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Hawai‘i Island Food Bank Set To Receive Nearly $1 Million In Federal Funding To Expand Program Statewide

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that non-profit The Food Basket on Hawai‘i Island will receive a $985,652 grant to help more low-income families across the state access locally grown produce and healthy food.

“This new federal funding means more people in Hawai‘i will be able to put healthy, locally grown food on their tables, helping both local farmers and families in need,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

In June, Schatz urged the USDA to approve The Food Basket’s grant application, citing the critical work they have done for Hawaii Island residents.

By receiving access to federal matching funds, The Food Basket will build on its current program, which gives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cardholders additional food dollars when they purchase locally grown produce using their SNAP benefits. Nutrition incentive programs like the one developed by The Food Basket are an important means for supporting local farmers and small businesses, who might otherwise miss out on the economic benefits communities can derive from SNAP.

Hawai‘i imports approximately 90 percent of its food supply, resulting in food costs that are 61 percent higher than the mainland. As a result, Hawai‘i is extremely vulnerable to food shortages. The Food Basket aims to reduce dependency on mainland markets by supporting Hawai‘i’s agricultural producers and incentivizing the purchase of locally grown food.