City launches new farm to food program to help feed residents in need and rebuild businesses

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Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 11:34 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new program geared to helping not only families in need, but also farmers is set to take off on Oahu.

The new Farm to Food program is designed to feed hungry families and help farmers and ranchers survive the recession.

“We want our farms not to be sustainable but to grow their operations, not just sustained, but grow,” said Brian Miyamoto, executive director of the Hawaii Farm Bureau.

The collapse of the visitor industry in March forced Oahu’s ranchers and farmers to reinvent their business models.

“Overnight, I would say we lost 90% of what we sold,” said Taylor Kellerman of Kualoa Ranch. “We had to basically pivot and do something similar like the farm to car.” “The lack of tourism closure of hotels, restaurants farmers markets, have had serious effects on farms,” said Justin Ridley of Ho Farms.

According to the city, the program will use 4.3 million dollars from the Federal CARES Act to buy food from Oahu suppliers. Several non-profits and health clinics will deliver the meals in different ways to the community depending on what lines up best with the agency’s mission.

“We have organizations that are cooking it like Chef Hui that distribute to our Pacific Island communities to other groups in Waimanalo and Waianae who are going to be putting together almost CSA and distribute whole boxes of produce for families to take home and enjoy.”

“And programs like this will help us survive because as we slowly reopen our economy and tourism and if these farms go out of business, they’re not starting back up,” said Miyamoto. “Who’s going to provide the food for our local residents and our tourism population that will be coming back slowly?”

People in need can visit the city’s COVID website or call 768-2489 to find resources for the meals.

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