Promoting Sustainable Agriculture, Self-Sufficiency & Healthy Food Choices
In Hawai‘i, we import more than 85 percent of the food we eat. At the same time, the average age of a farmer in Hawai‘i is almost 56 years old. Our agriculture industry is at a crossroads; if we truly want to grow more of what we eat, we must encourage the consumption of locally-grown produce, empower our local farmers who are growing food, and cultivate a new generation of farmers to choose agriculture as a profession. The growth of farmers’ markets and school gardens are a step in the right direction. We must continue to work toward food security in Hawai‘i and a revitalization of our rural areas.
Advocating for Transparent Food Policy/GMO Labeling
Fighting for sensible, transparent food policy has been among Tulsi's key priorities in Congress. She has pushed for transparent, easy-to-read labeling of foods with genetically modified (GMO) ingredients so that people can make their own informed decisions about their food. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration requires the labeling of more than 3,000 ingredients, but it has resisted labeling for genetically engineered foods. Tulsi fought against legislation like the DARK Act and other misleading bills that compromise food transparency. She is continuing to work to pass the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act (H.R. 1699), which would simply empower consumers to make informed choices by requiring genetically-engineered whole and processed foods to be clearly labeled.
Protecting Against Invasive Species
In Hawaiʻi, invasive species like the coffee berry borer, fire ant, fruit flies, and macadamia felted coccid and others cost our local farmers and agriculture industry millions in lost revenue every year, threaten our unique ecosystem, agriculture and waterways, as well as our food supply and public health. Tulsi has introduced the Areawide Integrated Pest Management (AIPM) Act and Macadamia Tree Health Initiative to support long-term and sustainable solutions to fight invasive species in Hawaiʻi and across the country. AIPMs have a long history of success in Hawaiʻi. They have helped to increase the number of commercial farms and also help local farmers increase their crop diversity, decrease their use of harmful pesticides, and manage pests in a sustainable and cost-effective way.
More on Promoting Sustainable Agriculture, Self-Sufficiency & Healthy Food Choices
Washington, DC—Continuing her commitment to common sense criminal justice reform, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke on the House floor today urging Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to federally decriminalize marijuana. If passed, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (H.R.1227) would take marijuana off the federal controlled substances list—joining other industries such as alcohol and tobacco. Gabbard introduced the legislation with Rep. Tom Garrett (VA-05), an Army veteran and former prosecutor.
Washington, DC—The Hawaiʻi congressional delegation introduced the Macadamia Tree Health Initiative today. The legislation would help fight the macadamia felted coccid, an invasive species destroying macadamia trees and threatening the domestic macadamia nut industry at large. Since the invasive insect was introduced to Hawaiʻi in 2005, it has cost the local macadamia nut industry millions every year, threatening the vitality of one of Hawaiʻi’s most important crops.
Wailuku, HI—On Maui today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) attended the kick-off and blessing for Pacific Biodiesel's biofuel sunflower crop, where she delivered opening remarks about the importance of diversified agriculture, protecting our environment, and creating local jobs. She met with the project’s leaders and farmers, and planted seeds as part of the blessing ceremony.
Kailua-Kona, HI—This morning at the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program recognition luncheon in Kona, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) visited with some of the 1,129 kūpuna who serve Hawaiʻi Island communities through the county's Elderly Activities Division. She spent time visiting with seniors, delivered remarks thanking them for their service, and answered questions about her work in Congress. Last year, kūpuna volunteers on Hawaiʻi Island gave 97,815 hours in service at more than 140 different public and private non-profit agencies.
Honolulu, HI—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) announced today that Hawaiʻi will receive $3.1 million to fight invasive species like the coconut rhinoceros beetle, coffee berry borer, Rapid Ohia Death, and fruit flies. The funding, allocated from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in accordance with Section 10007 of the 2014 Farm Bill, is part of 513 projects supported nationwide that aim to prevent the introduction or spread of plant pests and diseases that threaten U.S.