Expanding Access To Healthy Foods
By Kasha Ho, director of communications, GreenWheel Food Hub
GreenWheel Food Hub is on a mission to help Hawaii’s residents, especially those in low-income communities, gain better access to fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables and staple foods. A fledgling social enterprise, GreenWheel’s first project is introducing SNAP/EBT (aka food stamps) acceptance at Oahu farmers markets.
An average of $33 million in SNAP benefits is issued every month in the state of Hawaii. These SNAP dollars can make a huge impact on the local economy and farming communities if spent locally.
GreenWheel Food Hub now operates SNAP acceptance stands at the Honolulu Farmers Market at Blaisdell Concert Hall lawn Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m., and at the Wahiawa Farmers Market at Wahiawa Hongwanji Thursdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. GreenWheel will expand this service to three additional markets by the end of this year.
Nanette Geller, EBT transaction coordinator for GreenWheel Food Hub, reports that Blaisdell customers often stop to thank her after shopping, saying that without GreenWheel they wouldn’t be able to shop there.
“It’s wonderful seeing children help their parents choose fresh vegetables and fruits. One little boy loves kale, another likes to snack on carrots,” says Geller.
In order to support the SNAP service, GreenWheel Food Hub has developed a line of value-added products created out of surplus produce from local farmers. This addresses two critical needs in the local food system: providing farmers additional income from surplus and off-grade produce that might otherwise go to waste, while increasing access and affordability to locally grown foods by supporting EBT service.
GreenWheel Food Hub will host a fundraiser July 18-21 themed “Preserving Hawaii’s Local Food System.” Events will be held at R/D, 691 Auahi St. in Kakaako, and will include hands-on educational workshops teaching methods of food preservation, including cheese-making and pickling.
The fundraiser will showcase GreenWheel Food Hub’s value-added product line, Green Goods: glass-jarred pickles, jams and jellies, which will be available for sale during the fundraiser. Featured goods include slow-roasted Roma tomatoes, “poke-style” Romano beans, spicy pickled okra, lemon olena jelly and more!
To learn more about GreenWheel Food Hub and to buy tickets for the fundraiser events, visit greenwheelfoodhub.org.
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