Kōkua Harvest, an island-wide food rescue project on Big Island, works towards eliminating food waste at its source: our farms and gardens. By being invited onto these properties, Kōkua Harvest has the ability to collect surplus produce for distribution through The Food Basket,  Hawaiʻi Island’s Food Bank, and other community partners who ensure the produce goes to those who need it most: our friends and neighbors in need. The project aims to build community resilience and connection, and strengthen access to healthy, nutrient-dense fresh fruit and vegetables for low-income families. Through the act of rescuing and sharing food, Kōkua Harvest intends to connect and nourish the community to build stronger relations and a deeper appreciation for fresh, local food. 

HIPHI participates in county-wide efforts focused on food access & insecurity, consumption, health awareness and farming on Hawai‘i County. In the six months of operating, Kōkua Harvest saved over 2,500 pounds of donated produce from all over the island, from Kona to Kapaʻau to Hilo, and distributed it right back into the community. Waimea resident Shirelle supports the project: “We’re really appreciative of the extra help. It’s expensive here and any extra support goes a long way in helping my family eat healthier, home-cooked meals.” 

In addition to providing fresh produce to low-income individuals and families, the program also gets volunteers outdoors and active, and creates a place where residents come together to work towards a common goal while talking story and making community connections.

A community project through and through, community members are both crop donors and harvest volunteers as well as distribution partners and recipients. Big Island residents are encouraged to get involved by visiting Kōkua Harvest’s website, kokuaharvest.org/, or by emailing info@kokuaharvest.org.

Kōkua Harvest volunteers and site owners after a harvest. Pāpa’aloa, HI. December 2019.