MAHI’AI project goes live and offers fresh produce from island growers
Project MAHI’AI has launched its online marketplace for fresh produce, with the first participation of eight registered growers to date.
The Amazon-style distribution system for farmers and ranchers in Maui seeks to provide fresh produce, meat, eggs, and dairy products primarily grown by the indigenous community.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs funded the program providing a virtual platform, where growers can sell and arrange delivery, and where residents and visitors can buy fresh produce. Farmers and consumers can register on the projectmahiai.net website.
MAHI’AI Growers will be holding a distribution point at the Maui Sunday Market at the Kahului Mall from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday evening, starting Jan. 9, 2022, Project Director Hi’ilei Martinson said.
Mahi’ai is the Hawaiian word for “farmer” and MAHI’AI is an acronym for: Mea ‘Ai Hawai’i In the Ê»Äina to Ingestion, that is, cultivated by the indigenous community. Martinson said the initiative aims to support growers, who are both startups and veterans, as well as backyard and large-scale. The project targets indigenous producers, but welcomes all farmers and ranchers, she said.
Participants include the Ka’auamo family from Wailua providing poi. The latest registrant is WaikapÅ« Minister and pig farmer Hanalei Colleado who offers fresh pork.
The OHA awarded the grant to Pa’upena Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization established for 5 years in Upcountry Maui. Its mission is to provide resources, training and advocacy to enable Hawaiian settlers to build self-sufficient homes and communities.