The Hawaii Farmers Union United launched a task force to quickly organize local food production, aggregate existing food hubs and collaborate with certified commercial kitchens, door- to-door distributors and other stakeholders to address the economic impact of food sustainability from the global coronavirus crisis.
The task force under formation is starting with key HFUU leadership and statewide stakeholders and will quickly expand. It is developing a 12-24 month plan for supporting agricultural communities to double local food production. It would aggregate food throughout islands into food hubs and commercial kitchens, where it will be sorted into community-supported agriculture boxes of fresh vegetables, fruit and immune-boosting herbs.
Partnering with food entrepreneurs such as chefs, caterers and other prepared foods businesses will prepare family-style dishes and work with current distribution channels, including door-to-door delivery businesses.
Data from the recent Food Hub Pilot Program conducted by Saleh Azizi at the University of Hawaii estimates the eight existing food hubs statewide have successfully served all state Department of Education schools, seven hospitals and more than 200 restaurants from 660 small-medium farms with $2.7 million in annual revenue.
Hawaii is home to 7,328 farms. HFUU is the largest statewide membership of family farming operations in Hawaii, comprising some 1,400 members in 13 chapters.
HFUU is asking for community collaboration:
• Farmers who want to sell to food hubs, as well as increase production.
• Businesses that have commercial refrigeration, restaurants and other food entrepreneurs who want to use a ghost kitchen model to prepare family-style meals.
• Logistics and food delivery organizations that can move fresh produce boxes and prepared meals to homes and other pickup points statewide.
• Others such as seed networks, funding organizations, foodbanks, schools and health care providers.
For more information, to join the task force and to collaborate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.