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Local agriculture producers and consumers invited to take organic industry surveys

The Kohala Center launched a series of online surveys aimed at gathering input and feedback from various areas of Hawaii’s organic food industry. The surveys are accessible online at www.laulimacenter.org/organic_survey.html through Friday, Aug. 2.

The surveys are part of an initiative to determine the feasibility and potential roles of one or more organizations or agencies that would effectively support the growth and vitality of Hawaii’s organic industry. The initiative is supported by a grant from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

Farmers, producers, distributors, retailers, consumers, and agricultural professionals are encouraged to participate in one or more of the surveys. Participation is voluntary and anonymous. Data collected from the surveys will influence the development of solutions and recommendations to strengthen Hawaii’s organic industry.

A nine-member advisory group comprised of organic farmers, producers, retailers, and agricultural professionals from around the state was convened in February to determine the primary barriers affecting the growth and sustainability of Hawaii’s organic industry. Representatives from local processors, distributors, retailers, certifiers, and the state legislature have also provided input to the group’s work. Based on the issues, barriers, and potential solutions defined by the advisory group, surveys were developed to gain insights and data from a broader range of industry constituents statewide.

Survey data will be analyzed and integrated with the advisory group’s research to develop solutions and recommendations to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, as well as provide input on a legislative agenda for the industry in 2014. The advisory group will conduct an open meeting on Hawaii Island in late October, to present the group’s findings and preliminary recommendations for feedback and further input.

Interested participants may access the surveys online at www.laulimacenter.org/organic_survey.html, or contact The Kohala Center at 887-6411 for more information.