In Hawai‘i, we are blessed with fertile lands that provide us with nourishing vegetables, sweet fruits, and fragrant flowers. Eating local means accessing our sustainable, fresh and healthy foods as well as supporting the numerous farmers cultivating our precious land.

This summer, we spent a morning exploring what Upcountry Maui has to offer. Our first stop was at the Upcountry Farmers Market, one of the only farmer’s markets that accepts SNAP/EBT. Participants spoke with the manager at the market who admitted that while there are a lot of out of pocket costs for the market to offer SNAP/EBT, having this service is an important benefit for the community.

Next, the group was off to visit the Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm. Participants enjoyed the experience of having a private tour of the grounds. Our guide was knowledgeable and resourceful and knew so much about the different lavender species and their uses. It was so relaxing and grounding and everyone left with a bouquet of lavender.

Last but not least, we visited Kula Country Farms. Participants walked through the farm and purchased locally-grown produce. Gathering at a picnic table, the group shared some of the highlights of the day. One highlight was the networking among participants and the relaxing time everyone had. Another highlight was learning more about SNAP/EBT at the Upcountry Farmer’s Market and the process for making it accessible.  The group agreed that Double Bucks would be a good solution to help increase access to healthy food and while helping farmers make a living.

Nourishing our bodies with locally grown produce and getting to know the farmers who grew them is an honor and a privilege that we so often overlook. Sharing different perspectives on programs like SNAP/EBT and hearing from one another may help formulate ideas which can turn into action. And visiting the lavender farm reminded us that self-care is a necessity so we can, in turn, help others.

Keep an eye out for details on our upcoming Perspectives on Community Health field trips. In October, we will learn about the ‘Aina Pono Hawai‘i State Farm to School Program (O‘ahu) and in November we will visit Lo‘i Kalo Park in Kalihi (O‘ahu). If you have ideas for a future Perspectives trip, please contact Stephanie Moir at stephanie@hiphi.org.

We hope to see you at a future Perspectives field trip!