Food Security is the ability to acquire locally produced food that is safe and nutritious in a socially ethical way.
Almost 221,834 individuals (19.2%) of Hawai`i residents live in food insecure households; 53,384 in hungry households; Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, and Filipinos are disproportionately affected; the highest risk food insecure community is Wai’anae at (33.2%); and only 22% of food insecure households (in 2000) received any food stamp assistance. Food Insecurity is associated with poorer self-reported physical and mental health, higher levels of obesity, diabetes, and arthritis. Many of these conditions are due to the lack of locally available healthy foods, as well as the consumption of less nutritious food choices. Wai`anae’s two major health clinics fight a constant battle to remedy diet-related health problems using both Western, alternative and Hawaiian medical techniques. And yet this is not our community’s history. Wai‘anae was once a self-sufficient region that was able to produce adequate amounts of food while managing its land and water resources in a highly sustainable manner.
To empower our community and work for a more self-reliant and sustainable Hawai‘i, the Wai‘anae Community Re-Development Corporation (WCRC) created the MA‘O Community Food Security Initiative. MA‘O is the acronym for mala ‘ai ‘opio, which translates as ‘the youth food garden’, a movement to develop a comprehensive and living local food system—educating youth, fighting hunger, improving health and nutrition, growing the organic agriculture industry—to empower our community to move towards self-sufficiency. Interconnected economic development and educational projects have been established to achieve this mission, including:
A Commitment to our Values
Our core values support and sustain the our CFS Initiative: