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Public input sought on county Department of Agriculture

The Maui News

Maui County Council Member Shane Sinenci is seeking public comments on priorities for the new county Department of Agriculture, which will begin operations on July 1, 2022.

Sinenci, who holds the East Maui residency seat, proposed the creation of the department last year in a charter amendment that was approved by voters in the November general election. The department will be charged with diversifying and expanding sustainable forms of agriculture and ensuring access to locally grown agricultural products.

“Now, as we’re a year away for the Department of Agriculture’s establishment, I’m inviting members of our community to kokua by sharing their views and ideas on how new budget and policy ordinances can maximize the department’s effectiveness,” Sinenci said in a news release Monday.

Maui County residents can take the Maui Food Security Now survey at www.mauifoodsecuritynow.com/areas-of-need-survey.

The online survey isn’t affiliated with Maui County but does offer another platform for the community to share ideas on shaping the department’s launch and future, said Sinenci, who plans to introduce legislation later this year to prioritize the department’s work and is considering related funding mechanisms.

“Even though we just finished our fiscal year 2021-2022 budget session, it’s already time to start thinking about the next budget,” Sinenci said. “I know I speak for my colleagues on the council when I say it’s important to fulfill the voters’ intent and ensure the Department of Agriculture fulfills its mandates for developing ‘a sustainable regional agricultural system’ and ‘increasing opportunities in the agricultural sector.’ We need and value the public’s suggestions.”

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