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Maui Nui Food Alliance Launches Food System Needs Assessment

Maui Nui Food Alliance Launches Food System

Due to the rising cost of food, the high rate of imported food, and the increasing possibility of climate-induced natural disasters, the communities of Maui, Molokai and Lānaʻi recognize that our current food system is not equitable, sustainable, resilient, accessible or affordable. Through a community-driven effort to improve nutrition security and food system resilience, leaders in Maui County have initiated a food system needs assessment for Maui, Molokai, and Lānaʻi, coordinated by the Maui Nui Food Alliance. 


The Maui Nui Food Alliance (MNFA) is a cross-sector collaborative of over 100 food system stakeholders dedicated to a resilient and healthy food future for Maui, Molokai, and Lānaʻi, guided by the vision of expanding the local food system to nourish and sustain the people of Maui Nui while fostering human, environmental and economic health. MNFA’s food system needs assessment will examine Maui, Molokai, and Lānaʻi’s food systems to identify the barriers that prevent Maui County from having a food supply that is self-sufficient, secure, and sustainable. 


The MNFA Food System Subcommittee, composed of 35 members from different sectors across Maui County’s food system, is working to collectively build the food system needs assessment. MNFA will help to coordinate the assessment and examine the needs of the Maui Food Bank and its partner pantries, health centers, farmers, ranchers, fishers, foragers, value-added producers, chefs, retailers, farmers markets, processors, distributors, educators and SNAP-qualifying households and individuals to create a comprehensive food system map for Maui, Molokai and Lānaʻi. The MNFA Food System Needs Assessment will identify leverage points for change and improvement across Maui County’s food system sectors, which will be used to inform policy recommendations and program innovations and will be used to improve food access and nutrition security, especially for our most vulnerable community members, including, kūpuna, SNAP-eligible populations and geographically isolated rural communities in Hāna, Molokai and Lānaʻi. 


The MNFA Food System Needs Assessment will be used to inform a Nutrition and Food Security Plan to guide Maui County to improve nutrition security, climate and emergency resilience, and opportunities for local food producers, with targets identified over the next 5, 10, and 20 years. The assessment will be conducted through winter of 2022, and its results will be shared in spring 2023. MNFA is hopeful that collecting Maui Nui-specific data will support their efforts to find practical solutions to promote a culture of health, advocate for impact and plan for our food future.


MNFA is seeking additional volunteers and funding to support its food system needs assessment efforts. If you are interested in supporting, please email or contact Lauren Nelson at or 808-591-6508 extension 31.

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