Thank you to all the petition signers!!
As of this writing, 847 people have signed the petition to approve a food forest in downtown Honolulu at Kamalii Park.
With your signatures and eloquent comments, you have demonstrated broad support for taking this symbolic step toward food security at a highly visible “gateway” to downtown Honolulu. Many of you have also emphasized the opportunity to revitalize a neglected park space in partnership with social service organizations and other groups.
We wish we could tell you that the plan was approved all systems are go. At this point, we still cannot. With the Parks & Rec department’s continuing concerns about the project, it does not appear that there is any chance that the $50,000 appropriated last year will be applied to the project. This does not mean, however, that the project is at a dead end.
We can tell you that the petition has impressed the mayor’s office. This was clear when we went in to drop off a printed copy of the signatures. There appears to be interest within the administration to further explore the concept of a food forest on public land. We hope to have more to report on that front soon.
A year has passed since the city council passed a budget with a line item for a “food security pilot program.” In one sense, it feels like a long time that we’ve been building community support and doing our back-and-forth with Parks. We’ve learned a lot and seen a lot of changes: a new mayor, a new parks director, and now a new policy on earmarks and Grants In Aid. But seasoned change makers and officials have told us that a year is actually not long at all for a novel project and these things take time.
In the near term, we intend to meet with the mayor and/or key staff. Your signatures and comments mean so much in providing the context for that meeting. We will consider possible additional partnerships to strengthen our case and capacity as we seek to create a food forest at a suitable location. We will also be seeking creative ways to begin, even in a small way, to green up and revitalize Kamalii Park.
– The Honolulu Food Forest Citizens’ Working Group
PS. Please do keep sharing the petition as long as it remains active. We are now collecting and delivering new signatures weekly to the mayor’s office. Thanks!