A new Kauai food hub, led by an extraordinary team of aina-minded people, is hitting the streets, feeding families, and getting much needed funding directly into the hands of Kauai farmers. That team is Malama Kauai, a non-profit organization most recently known for their extensive work acquiring USDA Grant funding and orchestrating a 15 week long island-wide Farm-to-Families CSA giveaway program. Along with their Village Harvest project and Safe and Stable Farms initiative the Malama Kauai crew has met this on-going COVID crisis with astounding agility and a can-do attitude. With an emphasis on advocacy and action Malama Kauai has made it their mission to live up to their organization’s name.
Exciting things are in the works and hopefully by this time next year CSA bags will be packed in the newly blessed Moloaa AINA Center. A post-harvest facility to foster resiliency within the island’s community of farmers and make healthy, local food more accessible to the people of Kauai. Malama Kauai recently moved their home base from Kalihiwai to Moloaa and the future Moloaa AINA Center— currently in its utilities and design phase- will be built on this freshly tilled land. Every CSA bag purchase goes directly into farmers hands with a nominal fee going to fund the building of the food hub. A covered place with facilities, potable water, and electricity is a valuable and enriching opportunity for the 70+ farms within the Moloaa area.
“How do you juice the 30,000 lbs of citrus coming off the farm if you don’t have a post-harvest facility and can’t build one either? The food hub brings more options of food for people to have.”Anni Caporuscio
Until then the Malama Kauai CSA Program will continue to forge ahead getting bags of freshly grown fruits and vegetables delivered while keeping a finger on the pulse of everything food access. CSA’s, food pantries, soup kitchens, and meal giveaways have popped up everywhere across Kauai. And yet again the farmers of the land get to flex their muscles. This small yet mighty island in the middle of the Pacific shows it’s true capabilities and collective passion to feed and nourish it’s people.
Online ordering for CSA produce bags opened at the beginning of February 2021 and pickup is every Thursday at various locations across the island. The pick up sites are set up alongside locally owned businesses like Anahola Marketplace and the food truck lot in Koloa, to further encourage local spending and cross promotion. The open armed willingness from these businesses to partner and collaborate has astonished the MK team.
“These kinds of things are not about competition…it really shows that this is a team effort if any of us are going to be able to accomplish these changes we want to see in our food systems. The more hands the better.”Haley Molnar, CSA Home Delivery Program Manager
Anni Caporuscio is the Moloaa AINA Center project coordinator who offers tech support and mans the control center for this Kauai food hub. Among the many hats Anni wears she fields calls from customers who need help with their orders; confirming their pick up locations, answering any questions about the CSA program, and what to expect at pick-up. The service is so impressive that people are inquiring about how they can become a volunteer!
What’s in the bag you may ask? There’s a revolving group of participating farmers from the north shore to the west side that contribute to the CSA’s every week. Each region has its own variety of farm raised produce specially sourced from farmers in the nearby area. What you see in a bag at the Waipa pick-up location varies from the bags at the Lawai Market pick-up location. But that’s the beauty of it! Customers get to truly eat FROM THEIR AINA. In the first month, Sakta Farms in Koloa and Nonaka Farms in Hanapepe filled the south side CSA bags. While Kauai Glory Farms in Lihue, Lin’s Farm in Kealia, and Kalalea View Farms in Anahola filled the bags on the east and north side.
Food is traveling anywhere from 1-20 miles tops and the freshness can’t be beat. The produce bags are simple, unique, and flavorful. You can opt for a weekly order if you feel like testing the waters first or you can purchase a monthly subscription for added ease and convenience. After deciding weekly or monthly you can choose your bag; alongside CSA produce bags there are surprise treat bags, freshly cut flower bouquets, and freshly baked bread subscriptions with more options becoming available all the time. You can even buy a produce bag for a family in need. And to top it all off, this Kauai food hub accepts SNAP/EBT! Accessibility has never been easier.
If you happen to find fruits or veggies in your CSA bag that you don’t know how to prepare Malama Kauai has an extensive recipe blog on their website that can help with that. Join the Malama Kauai CSA Facebook group to see what people are making with their produce, share your own delicious recipes and get inspired by different meal ideas. You can also meet other local-food-foodies, post a picture of produce you’re unfamiliar with, and/or just revel in the stoke of supporting the cause.
Custom orders and value added grocery products are on the long list of future goals for this Kauai food hub and will eventually be added into the mix once the Moloaa AINA Center is up and running. In the meantime, Kauai can look forward to added pick-up times and locations in a drive-thru format like the new pick-up spot at Kauai Community College very soon!
Malama Kauai CSA
Order online by midnight on Mondays. Pickup is every Thursday at any of these 7 locations.
10:30a-11:30a Leongʻs Meat House, 4520 Lehua St, Kapaʻa 96746
1:00p-2:00p Waipā Foundation, 5-5785 Kuhio Hwy # A, Hanalei 96714
1:00p-2:00p Koloa Food Truck Lot, Off of Maluhia Road, Koloa 96756
3:00p-4:00p Anahola Marketplace, 4523 Ioane Road, Anahola 96703
3:00p-4:00p Kauai Community College, 3-1901 Kaumualii Hwy, Lihue 96766
5:00p-6:00p The Specific Chiropractic, 2959 Umi Street #202, Lihue 96766
5:00p-6:00p Lawai Market, 3586 Koloa Rd, Lawai 96741
Check out all Kauai Island’s farmers markets on our directory
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