Maui Food Distribution and Farmer Assistance Program Announced

April 2, 2020, 10:14 PM HST · Updated April 2, 10:14 PM
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A new farmer assistance and food distribution program to help farmers and community members impacted by COVID-19 in Maui County was announced today by Mayor Michael Victorino.

The County of Maui is committing $30,000 per week for the next four to five weeks, to purchase food from local farmers and facilitate community distribution.

The program, run in coordination with the Maui County Farm Bureau and Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United, aims to help local farmers by buying their produce and providing it to families in need as well as those who are homeless, Mayor Michael Victorino said. “In looking toward the future, it will assist our local farming community to not only survive, but also thrive in promoting sustainability for our county,” he said.

Maui County Farm Bureau will use $20,000 weekly to purchase food from local farms for food distribution sites around the county – similar to the produce giveaway organized by Pukalani Superette on March 30.

“You do not need to be a member of the Maui County Farm Bureau to participate in this program,” Board President Teena Rasmussen said. “The application, along with program rules are now posted on the Farm Bureau website.”

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Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United will use $10,000 to set up and run online/pick-up food hubs. Initial funding provided by the County of Maui will be used to purchase an online ordering software package. Subsequent funding will be used to purchase food from other farms for distributing to those in need.

The online ordering system will continue beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, to better serve the needs of our community.

“Farmers don’t look for a free lunch,” HFUU President Vincent Mina said. “We produce it.”

“We look forward to announcing times and locations for food distribution across Maui County,” Mayor Victorino said. “It is so humbling and encouraging to see our community come together so strongly during this time of need.”

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