Submitted by: Hawaiʻi State Department of Health’s Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division Primary Prevention Branch, Physical Activity and Nutrition (PAN) Section

Congratulations to Joëll Edwards, Kaua‘i Farm to School Hui Project Manager/Food Access Director with Mālama Kauaʻi, who has been recognized as a 2020 Community Food Champion by the National Farm to School Network (NFSN)!

Joëll is one of 30 honorees from across the country to be given this special recognition by NFSN as part of the National Farm to School Month celebrations during October 2020. NFSN is a national nonprofit working to ensure equitable access to local food and nutrition education in order to improve children’s health, strengthen family farms, and cultivate vibrant communities. Honorees were selected by NFSN and each awarded a $500 honorarium in gratitude for their outstanding efforts in keeping kids and families connected to our community food system, especially during this challenging year.

Joëll is a true unsung hero in the local Kauaʻi food community. When the COVID-19 pandemic began to shutdown our islands, Joëll sprung into action. She began managing all of the intake calls for families and kūpuna (elders) who were most in need of food through Mālama Kauaʻi’s community supported agriculture (CSA) bag program so that local produce was delivered to their homes. She coordinated various avenues of food distribution for the USDA Farm-to-Families program through 10 sites across the entire island. 

These programs have supplied over 21,000 local produce bags to be given out to families for free, locally procured through Mālama Kaua‘i’s farmer network. Through her community connections and ability to navigate through adverse situations, Joëll has shown us how much our community can accomplish together with a shared vision.

Learn more about Joëll and her fellow NFSN Community Food Champions here.

Photo Caption: Joëll Edwards, Kaua‘i Farm to School Hui Project Manager/Food Access Director, Mālama Kauaʻi