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Hanai Kaiaulu – Supporting locally driven food systems

Hanai Kaiaulu – Supporting locally driven food systems

Nā Maka Onaona 501(c)3 May 2020 update


In these current circumstances of COVID-19, we once again are reminded of how important our local food systems are to the resiliency of our island home. As we work to get fresh, local produce and products out to our community and into homes, it is just as important to provide our farmers and producers with a LOYAL and COMMITTED customer base to ensure they continue to plan, grow and provide food for the future. The instability of how consumers (our communities) shop NOW directly impacts how and what farmers grow for the FUTURE.

The consumer (community) has a huge role in securing and stabilizing our local food system.

This commitment does require some adjustments on the part of the consumer (community). Learning how to eat seasonal foods, committing to buy local, and reducing our bargain shopping tendencies (which are usually cheaper imported goods) are a few ways our local food system can be supported and secured. Consumers have a fundamental role in stabilizing future supply by committing, and remaining loyal to local farmers and food producers.

Our organization is working hard to help bridge the gap between the consumer and producer helping to establish a loyal and committed consumer (community) base by providing a way for the community at large to access, and in some cases, be introduced to existing local food sources. We are using our current circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic to help shift our food systems into a co-dependent localized partnership between producers and consumers; farmers and community members. We are doing this by supporting a local farm, that has shifted into produce aggregator (ʻĀina Hoʻokupu o Kilauea (AHOK)), to deliver out produce boxes to the entire island of Kauai and nurture good relationships with this new consumer base securing their commitments to continue to support our locally driven and focused food system.

We are helping to introduce a product, CSA boxes, that were previously offered to a very small number of households across the island. CSA, or community supported agriculture, boxes is an initiative that combines an array of seasonal harvests into a package purchase but are limited based on the number of farms participating in this service. This allows farmers to sell all their produce with minimal waste and adds a bit of adventure to the consumer who now broadens their pallet and meal options. With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down farmers markets and decreasing the ability for farmers to sell their produce, AHOK saw a need to support these farmers and has expanded their smaller CSA program to include receiving, in mass, produce from farmers, packaging the produce into CSA boxes and making them available to the community. The service AHOK offers to the farmers is invaluable as it ensures they do not lose revenue and will continue to plant for future food needs. The problem facing AHOK with the new shift in effort was an extreme increase in CSA boxes within a geographic demand that didn't grow with the production. They had a lot of boxes but not enough customers within their geographic location to purchase them all. This is where our organization came in.

Nā Maka Onaona has stepped in helping to establish a broader consumer base to receive the increased numbers of CSA boxes now available AND also to help secure this locally driven food system post COVID-19. We are in agreement that these services and programs should be the norm for our communities and not looked to only in times of need and/or emergency situations. We hope as our communities react and adjust to present circumstances we can do it in a way that it becomes the new normal and use this pandemic to secure a new expectation of food sourcing and community resilience.

We have been able to reach a broader consumer base outside of Kilauea and reach households across the entire island. We are purposefully interacting and communicating with our communities building trust in hopes that we will build a loyal and committed consumer base that will continue to participate in this effort after the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions loosen.

Over the past 7 weeks, our team has worked with AHOK and community partners to deliver CSA boxes out across Kauai. We have delivered to a total of 321 households across the island with 33 on the North Shore, 144 on the East, 53 on the South, and 91 on the West.

Of the 321 households, 169 households gave us information on Native Hawaiians served, Hawaiian Homestead households, and the # of kūpuna, mākua, ʻōpio, and keiki in the household.

We've served 339 Native Hawaiians and 44 DHHL households. Almost half served were in the mākua generation, a little over a quarter in the kūpuna generation and remainder were youth.

Over 7 weeks we delivered 1389 boxes of fruits and vegetables valued at over $21,000.

Mahalo nui to all our partners and volunteers.

· Aina Hookupu o Kilauea / Kilauea Ag. Park

· Kamehameha Schools Kauai Region

· Ka Hale Pono Inc

· Kukulu Kumuhana o Anahola

· Kanu I Ka Pono Charter School

· Waimea High School

· UH Sea Grant

· Koolau Ranch

· Office of Hawaiian Affairs

· Hui Makaainana o Makana

· Adopt a Kupuna/COVID19

· Dan and Kanoe Ahuna

· Emily Cadiz

· Shea Freitas

· Kalei Suzuki

· Tanya Balmores

· Erin Cobb-Adams

· Buffy Compoc Trugillo

· Keala Lindsey-Meyer

· Kahanu Keawe

· Robyn Hoopii-Manuel

· Shara Bucasas

· Kawena Bagano

· La Contrates

· Rae Makanani

· Oliver Ohana

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