number of diverse educational opportunities, and engages with high school and college students, as well as agricultural workers who want to develop their professional and technical skills.
The UH Maui College program, Ike Kupuna: Integrating Traditional Knowledge into Natural Resource Sciences, combines modern and traditional methods in order to effectively manage Maui’s natural resources and increase participation amongst the Native Hawaiian community.
In May, Sen. Hirono led a letter with 15 Senate Democratic colleagues requesting strong funding for MSIs – including Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions – in FY2023.
More recently, in September, she introduced a Senate resolution recognizing the importance of institutions that provide educational opportunities for Asian American, Native, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander students.
The University of Hawaiʻi also received $1.5 million from NIFA in 2020. This funding enabled UH to promote educational equity for underrepresented students, expand education programs, and provide job training in the fields of food, agriculture, and natural resources.