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Lahaina Farmer’s Market supports food sustainability and diversifying the economy

By BY WALTER CHIHARA - | Nov 13, 2020

The Lahaina Farmer’s Market at Lahaina Jodo Mission near Mala Wharf features a wide array of locally grown produce and foods, as well as live entertainment. Events are slated from 4 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 12 and Nov. 24, so people can stock up on produce for Thanksgiving.

LAHAINA — The iconic Lahaina Jodo Mission is the host location for a Farmer’s Market to present a community-driven outlet to food sustainability and self-sufficiency for the people of Maui.

The events — held on the second and fourth Thursday of every month at the mission courtyard adjacent to the beach at Mala Wharf from 4 to 7 p.m. — began on Aug. 27, 2020.

These events are 100 percent locally driven, and all proceeds go directly back into the local economy.

Market organizer Yayoi Hara said, “During the COVID-19 lockdown, talking to friends, the conversation became about diversifying the economy. One thing we can do to diversify is to give people the opportunity to do something outside of tourism. Another factor is food security, as Hawaii imports 85 percent of its food, and with shipping rates going up, we need to support local farmers.”

She added that for November, the Farmer’s Market will be held on Thursday, Nov. 12, and then for a special Tuesday event on Nov. 24 for people to stock up for Thanksgiving.

“We encourage people to do half of your monthly shopping at the Farmer’s Market; the money goes directly back into the community. You can arrange orders for Thanksgiving with specific vendors — we will post a list on a Facebook page of what farmers will be bringing the week prior, so people can plan their shopping list.”

Hara explained that the event strives to focus on the necessity of food and the advantages of the local and community interchange.

“There is fresh fish, Kula greens, West Side farmers’ taro, breadfruit, luau leaf, avocadoes, poi, papayas, ulu hummus, coconut water, fresh salsa, kim chee, sweet and savory breads, everyone’s favorite poi mochi, and prepared food vendors as well. We want to diversify while striving for food security. It’s an opportunity for farmers to sell and for the community to shop, with all proceeds staying here in Maui,” she added.

“We want to make it a family affair, and we have live music for all to enjoy the evening here. We’ve had an encouraging response thus far, and we want to build the mentality to be to get most of the family produce from the Farmer’s Market. This is a community-driven movement — please come and support local.”

Event organizers ask that all observe social distancing guidelines and wear masks.