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The Conversation: Looking to the Future of Ag, Big and Small

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We've got a jam-packed call-in show for our listeners today, looking at the state of Hawaii's agricultural infrastructure. For the first half hour, farmers Melanie Bondera of Big Island and Paul Reppun of Windward Oahu, along with Sharon Hurd, the marketing program manager and development specialist with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, join us to discuss the merits new micro-grant program for small-scale farmers. We switch gears halfway through the show to discuss a cornerstone of Hawaii's big ag economy: the Agribusiness Development Corporation. House Rep. Amy Perusso comes on the line to tells why she's pushing fora bill to dissolve the ADC, and we'll hear insight from Kauai County Councilmember Mason Chock, who says ADC just hasn't worked for the Garden Isle.

For more information about the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program, click here. According to a press release from the Hawaii DOA, "The maximum award for an individual is $5,000 for a project of 12 months, $2,500 for a six-month project. Under the grant program rules, religious organizations, food banks, and food pantries may also apply. Applications/proposals must be emailed to hdoa.addfrp@hawaii.gov and received by noon, April 23, 2021."

The DOA will also host aZoom webinaron Tuesday, March 16th, at 10:00am to field questions about the new program. Click here for the link. You can use the Meeting ID: 983 7226 2871 and the Passcode: HDOAMDB to join.

And thank you to listener Neil Logan of the Farm Agriculture Research Management Center for recommending this free regenerative agroforestry tool.

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Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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