Purple Maiʻa

Food+ Policy

Advocating for food systems change in Hawaiʻi

Food+ is a work-based learning internship that gives college students a crash course in civic engagement, data science, and online and offline outreach tools through work in food systems advocacy in Hawaiʻi.

Hawaiʻi imports 80-90% of its food. As the most isolated land mass in the world, our dependence on food imports is a huge problem for disaster preparedness and our islands’ carbon footprint and sustainability. Equally critical is how locally grown food is one of the most important connections between kanaka and ʻāina. The food system can keep both healthy, or make both sick.

Food+ interns are college students studying the food system, agriculture, nutrition, public health, or political science. They apply their knowledge as community advocates for a better food system, learning collaborative online work tools, professionalism, and problem solving while also helping improve the food system.

#fixourfoodsystem ʻekolu, ʻelua, ʻekahi - go!

2021 Pilot Cohort

  • 9 Interns from UH West Oʻahu (55% Native Hawaiian)
  • Tracked 34 bills
  • Sent 15 newsletters that got 2,191 opens and 328 subscribers
  • Submitted 64 testimonies and drove 188 testimonies
  • Gave 3 live virtual testimonies
  • Sent over 30 emails to legislators and over a dozen calls
  • Published 2 op-eds on Medium
  • 3 Bills were signed into law! (HB 767, SB 512, and HB 817)

2022 Cohort

  • 9 Interns from throughout the UH system
  • Tracked 60 bills
  • Submitted over 98 written testimonies
  • Gave 3 live virtual testimonies
  • Held 4 in-person food system community outreach events
  • Produced a weekly newsletter distributed to 340 subscribers
  • Grew Instagram to 926 followers
  • 16 Bills became law

The Future of Food+

The 2023 Food+ cohort will build on the work started by our first two cohorts:

  • Growing our in-person and online community presence
  • Submitting testimony on bills & driving public participation
  • Developing the next generation of community advocates

Food+ Data Interns

In collaboration with Supersistence, we aim to bring on two data interns who will work on applied data science projects for data-driven policy making.

While data science has been widely applied in the corporate sector, it is generally under-utilized in government, despite the promise of data-driven policymaking. In Hawaiʻi there is a particular need for better data about agriculture. Data interns will focus on gathering available food system data, analyzing, and visualizing it to share with the public and legislators.

Learn more at foodpluspolicy.com →