Malama Kou Kino
Our project is progressing well and is just a little behind our timeline due to two prolonged illnesses incurred by our staff. We anticipate being back on our projected time schedule by May 2017. We started off by meeting with staff from several organizations in our district doing agriculture related programs including the Kohala Center, the Hawaii Island Food Alliance and the local Farmers Union. We established that we are not duplicating any other projects currently in process and agreed to share information as this project proceeds. We anticipate that these organizations and others will be valuable collaborators when we conclude our research phase and prepare our educational materials. They have their own additional distribution networks that will facilitate getting our materials into the hands of farmers and market vendors.
We have found that our Farmers market research visits take much longer than we had anticipated since farm produce vendors all have their stories to share. These anecdotal stories often contain nuggets of information related to our research so we try to accommodate them with plenty of time. We also have discovered that a few vendors are initially quite wary about answering questions asked by our clipboard carrying staff and it sometimes takes a while to get them to trust that we are not ‘investigating’ them.
Our project is well on track to complete all objectives by the target date of May 2018.
- Conduct pilot market research at four market days at the Real Farm stand at Kamuela Farmers Market surveying consumers on their purchase history of existing and potential farm produced foods and value added products. June 2016
- Create a more comprehensive producer and customer survey and visit eighteen farmers markets around the island. Collect data from producers / retailers at the 18 markets of all the farm products and value added products offered to consumers. July 2016 – March 2017.
- Research value added products legal requirements, recipe suggestions, processing facility options, local suppliers of reasonably priced additional ingredients and marketing options. July 2016 – March 2017.
- Compile a list of 10 island residents who consume high percentages of local foods and seek media writers and editors to include articles about these local folks in their publications. July 2016 – March 2017.
- Research local products that could be substituted for imported products July 2016 – March 2017.
- Create a publication listing locally produced foods and value added products currently available at Hawaii Island farmers markets. April-July 2017
- Create a value added products booklet describing the legal requirements, recipe suggestions, processing facility options, local suppliers of reasonably priced additional ingredients and marketing options. April-July 2017
- Create educational materials listing opportunities for the substitution of local products for imports using existing recipes. April-July 2017
- Create a booklet listing existing recipes and recipe books that primarily use local foods with descriptions of how to prepare and serve local food items plus home production methods for processing local foods. April-July 2017
- Distribute educational information created to consumers and farmers market vendors and producers through direct visits to 18 Hawaii Island farmers markets.
- Promote the publishing of articles in four local news media sources and in the State of Hawaii “Buy Local/It matters” campaign literature. August – March 2018
- Complete Report writing requirements for SARE. April-May 2018.
Objective #1 was completed in June 2016
Objectives #2 The producer survey is a work in progress, we keep revising the draft as we attend more markets and complete more interviews with vendors. The consumer survey was completed and used for Objective #1. Data has been collected from 8 markets so far creating a list of fresh foods and value added products available to Big Island residents and visitors.
Objective #3 The research of value added products legal requirements was completed at our attendance at an excellent workshop held on May 26th organized by the Small Business Development Center of Hawaii. We have been collecting recipes and suggestions and have researched Hawaii recipe and diet books. The need for and availability of processing facility options, the local suppliers of reasonably priced additional ingredients and marketing options are subjects covered in our surveys of Farmers Market vendors.
Objective #4 We have already identified 5 of the 10 island residents who consume high percentages of local foods. We have not yet contacted media writers and editors to include articles about these local folks in their publications.
Objectives #5 – #12 Have not yet been started.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
We have already concluded that one major contribution our project can make is to organize meetings and regular communication opportunities for Farmers market managers. Presently these experts have a wealth of knowledge and no means to share it with others doing the same work and sharing the same vision.
We have observed that each of the markets we have researched so far has a totally unique style of it’s own very much reflecting the location and demographics of it’s residents. So far only two of the seven markets visited have offered EBT purchase options which sadly often eliminates lower income customers. As a side project to this one our staff have been able to process an application to successfully get the Kamuela Farmers Market approved as an EBT/SNAP benfits location.