Hawaiʻi imports about 85 to 90 percent of its food to support a population of 1.35 million statewide, with just over 166,000 in Maui County. With an additional 3 million annual visitors on Maui alone, these numbers start becoming hard to comprehend. It is said that if there were an emergency and the ports were to close, there would be five to seven days of food in grocery stores. This is alarming to say the least, and the reason why the Maui Nui Food Alliance (MNFA) was created!
The MNFA had a strategic planning session back in May 2019 where over 90 stakeholders from different sectors of the food system came together to express their concerns and provide solutions to the challenges Hawaiʻi residents face with our current food system. Out of this meeting came a draft strategic plan with specific strategic priorities to help focus the efforts of the alliance.
On February 26, 2020, the MNFA Steering Committee met at the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens in Kahului to discuss the 2020 goals and how they plan to be strategic when it comes to planning for the future of our food system. The Steering Committee members agreed upon the mission, vision and values for the MNFA and outlined ways to achieve the strategic priorities identified:
STRATEGIC PRIORITY #1 – PROMOTING A CULTURE OF HEALTH
Guiding Question: How do we build a culture of healthy habits? What policies can reduce obesity and improve health?
Goal: The Maui Nui Food Alliance will develop a strategic agenda to improve the health of residents by cultivating healthy food skills and ensuring reliable access to healthy food for everyone.
STRATEGIC PRIORITY #2 – PLANNING FOR OUR FUTURE FOOD SYSTEM
Guiding Question: How do we prepare for and build a resilient food and agriculture system?
Goal: The Maui Nui Food Alliance will develop a strategic agenda to deliberately plan and implement an ecologically resilient, healthy food supply for Maui County that is economically viable for local food and farm enterprises and workers.
STRATEGIC PRIORITY #3 – ADVOCATING FOR IMPACT
Guiding Question: How do we leverage public and private resources and influence to advance the Maui Nui Food Alliance’s shared agenda for the development of a nutritious, ecologically resilient food supply?
Goal: The Maui Nui Food Alliance will persuade, educate, and mobilize the public and key decision makers to advance its agenda.
The MNFA Steering Committee will meet again in April to continue building our foundations and plan for a Food Summit in 2020. We look forward to developing these new partnerships and seeing just what we can achieve to make our food systems more resilient. For more information on the HEAL Coalition for Maui, Molokai and Lānaʻi, please contact the HEAL Community Coordinator Lauren Loor at firstname.lastname@example.org.