Maui Food Hub Launches to Connect People and Farms

Packaged vegetables for the Maui Food Hub. Photo: Cindy Giebink

Farmers have been hit hard during the pandemic and are exploring unique solutions to help distribute produce. The Maui Food Hub is one such project and was launched last week Friday under the leadership of the Hawai’i Farmers Union United and in collaboration with Maui farmers and nonprofits. The hub, accessible to www.Mauifoodhubs.org, has long been a dream of Maui farmers, but a community response to the COVID-19 crisis has helped speed up the project.

“Hard times tend to bring out the best and the worst in people. Here is a great example of the best, ”said John Dobovan, President of the Haleakala Chapter of Hawai’i Farmers Union United. “When our restaurants closed last month, a lot of people suddenly found themselves out of work. Among those hardest hit were our local farmers, many of whom were deeply invested in agricultural production for a market that had literally vanished overnight. With their money tied up in a crop they had nowhere to sell, many farms faced disaster. “

The Haleakala chapter already had a food hub committee in place and took over the collaboration of the Hana, Lahaina and Mauna Kahalawai chapters of the HFUU.

Products can be ordered online and drive-through pickups are scheduled at locations across the island. “We intend that the Maui Food Hubs will become a permanent part of our community, serving as a conduit for local fresh food directly from farmer to consumer,” said Vincent Mina, President of the Hawai’i Farmers Union. United. “We can provide delicious and nutritious food at a reasonable price and give our farmers much better support than they have ever received before. We need to make family farming a viable business for the benefit of all aggregating and distributing through a network of food centers, sharing what we grow and raise locally throughout the island and state.

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