Farmers have been acutely affected during the pandemic, and are exploring unique solutions to help distribute produce. The Maui Food Hub is one such project and launched last week Friday under the direction of the Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United and in collaboration with farmers and nonprofits across Maui. The hub, which is accessible at www.Mauifoodhubs.org, has long been the dream of the farmers on Maui, but a community-based response to the COVID-19 crisis helped speed along the projectʻs fruition.
“Hard times tend to bring out the best and worst in people. Here’s a great example of the best,” said John Dobovan, president of the Haleakala Chapter of the Hawai’i Farmers Union United. “When our restaurants shut down last month a lot of people were suddenly out of work. Among the hardest hit were our local farmers, many of whom were deeply invested in crop production for a market that had disappeared literally overnight. With their cash tied up in a crop they had nowhere to sell, many farms faced catastrophe.”
The Haleakala Chapter already had a food hub committee in place, and took charge with collaboration from Hana, Lahaina, and Mauna Kahalawai chapters of the HFUU.
Produce can be ordered online, and drive-through pickups are scheduled at locations across the island.“ It is our intention that the Maui Food Hubs will become a permanent part of our community, serving as a conduit for fresh local food direct from farmer to consumer,” said Vincent Mina, state president of Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United. “We can offer delicious, nutritious food at a reasonable price and give our farmers much better support than they have previously received. We need to make family farming a viable enterprise for everybody’s sake in aggregating and distributing through a network of food hubs, sharing what we grow and raise locally throughout the island and state.”
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