During the time I have served as your Mayor, it has been an exciting time for agriculture. Farmers’ priorities and the policy changes necessary to address them were identified and the steps for mapping important agricultural lands have been initiated. We have secured funding to improve water quality for expanded agricultural use, and through a public-private partnership secured more than 1,200 acres in upper Central Oahu for an agricultural park. A key team member in these accomplishments has been Laura Thielen, whom I appointed as the city’s first Agricultural Liason.
“Mayor Carlisle, with the support of the City Council, is dedicating lands for permanent agriculture, starting with the identification of important agricultural lands and reviewing City policies to promote agriculture on Oahu. He understands that agriculture is important to Oahu residents,” Laura has said.
Laura will be moving on shortly to another opportunity, but my commitment to food independence and security, green spaces, and a vibrant local economy remains strong. That is why I welcome Duane Okamoto, former Deputy Director to the state Department of Agriculture from 2005 to 2010, as the city’s second Agricultural Liaison as of May 1. I’m pleased that Duane is joining our team. His extensive knowledge of agriculture and other industries will be valuable and ensure that the progress of my administration in this area will continue to move forward. Duane and our current Agricultural Liaison are committed to working together on a seamless transition for the good of all agriculture stakeholders on Oahu.