One Island Sustainable Living helps spread the word about locally produced products by facilitating ways to connect local food producers with those who market, prepare and consume that food.
“One part of our non-profit mission is to foster food systems transformation,” says Marcy Montgomery, founder and director. “Our goal is to assist local communities in reclaiming their local food systems. We work with partners from agriculture, health and wellness, local schools and the food service industry.”
Those partners include farmers markets, grocers and restaurants, chefs and consumers.
Low Income Families and Seniors Double It!
For example, a recent Same Canoe Local Food Challenge hooked up 552 SNAP/EBT (Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program) households with farmers and fresh produce through a Double It! Campaign. Funded by the USDA during April 2015-March 2016, the pilot project’s goal was to double fresh and local food purchases by low-income families and seniors.
Double It! participants turned in SNAP produce receipts to receive a one-to-one match ($30-$120) for local food coupons redeemable at 45 different farmers markets, grocery store events, CSA food box programs, farm tours, films and classes.
Promoting Use of Canoe Crops
In the works is a new Same Canoe Local Food Challenge initiative to introduce ways to grow, prepare and preserve five key canoe crops: breadfruit, taro, sweet potato, coconut and banana. With plans to start in January 2017, the Challenge will take place in five Big Isle districts in conjunction with local farms, farmers markets, grocers, restaurants and cafés. Consumers can attend demonstrations on growing and preparing the crop, tastings, farm tours and hands-on workshops.
Connecting Food with Health
Also on the horizon is a Food and Health Intersection Project that will foster a collaboration among local health clinics and practioners, the Hawai‘i Island Food Basket, grocers, restaurants, farmers and farmers markets.
“We are responding to the need for connecting food to health in this project,” details Montgomery. “It’s an outcome of the interests of local food consumers and partnering organizations, such as health clinics, the local food bank and agricultural organizations.”
Food Usage Survey
Montgomery says One Island is re-launching a chef survey to collect data about potential local demand for locally produced food.
“To date, the only data available about our island food usage is the amount and types of food imported,” notes Montgomery. “That’s only part of the picture. We want to know what specific products local chefs and food buyers want to source from local growers.”
She adds the project’s goal is to share the survey data with farmers to spur an increase in production where needed.
Members of the food service and food retail industries can access the survey at http://www.oneisland.org/hawaii/foodbuyersurvey.
Also in the works is a new, 2016 edition of One Island’s local food coupon book with discounts from local restaurants and grocers. Book buyers pay a small fee to purchase the book and then redeem the discounts. Books will be sold by local non-profits and select retailers.
“ I think what One Island specializes in is building food system partners and consumer awareness of the multiple benefits of supporting the local food economy,” shares Montgomery. “There are direct health, economic and environmental benefits we all can enjoy from strengthening the local food system and decreasing reliance on imported food. “
Keep abreast on all One Island’s food initiatives at www.oneisland.org. There’s also a link on the home page to subscribe to the lively “Same Canoe” monthly newsletter.