Farm to Food a new Oahu Tourist Attraction?

Today Mayor Caldwell announced an innovative hui of local farmers, nonprofits, community health clinics, and the City and County of Honolulu has launched “Farm to Food” to provide free meals to Oʻahu residents in need while providing farmers with new markets for their locally grown produce.

While local farmers on Oahu take care of needy people, their own businesses are becoming needy in the current pandemic. Tourism is about to restart this week, and encouraging restaurants or hotels to give priority to local food is not only an attraction for visitors, but a much needed support the many farmers on this island urgently need.

It can only be hoped the Hawaii Tourism Authority is taking this initative as an inspiration to include fresh Hawaiian Food promotions in their tourism advertising plan.

When asked by eTurboNews, Mayor Caldwell and Brian Miyamoto, Executive Director of the Hawaii Farm Bureau, understood the potential.

eTurboNews reached out to HTA, but did not receive a response.

“COVID is teaching us the hard lesson that despite past efforts, we rely far too much on off-island resources for most of our food supply,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “Farm to Food is a big step toward building a system where the food we eat is grown, picked, processed, distributed, and prepared by people on Oʻahu. This program will feed thousands of families in need during the crisis and lay the groundwork for more local food production and job creation in the years to come.”

Farm to Food provides CARES Act funding for nonprofits to buy and distribute enough locally grown meats and produce for an estimated 100,000 meals across Oʻahu through the end of the year.

The initiative is a partnership between Oʻahu farmers in the Hawaii Farm Bureau, the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, food distributor Aloha Harvest, service provider Lanakila, and community health clinics Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services and the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.

Brian Miyamoto, Executive Director of the Hawaii Farm Bureau, said, “As we get through this crisis, we also need to think about our island after COVID. Farm to Food gives every partner the opportunity to become more familiar with working together to grow and provide healthy food to our own people. This will turn into habits, practices, and industries that will provide stable jobs and nutritious meals to the people of Oʻahu.”

Farm to Food is another step in supporting local farmers and getting food to people who have been hit hard by the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. In September, the City partnered with the Hawaii Farm Bureau to bring back Farm to Car, which allows people to buy affordable, custom-made bags of Oʻahu produce and safely pick them up with contactless delivery.

People in need can visit or call (808) 768-CITY (2489) to find resources for no-cost meals. Farm to Food is funded with $4.3 million in CARES Act money.

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