Hawaiʻi grows just 15 percent of the food residents consume—down from a decade ago and well below the 28 percent “food self-sufficiency” rate for New Englanders.
Growing more of our own food could increase the security of the food supply, conserve energy used in transportation, reduce the risk of introducing invasive pests and even improve nutritional content by providing fresher foods, proponents say.
It would also stimulate Hawaiʻi’s economy and create jobs, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Professor PingSun Leung concludes in a new circular from the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
Leung and Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture colleague Matthew Loke point out that more than $3 billion leaves the state annually to buy imported food.
While full food self-sufficiency is unrealistic for Hawaiʻi, replacing just 10 percent of imports with locally grown food would generate $94 million for farmers and an economy-wide impact of $188 million in sales, $47 million earnings, $6 million of new state taxes and 2,300 jobs.