Updated: September 28, 2022
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The County of Maui has extended COVID-19 pandemic relief funding to keep Maui County Farm Bureau’s Farm Product Purchase Program available through July 31, 2020 for a total of more than $300,000.
MCFB launched the program on April 2 and planned it to run through May 9. The program’s success and added financial contributions by the County of Maui and the nonprofit group Ulupono kept the program alive through June. Now, with the County’s announcement to extend funding through July 31, the food purchase and distribution program continues into its fourth month.
When the COVID-19 lockdown closed most of Maui’s hotels and restaurants earlier this year, Maui farmers’ wholesale markets felt the impacts immediately.
“Using our strong community network, MCFB launched the Farm Purchase Product Program,” said Warren K. Watanabe, executive director of MCFB. “This program allowed us to purchase farm produce from Maui farmers and, in turn, donate fresh produce to Feed My Sheep, Maui Food Bank and Salvation Army programs who are feeding residents on the islands of Maui, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i. These are families who are unemployed or in need due to other circumstances.”
Through the program, the County purchases everything from strawberries to daikon, pineapple to kale from Maui commercial farms. The criteria are that the farms have sold an average of $2,500 per month in produce prior to March 2020 (not limited to MCFB members).
Maui County Farm Bureau is a grassroots 501(c)(5) organization of farms and ranch families, agricultural industries, and associated organizations dedicated to supporting agriculture in Maui County.
Commercial farmers who have produce available are welcome to join the program. Membership in MCFB is not a requirement. To participate, call Heidi Watanabe, FPPP produce coordinator, at (808) 357-8593.