Waimea Town Meeting focuses on food reliance, Sept. 6 September 4, 2012 SOURCE: Waimea Community Association WAIMEA, Hawaii: “Food self-sufficiency” gets a lot of attention these days for a variety of reasons – from health and food safety concerns, to the frightening fact that Hawai’i imports about 90% of its food. And then there’s the ever rising cost of food at a time when family budgets are already stretched to the max by unstable employment, and soaring energy and health care costs. What do we as a community do about this? A newly released in-depth study funded by the County of Hawai’i concludes this isn’t just about how to “grow” existing farm production and enticing new farmers and ranchers into the business – though these are part of the solution. The study concludes that food self-sufficiency is everyone’s kuleana, and this Thursday’s Waimea Community Association Town Meeting – 5:15 p.m., Sept. 6 in Waimea School Cafeteria – will explore food self-sufficiency and what it’s going to take to become more reliant on food that has been grown or caught locally. Included in the evening will sharing a list of 100 specific practical things Hawai’i Island residents, businesses, farmers, ranchers, landowners, food purveyors, restaurants, institutional buyers, the state and county government and even school students and parents can do to make a difference. [FMP poster=”http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/media/2012/05may/0518foodBIG.jpg” width=”280″ height=”153″]http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/media/2012/05may/0518foodstudy.mp4[/FMP] WCA’s September 6 Food Self-Sufficiency discussion will begin with an overview of a new County of Hawai’i Food Self-Sufficiency Baseline Study by land use planner and project coordinator Jeff Melrose. The study summarizes the results of a new Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping effort that has digitized current agricultural activity on Hawai’i Island. This data provides a 2012 snapshot of farming on this island, which can serve as a baseline to monitor future trends in agriculture land use. This mapping effort also illustrates the variability of agricultural activities island-wide by describing where farming occurs and why. As always, all Waimea and North Hawai’i residents are invited to WCA monthly Town Meetings. There is no charge and no membership dues. While there is no charge, participants are urged to make a donation either of non-perishable foods or cash to Waimea’s food pantry. Also on the agenda will be a brief update by community volunteer Mel Macy on the long dreamed of 24-acre Waimea District Park, for which a Memorandum of Understanding was recently signed between Parker Ranch and the County of Hawai’i. Then, North Hawai’i Community Hospital CEO Ken Wood will provide an update including Kaheleaulani, the hospital’s new Native Hawaiian Health Program. For information, call WCA President Sherman Warner (885-1725) or go to www.WaimeaTown.org.