The successes and concerns of University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources’ (CTAHR) Waimānalo Research Station were recently shared during a visit with state legislators.
Sens. Mike Gabbard, Lynn DeCoite, Herbert M. “Tim” Richards, III and Brenton Awa, representing the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, in addition to Micah-Seth Munekata of Ulupono Initiative met with CTAHR’s GoFarm Hawaiʻi program and its farmer graduates.
“It was great to have so many Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee members visit with the GoFarm Hawaiʻi staff and farmers at CTAHR‘s Waimānalo Research Station,” said Janel Yamamoto, director of GoFarm Hawaiʻi. “The Senators were able to connect directly with the GoFarm Hawaiʻi team and graduate farmers to see how they are impacting the local food system and learn about challenges. Hopefully this will translate into increased support for our agricultural sector.”
Initiated by Gabbard, the visit allowed him and fellow committee members to prepare for the 2023 legislative session. The meeting granted them the chance to “see the wonderful work that [CTAHR] is doing in creating the next generation of trained and successful farmers,” said DeCoite.
“That’s why we’re here,” said Gabbard. “You can imagine the paperwork our staff has to consider in dealing with about 3,000 bills introduced every year in the legislature. This visit makes it real. We meet the people, we’re out here on the land, so when we consider that legislation, we remember Janel, and Laura Ediger, and Rachel Ladrig. This makes it real.”
Although the senators did not visit in relation to a specific bill or ask, the opportunity to have them see and connect with Hawaiʻi’s local farmers demonstrated the value of the program.