Sustainability on Maui is vital for the island’s future, and sustainability is exactly the goal of the Maui Food Hub (MFH). As a welcome online platform and non-profit organization, MFH connects local Maui farmers and their produce with the community, making it possible for farmers to work together to meet the growing demand for local food. In addition, as part of a statewide Food Hub Hui, MFH contributes to helping other islands in need and most recently Maui itself due to the wildfires.
Formed during the beginning of the Covid lockdown to link arms with Maui’s small farms, and now with the slowdown in tourism and the loss of so many restaurants in Lahaina, the farmers have taken another hit. MFH says residents can help simply by buying food from them instead of big box stores. “We have to maintain support for our farmers and ranchers long term,” said Autumn Ness, MFH President. “Please help us maintain this support and buy local whenever you can─ and spread the word!”
Ness continued, “Buying local food is important for so many reasons. It makes Maui more resilient in times of crisis and supply chain interruptions, makes us less reliant on tourism dollars, and keeps money spent on food circulating locally. Additionally, locally grown food tastes better and lasts longer than food that comes across the ocean.”
MFH is also providing local fresh affordable produce to Maui low-income residents, food banks, and community kitchens. They just received a grant to expand distribution services into more areas, especially those considered “food deserts” where food access is limited. They continue to seek partnerships with organizations who serve at-risk or low-income individuals and families that want to ensure better access to healthy food for their clients.
MFH customer Maile Edwards said, “The organic produce is both high-quality and economical. With low prices and easy online shopping, it is wonderful to be able to order if you are injured or sick and cannot make it to the grocery store.”
Ness added, “We are also presently working with the DA BUX program, where retailers discount their locally grown produce by 50% for customers paying with SNAP food dollars which increases the demand. Plus, with the 262 acres in the Kula Ag Park recently reserved for organic farmers, we hope to increase our impact and supply nutritious food to even more people.”
Our mission is to ensure that fresh food is affordable and available to everyone. To shop MFH, go online to mauihub.org. Autumn Ness, MFH President