Food sovereignty should be a priority in Hawaii

While we may be loathe to admit it, if we look at the big picture, our society as a whole cannot take care of itself here. If the boats and planes stopped coming tomorrow, what would we do? Could we survive? And, if not, what would be an acceptable level of preparedness for that possible occurrence? How much local food production is enough to hedge against disaster? How much of our economy should be local?

These are important questions that need answers, and the sooner the better. We citizens need to be taking an active roll in electing people to office who will make these issues their No. 1 priority, and giving the ones there who already do our enthusiastic support.

What else can we do? For me the answer is to educate, cooperate and legislate our way toward a future where we actually have one. Being totally dependent on outsiders for food and jobs is a dead end.

Go to and support these bills:

* SB564 – farm-to-school programs.

* SB937, which creates a food resiliency task force.

* SB1284, which establishes food-sustainability goals.

* HB1421, for affordable long-term leases of lands for farmers.

* SB592 and HB486, which provide funding for the University of Hawaii and its College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources to implement 4-H and Future Farmers of America.

A new generation of farmers in Hawaii is critical. The average age of our farmers is 60.

Let’s make food sovereignty in these islands a reality.

Simon Russell