Honolulu brings back “Farm to Car” and “Fish to Dish” programs in efforts to support local food producers

Coronavirus

HONOLULU – While many restaurants remain closed or restricted from providing dine-in services, some local farmers are getting a chance to revive their businesses. Programs like “Farm to Car” and “Fish to Dish” will return this week to help local food producers and consumers access fresh commodities.

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The “Farm to Car” program, a drive-through farmers market that offers O’ahu residents fresh fruits, vegetables and products from local farmers, will resume on Sunday. Sept. 20. Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s latest emergency order deemed farmers’ markets as essential businesses. Delivering foods is also classified an essential activity.

Event organizers say people can pre-order local farm products on their website throughout the week. Then on Saturdays, Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., customers will be able to safely pickup their order with minimal personal contact at the Ewa side of the Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

Officials plan to continue the “Farm to Car” services every week through December.

“Making O‘ahu COVID-safe depends on everyone supporting each other and creating partnerships that help the people of our island,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “The Hawai‘i Farm Bureau and approximately 20 farmers recognized the need to give people access to locally grown food at a reasonable cost and create a way for farms to become more financially sustainable. Partnerships like this help to create COVID-era economic opportunities and get businesses and people back on their feet.”

Similarly, the “Fish to Dish” program, which supports Hawai‘i’s fishing industry and distributes fresh fish to communities across Oʻahu, will also be returning in efforts to revitalize the economy, Mayor Caldwell said.

The “fish” portion of the program will provide CARES Act funds to more than 140 vessels of the Hawai‘i Longline Association. The association will distribute the funds to help cover fishing vessel operating fees over a three-month period. Fishing boats who are part of the program will then be able to deliver fish to the Honolulu fish auction for purchase.

City officials say the fish auction will serve as the “dish” part of the program with expected purchases of over 100,000 pounds of fish that will be turned into 350,000 servings. Prepared fish will be served to kupuna and other hungry families across Oʻahu for five months.

The Hawai’i Foodbank will also receive portions of food auctioned off in efforts to distribute fish across the island more effectively.

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