Food security is an important issue for the Hawaiian Islands. Maui boasts a year round growing season and has large areas of the island dedicated to sugar cane and pineapple, but it still imports over 90% of its food supply. There have been calls to expand agriculture on the island and improve self sufficiency. The challenge is that agriculture can be tough to make profitable. Land and labor are both expensive. This challenge is not unique to Maui. Smaller scale farms on the mainland have struggled to generate profits for decades. Community Supported Agriculture or CSA is one avenue that farmers have been pursuing as a means to make small scale farming ventures profitable. CSAs typically operate by having consumers become members in a farm. The members pay a fee that helps under write farming costs. The size of membership fees varies from farm to farm. The farm in turn provides weekly produce in return to its members. The weekly produce may be included in the membership fees or there may be a fee for each delivery. Again, this varies farm to farm.
I first heard about CSAs when watching the documentary The Real Dirt on Farmer John. I thought CSAs were an interesting business model and a great way to encourage local agriculture. I thought it might be a good fit for a community like Maui and wondered if and when I might see a CSA emerge on island. Today, I saw a letter to the editor in the Maui News touting a new kid on the local agriculture scene called Kula Fields. Low and behold, Maui has its very first CSA.
Kula Fields offers memberships starting at $15. From there, you can sign up for weekly home delivery of fresh produce. They offer different delivery sizes including small, medium and large deliveries. Small deliveries generally meet the needs of 1-2 people. Medium boxes are for 2-4 people and large delivieries will feed 4-6 people. Costs for the weekly deliveries are $35, $45 and $55 for the different sized boxes. You may order all fruit, all vegetables or a combination of the two. The type of produce delivered is going to be based on seasonal availability. Kula Fields is also partnering with other local companies like the Maui Cattle Company, Maui Coffee Roasters, Surfing Goat Dairy and Maui Seafoods for more comprehensive grocery delivery. Kula Fields current delivery range includes all of the North Shore, Upcountry, South Maui and Central Maui.
Kula Fields is a great opportunity for island residents to support local agriculture. It is also a great opportunity to go green in the community as it significantly reduces the carbon foot print of an island resident's eating habits. You can support local business and go green with the added convenience of having a good chunk of your weekly groceries delivered to your own home. Check out the Kula Fields Website to sign up as a member or for additional information on their products and services. I wish them the best of luck in this exciting new agricultural venture on Maui.