Hawai‘i has become less food sufficient than ever before. It is estimated that by 2010 the state imported over 88% of its food. These agricultural experts also estimate that replacing 100% of imports of selected food products with local production would generate $303 million in earnings, $39 million in state taxes and create 14,629 jobs.
1. Buy local, Buy Hawaiian
Buying locally grown produce andlocally made products are an easy way to support local farmers and Hawai‘i’s food system. There are many farmers markets all over the islands almost everyday of the week! Here are all the farmers markets for O‘ahu, Big Island, Maui and Kaua‘i. You can also support local farmers by purchasing locally grown food at many grocery stores, just read the labels.
2. Join a Community Supported Agriculture System (CSA)
- MA‘O Organic Farms
- Located in Wai‘anae on O‘ahu’s west coast, serves the community. Its focus connects ʻāina, that which feeds, and ʻopio, the youth of our islands, in a synergistic relationship to build a comprehensive and living local food system. As part of a CSA system, community members purchase a “farm share” which entitles them to a share of the harvest throughout the season, delivered by a farmer they know and trust. Their CSA offers fresh, local, USDA-certified organic produce straight from our farm to the community. CSA box deliveries can be picked up at a convenient pick-up site weekly or every other week, all with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. MA‘O Organic Farms’ mission is to restore the ancestral abundance that seeks to empower the community, especially the youth, with catalytic education and entrepreneurial opportunities rooted in ancestral knowledge that will nurture a sustainable and resilient Hawai‘i.
- Oʻahu Fresh
- Made up of a network of local farms that connect their members, including families, restaurants, stores, hotels and schools, to locally grown products. They deliver a weekly bag of farm fresh produce directly to homes, offices or centralized pickup locations in Honolulu, Kailua and at Leeward Community College. By joining the Oʻahu Fresh community you are helping to create a stronger, more local, and food-secure island and encouraging local farmers to grow more products thus keeping money in Hawaiʻi’s economy.
- Waihuena Farm
- Offers a $25 weekly basket available for pick-up on the farm (on the North Shore) Monday evenings. These baskets feature everything from our cooking greens, homebrew kombucha and eggs, to other co-op member farms’ North Shore certified organic asparagus or Kahaluu Kalo. Supporting Waihuena Farm helps keep the country, country and the movement to increase our island’s food security and support healthy food with less wasteful packaging. They also invite you to visit their garden when picking up your box and would love to take your COMPOST! If you are not currently composting at home they would like to help and have 5 gallon buckets available for you to take home and fill up and return to the farm.
- Kula Farms
- Offers a way to support our local farmers and food artisans with delivery to your door (in Maui). In addition to 100% locally grown produce, they offer artisanal butters, gourmet cheeses, farm fresh eggs, local coffee, fresh baked breads, sea salts, meats and an array of locally produced products including salad dressings, sauces, honey, syrups, jams, peanut butters and jellies
- Kokua Kalihi Valley (KKV)
- KKV looks to the value of joy, culture, respect and unity to fuel its efforts in recognizing healthy living. It aims to provide health services that make sense to Kalihi Valley, caring for the community by providing medical, dental and behavioral health care to prevent diseases. It is committed to the Kalihi community and looks to its diverse area as an inspiration for programs and services that benefit the community. Its Ho‘oulu ‘Aina program offers community gardening, reforestation, environmental education and preservation of land-based cultural knowledge. Every third Saturday of the month (8:30am - 12:00pm) is a community work day at Ho‘oulu ‘Aina. KVV also runs its Returning to Our Roots program, an ‘aina-to-table initiative that aims to strengthen the Kalihi Valley community through growing, preparing, and sharing of foods. The Roots Café is open from 11 am to 1 pm every Tuesday and Thursday!
- Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi
- Community-based, non-profit organization in the ahupuaʻa of Heʻeia on island of Oʻahu. With the support of the local community, Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi acquired a 38-year lease agreement with the State of Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority (HCDA) to implement Māhuahua ʻAi o Hoi, or the regrowing the fruit of hoi, a long-range project to restore agricultural and ecological productivity to nearly 405-acres within the wetlands of Heʻeia. Through its cultural, educational, and ecosystem restoration programs, Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi promotes the social and economic advancement of the local community through a native lens. You can participate as a volunteer during their monthly community workdays clearing invasive vegetation or building ʻauwai for new loʻi kalo, weeding and maintaining existing loʻi kalo, and many other site-based learning activities. The Hoi project takes hold of agricultural production to educate, feed, and sustain the community!
- Papahana Kuaola
- Located in the ahupuaʻa of Heʻeia in the ʻili ʻāina of Waipao. It is a mālama ʻāina-based non-profit organization that is connecting the area's past with a sustainable future. It serves Oʻahu and Molokaʻi, and looks to ensure that the future it builds today can sustain our ʻāina into tomorrow. Its mission is to create quality educational programs focused on Hawaiʻi’s cultural, natural history, environmental restoration, and economic sustainability fully integrated with Hawaiian knowledge in order to exemplify a lifestyle respectful of kānaka, ʻāina, and ākua. Papahana Kuaola cannot be successful without dedicated and passionate volunteers. While the work that volunteers do can be physically challenging, the experience is invaluable. Volunteer Workdays are hosted every 3rd and 4th Saturday of the month.
Kokua Hawaiʻi Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports environmental education in the schools and communities of Hawaiʻi. Their mission is to provide students with experiences that will enhance their appreciation for and understanding of their environment so they will be lifelong stewards of the earth.