Testimony: ‘Local Food Act’ would help economic development

Photo by Charley Myers

The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration Feb. 23, 2022, by the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.

To: Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection
      Senator Rosalyn H. Baker, Chair
      Senator Stanley Chang, Vice Chair

 From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
            Joe Kent, Executive Vice President


Comments Only

Dear Chair and Committee Members:

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments on SB2888 SD1, which would establish the Access to Local Food Act, thereby empowering Hawaii’s cottage food operations to sell locally produced cottage food. 

We commend the Legislature for examining ways in which to reduce unnecessary regulation and provide new opportunities for local businesses. 

In the institute’s “Road map to prosperity,” our report on strategies to rebuild the state’s economy following the COVID-19 emergency and lockdowns, we emphasized the importance of implementing regulatory reforms that would help local businesses innovate, explore different products and services and reach new customers. 

One of the recommendations offered was that the Legislature “remove county zoning and licensing restrictions on home-based businesses and state restrictions on cottage foods.”

It said, “The simplest approach would be to enact statewide legislation that protects home-based businesses that are compatible with residential use, secondary to residential use, and do not adversely impact the community.” 

The reforms envisioned in this bill are exactly the kind of reforms that we recommended in that report. 

So, yes, it is possible to promote the growth of a cottage food industry in Hawaii without risk to public health or safety, which is what this bill would ensure by requiring a permit from the state Department of Health. 

In short, SB2888 SD1 would be a good step toward encouraging economic growth and helping small businesses. 

Thank you for the opportunity to submit our comments.


Joe Kent
Executive Vice President
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii


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