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$5K grants available for home gardeners, small-scale farmers

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The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture will be awarding micro-grants up to $5,000 to individuals for small-scale gardening, herding and livestock operations.

It’s the second year of the agriculture department’s Micro-Grants for Food Security Program. It aims to help produce food in areas that are food insecure.

Last year, nearly 200 grants were awarded statewide. This year’s program has $3 million available for grants.

Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the 2018 Farm Bill.

"Since the department received a great amount of interest last year from home gardeners and small-scale farmers, the department has streamlined the application process and will focus on supporting households so they may grow their own food for their families,” Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chairperson of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture, said in a statement.

The grants can be used to buy tools, equipment, seeds, and canning equipment, as well as to purchase livestock.

To be eligible, individuals must be Hawaiʻi residents aged 18 or over, and the head of the household. People who previously received this grant are not eligible.

Consideration will be based on the description of the project, the number of beneficiaries, and whether the applicant received an award in the previous program. Consideration will also be given to the level of food security in the location of the household as indicated on the Food Insecurity Index, calculated by Conduent Healthy Communities Institute using data from Claritas, 2021.

The deadline to apply is noon on Sept. 19. To assist interested parties with the application process, a Zoom webinar has been scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 24 at noon. Click here for more information.

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