The Conversation: Measure Would Require State Agencies to Buy Hawaii Grown Produce

Feb 23, 2021

Bill would require state agencies to buy local produce; Executing Larry Ellison's agricultural vision on Lanai; Reality Check with Civil Beat: Zippy's wants to pay employees to get vaccinated; Union leader on remote working policy for government workers; Challenges with telehealth adoption

Bill would require state agencies to buy local produce

State lawmakers are taking up a bill Tuesday that has to do with getting government agencies to buy more local produce in an effort to support local farmers. Rep. Scot Matayoshi, who represents parts of Windward Oahu, introduced HB 817. He tells us why he thinks it's necessary.

Sonia Lo, CEO, Sensei Ag
Credit Courtesy Sensei Ag

  Executing Larry Ellison's agricultural vision on Lanai

It has been more than 8 years since billionaire Larry Ellison bought most of the land on the island of Lanai. Since then, he has worked to transform it by renovating the hotels but also rethinking its future in agriculture and going beyond the pineapple days of David Murdock and Dole Foods. Enter Sensei Ag and the CEO that Ellison and David Agus recruited to run the operation during the pandemic. Sonia Lo was working as CEO of Crop One Holdings, Inc., a vertical farming company that owns FreshBox Farms in Millis, Mass., and a joint venture with Emirates Flight Catering in Dubai. We caught up with her to better undersatnd what's possible for agriculture on Lanai.

Reality Check with Civil Beat: Zippy's wants to pay employees to get vaccinated

The popular Hawaii restaurant chain has plans to offer its workers digital tokens that could be redeemed for paid time off if they choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Civil Beat reporter Brittany Lyte discusses how the chili purveyor is joining employers nationwide to encourage vaccinations. Click here to read the story at CivilBeat.org.

Union leader on remote working policy for government workers

Contracts for all government unions are up this summer. Will there be a change to the policy of remote working as part of those labor talks? Randy Perreira is the executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA), the largest public sector union. Here's what he had to say.

Credit Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

  Challenges with telehealth adoption

The ongoing pandemic has illustrated the need to pivot to remote healthcare. The Freeman Foundation, Hawaii Community Foundation and HMSa have partnered to provide $1.3 million in grants to 14 federally qualified health centers across the state to boost telehealth service. Dr. Emmanuel Kintu is the CEO at Kalihi Palama Health Center and tells us challenges in rolling out telehealth services. Click here to listen to more from Kintu and Chris Van Bergeijk, senior vice president and chief impact officer at Hawaii Community Foundation.