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SNAP at the Farmers Market and Food Hubs in Maui County

Farmers Markets have been a cornerstone for access to locally grown produce and access to farmers in Maui County. However, farmers markets are more than just markets. According to the Farmers Market Coalition they bring the community together, stimulate the local economy, support the health of the community, preserve rural livelihood and farmlands, increase access to fresh nutritious food and promote sustainability. The Healthy Eating + Active (HEAL) Coalition for Maui, Molokai and Lānaʻi prioritized supporting the increase of farmers markets that accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/ Electronic Benefits Transfer (SNAP/EBT) in Maui county. HEAL had the opportunity to collaborate and work with the Hawai‘i Farmers Market Association (HFMA) since March of 2020 to further the support and expansion of SNAP/EBT and Da Bux programs at farmers markets. 

The Hawai‘i Farmers Market Association (HFMA) was established in 2020 to strengthen and promote a vibrant and sustainable local food system and economy by supporting farmers markets and direct-to-consumer farm marketing statewide. The HMFA was launched with support from USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP), as a project of the Hawai‘i Good Food Alliance, fiscally sponsored by Sust‘āinable Molokai and supported by many members across the state.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the HEAL Coalition assisted with data collection through a needs assessment for the farmers market managers. In late March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Hawai‘i State statewide mandate to stay home and shut down for the protection of residents, many farmers markets  and their managers needed to pivot in order to stay open for their farmers and for the community. Many farmers markets were temporarily closed, while others moved towards drive-through farmers markets, online ordering for pick up and delivery and CSA style distributions. As mandates changed rapidly and many feared the spread of COVID-19, many market managers put safety above all else to remain open. They should be commended for acting safely and remaining a place for farmers to continue their livelihood and for the community to have access to local nutritious food. 

2020 proved to be an extremely challenging year economically for many residents in Hawai‘i and for the community in Maui County. With the unemployment rate rising due to the lack of tourism, to over 30 percent, access to food had become an issue. The amount of residents applying for the SNAP program nearly doubled, which made the need for access to locally grown food using SNAP a priority for the HEAL Coalition and HFMA. Gratefully, HFMA was able to distribute SNAP Promotion and Implementation across the state with the help of the Hawai‘i State Department of Health, SNAP-Ed fund to fund the grants. Hana Farmers Market, ​​Sustʻāinable Molokai and Maui Hub were the recipients of SNAP Promotion Grants. There are currently 5 farmers markets and 2 food hubs in Maui County that accept SNAP/EBT. For more information, please visit the HFMA Market Directory

 

Farmers Markets and Food Hubs that Accepts SNAP/EBT: 

 

As these programs grow, the HEAL Coalition hopes to have SNAP/EBT available at all farmers markets throughout the county and will continue to prioritize this need in the coalition’s  work. For more information about the HEAL Coalition for Maui, Molokai and Lānaʻi, please contact the HEAL Community Coordinator Lauren Loor at lauren@hiphi.org

Lauren Loor

Lauren Loor, MPH

Healthy Eating + Active Living (HEAL) Program Manager
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