News Release

Homestead Community Development Center

The Homestead Community Development Corporation (HCDC) nonprofit, dedicated to Hawaiian Home Land areas statewide, has issued food sovereignty grants to over 18 families so far in the second quarter of 2021, with an expected 40 additional grants to be made to families on all islands over the next year.

“Grants are issued directly to families to support back yard gardens, edible landscapes or other subsistence activities across the pae aina, and even fishing!” said Vaipuarii Tapiero-Kight, a program manager leading the project. “Small investments like these food sovereignty grants can yield food all year round, creating more and more food secure ohana, one family at a time.”

The Homestead Community Development Corporation Food Sovereignty program creates access to resources either in the form of grants or loans to invest capital in family-based food production. Under the program, families receive financial assessments, savings plans, and grant funding to grow healthy foods, whether through conventional gardens or installing small aquaponics systems, and in many cases, planting food producing trees.

“This program is so perfect for us in the Kahikinui homestead,” said Donna Sterling, a food sovereignty grant recipient. “Being off-grid, food security and self-sufficiency is key.” Sterling purchased sheep with her food sovereignty grant and took out a modest loan to install a comfort shed to add to her 12-acre kuleana homestead on Maui.

The Homestead Community Development Corporation Food Sovereignty program is funded in part by the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF), created from cy pres funds awarded in the Keepseagle v Vilsack litigation. Native American Agriculture Fund is committed to investing in Native agriculture to support Native ranchers, farmers, fishers and champions of food self-sufficiency.

“Native American Agriculture Fund is not only funding programs here in Hawaii on our trust lands but is sharing successful systems in other areas of the country that we are learning from too,” said Faisha Solomon, Homestead Community Development Corporation Deputy Director. “The partnership with Native American Agriculture Fund comes at an excellent time, as we pivot to address the food insecurity of all of Hawaii.”

To apply for a food sovereignty grant, contact Vaipuarii Tapeiro-Kight or Rolina Faagai, at hli@hawaiianhomesteads.org. Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

About Homestead Community Development Corporation

Founded in 2009 by the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA), Homestead Community Development Corporation (HCDC) is a 501c3 tax exempt nonprofit dedicated to affordable housing and economic prosperity on or near Hawaiian homelands statewide. Homestead Community Development Corporation partners with Hawaiian Lending & Investments (HLI), also founded by the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations in 2019, as an emerging Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), serving and opening access to capital on the trust lands of native Hawaiians.

About Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations

Founded in 1987, Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA) is the oldest and largest statewide Homestead Association governed by native Hawaiians on the waitlist for trust lands and existing lessees of residential, farming and ranching allotments. The Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations is registered with the U.S. Department of Interior to represent the interests of and delivery services to native Hawaiians defined in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920.

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