Farmers Union Responds to COVID-19

For Immediate Release

The Hawaii Farmers Union United (HFUU) has launched a task force to quickly organize local food production; aggregate existing food hubs; and collaborate with certified commercial kitchens, door-to-door distributors and other stakeholders; to immediately address the economic impact of food sustainability from the global crisis.

The task force under formation is starting with key HFUU leadership and statewide stakeholders and will quickly expand. It is developing a 12-24 month plan for immediately supporting agricultural communities and doubling local food production. It would aggregate food across islands into food hubs and commercial kitchens, where it will be sorted into community-supported agriculture (CSA) boxes of fresh vegetables, fruit, and immune-boosting herbs. Partnering with food entrepreneurs such as chefs, caterers, and other prepared foods businesses, will prepare family-style dishes and work with current distribution channels, including door-to-door delivery businesses.

HFUUʻs members include existing operators of food hubs across the state, including the oldest known food hub in the state. Data from the recent Food Hub Pilot Program (conducted by Saleh Azizi PhD, UH) estimates the current impact from 8 existing food hubs statewide have successfully served all DOE schools, 7 hospitals, and over 200 restaurants from 660 small-medium farms with $2.7M in annual revenue. Food value chain members such as the Pacific Gateway Center, the largest commercial kitchen in the state, and distribution channels with farmers’ markets, and retail/restaurant outlets are critical to its success.

“In our worst fears, where global economic recession coupled with a global pandemic, is at our doorstep, and our island community is just days away from a food shortage, now is the time for action.” – Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair Committee on Agriculture & Environment

Hawaii is home to 7,328 farms (USDA 2017 Ag census), 89% (6,561) farms under 50 acres and 66% (4,868) farms under 9 acres with 78% (5,826) farms being family-run. HFUU is the largest statewide membership of family farming operations in Hawaii, comprising 1,400 members across 13 chapters.

“We exhibit the essential effectiveness of our local food systems here in Hawaii, as a global example of how agricultural communities collaborate and cooperate with one another along with partnering with leaders nationally.” said Vincent Mina, state president, HFUU

HFUU is asking for community collaboration:

1) Farmers that want to sell to food hubs, as well as increase production
2) Businesses that have commercial refrigeration, restaurants and other food entrepreneurs who want to utilize a ghost kitchen model to prepare family-style meals
3) Logistics and food delivery organizations that can move fresh produce boxes and prepared meals to homes and other pick-up points statewide and
4) Others such as seed networks, funding organizations, food banks, schools and healthcare providers.

For more information, to join the task force and to collaborate, please email: