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Maui Hub expands, bringing local food to more neighborhoods

PC: Maui Hub.

The nonprofit Maui Hub has moved its operations to an expanded facility in Kahului, enabling the organization to provide more equitable access to local food.

Maui Hub formed during the beginning of COVID lockdowns to connect Maui’s local food producers directly with customers.

“Itʻs a bit like an online farmers market that delivers to your area or your home,” said Keith Ranney, Executive Director.  “The aggregation and distribution infrastructure supported local farmers and producers through COVID, while also creating much needed infrastructure that will increase local food production and access in the long term.” 

Maui Hub now operates in a warehouse with partner Sun Fresh. The Hub accepts EBT, and applies a 50% DA BUX discount on fruit and vegetables for all EBT customers. Since August of 2020, $203,018 of EBT funds have been spent through Maui Hub. 

“Itʻs important to remember that those are federal funds, that we have routed directly to our local farmers to benefit our local economy, while also bringing fresh food to folks who need it most.”

Keith Ranney, Executive Director, Maui Hub

“Buying local food is important for so many reasons,” said Autumn Ness, Maui Hub’s Board Vice President.  “It makes Maui more resilient in times of crisis and supply chain interruptions, makes us less reliant on tourism dollars, and keeps money spent on food circulating locally.  Locally grown food also just tastes better and lasts longer than food that came across the ocean.” 

Since itʻs inception in April of 2020, Maui Hub has paid $608,410 to local farms and producers.

PC: Maui Hub.

“Almost every dollar spent stays on Maui, circulating to other local businesses.  Thatʻs a big deal, and it happens one grocery bag at a time, so we are grateful to our customers for supporting this model,” according to Maui Hub.

Maui Hubʻs mission supports local farmers and producers with processing, selling and distributing food, so they can concentrate on doing what they do best–producing more food. 

“We hope that producers that partner with us can have the time and resources to drastically increase the amount of food they can produce for our community,” said John Dobovan, Maui Hub Board President.  

PC: Maui Hub.

“We truly couldn’t be more pleased with Maui Hub,” said Ryan Earehart of Okoʻa Farms. “The pandemic drastically impacted our wholesale business and Maui Hub really helped to shift our produce sales to the retail market.  Maui Hub is fair and super easy to work with. Their online ordering system is great. I’m grateful for all the work the volunteers have put into Maui Hub and we hope to have a long future working with them.”

PC: Maui Hub.

Maui Hub also seeks to ensure equitable access to fresh, healthy food, for even Maui’s most vulnerable residents.  There is a “Give a Gift” fund that goes to individuals and families who are in crisis, for various reasons, so they can purchase food through the Hub.

“Maui Hub is a values based organization, and we will strive as we grow to stay true to them,”  said Ness.  “The Hub, and our food system as a whole, has a lot of work to do to say that we live up to these values.  We have set the bar high, but we are committed to the task.”

Maui Hub seeks to expand services into more areas, especially those considered “food deserts” where food access is limited.  It is currently seeking partnerships with organizations that serve at-risk or low income individuals or families that want to ensure better access to healthy food for their clients. 

To shop, donate, or sign up to sell products through Maui Hub, go to www.mauihub.org.  Customers can use code HUB10 for a one-time free home delivery now through April 5, 2022.

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2022/03/18/maui-hub-expands-bringing-local-food-to-more-neighborhoods/

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