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Mayor Victorino announces farmer assistance and food distribution program

By Staff | Apr 3, 2020

“Farmers don’t look for a free lunch,” Hawaii Farmers Union United President Vincent Mina said. “We produce it.” PHOTO BY COLIN MENDOZA.

WAILUKU – Mayor Michael Victorino on April 2 announced a new farmer assistance and food distribution program to help farmers and community members impacted by COVID-19.

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

“This program helps our local farmers by buying their produce and providing it to our families in need as well as our homeless,” 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.”

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.”

Hawaii 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.

“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.”

For more information about the Maui County Farm Bureau, visit www.mauicountyfarmbureau.org/.

For more information on Hawaii Farmers Union United, visit hfuuhi.org/.