Give It Fresh Today: Local Produce Donations to Benefit Community Organizations
Starting January 2, 2010, Saturday morning KCC Farmer’s Market shoppers can do more than enjoy fresh locally grown produce and prepared foods - they can give back to those in need, through making in kind donations to community organizers that serve meals to Hawaii's homeless. The project is called Give it Fresh Today (G.I.F.T.), and the Hawaii Farm Bureau (host of the market) is generously providing the tent and table for the month of January as a trial period for this program. The table will be located next to the Hawaii Farm Bureau table, and receipts will be given for donations.
I became increasingly interested in local food issues (including supporting local farmers and the preservation of agricultural land) after watching movies like Food Inc., Ingredients, and Fresh this past year through the Hawaii International Film Festival and an “Eat Local” event sponsored by Kanu Hawaii.
I was inspired to collect produce donations after meeting a woman collecting food at the Edgewater Farmer’s Market in Chicago for a local food pantry, while in Chicago for Feldenkrais training in early October. I decided to organize a similar program in Hawaii at the KCC Farmers Market where I am an avid shopper and began contacting the Hawaii Farm Bureau and searching for organizations that had cold storage and would be interested in fresh produce donations.
Unity Church of Hawaii was the first organization to express an interest in receiving produce. Located down the street from the market, the church has two nights of food service for their Ho'opono (food service to the homeless in Waikiki) and Gregory House (food service to the homeless living with HIV/AIDS) projects. I am a member of the church and have participated in the Hoopono project.
Hoping that the produce donations would extend beyond the church’s needs, I also contacted the Institute for Human Services, which has agreed to accept all of the additional donations. Ana Iose, the Meal Program Manager at IHS, has been looking for ways to get more fresh produce into the meals of the children, families and individuals served by the shelters to better the nutrition and health of the communities served.
If we collect more donations than both of these organizations can use in a week, I would look for more organizations to support through this project. It's a win-win for everyone involved. The farmers sell more produce, the shoppers have an opportunity to support local agriculture as well as make a real difference in the lives of their neighbors, community organizations have greater support for their projects, and the homeless will have access to more nutritious and healthy meals.
To get involved, drop by the table at the KCC Farmers Market, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 282-0053.
I don't represent any particular group, and am a concerned and conscientious citizen with a newfound interest in eating locally and supporting sustainable practices with regard to food production. I am an avid shopper at the KCC Farmers Market and at Kokua Market. I'm an elementary school teacher at Assets School, a volunteer at Mao Farm GIVE days, a lomilomi practitioner studying the Feldenkrais Method, and a member of Unity Church of Hawaii.