Blue Zones Project Maintains Food Policy Initiatives

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With support of the Hawai‘i Island Food Alliance (formed by Blue Zones Project) and community partners, The Food Basket and Heritage Ranch was awarded one million dollars ($500,000 each) multi-year grants for the Double Bucks Programs. These grants help provide low income families and SNAP recipients with the resources they need to consume more nutritious food.

Blue Zones Project supported and helped implement the following initiatives:

DA BOX & DA BUX Programs

DA BOX is a community supported agriculture (CSA) program that was created to support local farmers and to provide affordable access to fresh, Hawai‘i Island grown produce. Hawai‘i Food Basket purchases Hawai‘i Island grown produce from our local farmers and resells to customers island-wide. Each week, DA BOX includes a minimum of seven items, generally one to two fruits and five to six vegetables. The Food Basket meets customers at select pick-up locations island-wide each week.

Starting Sept. 1, 2017, Hawai‘i Island residents were awarded with DA BUX incentives, which allowed SNAP customers to buy one bag of produce and get one bag free.

DA BUX is an incentive program for SNAP-EBT cardholders to buy more Hawai‘i Island grown produce. DA BUX program works by matching EBT dollars spent on Hawai‘i  Island grown produce with additional free produce. For example, if you buy $10 of Hawai‘i Island grown produce with your EBT card, DA BUX gives you another $10 of Hawai‘i Island grown produce for free.

Da Bus. PC: Hawai‘i Senate Majority Office

DA BUS Mobile Market and Food Pantry

DA BUS Mobile Market is a pop-up market at sites around the island. The program is a three-year initiative funded by a USDA Community Food Project grant award to address food insecurity and health disparities on Hawai‘i Island, particularly in the 12 USDA designated low income/low access areas, known as “Food Deserts.”

Anyone is welcome to shop with DA BUS. They accept credit, debit and EBT. EBT purchases receive a 50% discount through the DA BUX Double Up Food Bucks incentive program. The mobile market accommodates the following locations on Hawai‘i Island:

  • Hilo Edith Kanakaole Stadium – 2nd Tuesdays, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Nanawale Community Center – Last Wednesdays, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
  • Na‘alehu Sacred Heart Church – 4th Thursdays, 9 to 10 a.m.
  • Ocean View St. Jude’s Episcopal Church – Last Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to noon.
  • Pahala, Ka‘ū District Gym – last Thursday, 11 a.m. to noon.
  • Pāhoa Sacred Heart Church – 3rd Thursdays, 9 to 11 a.m.Papa‘aloa Gym, 2nd Thursdays – 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    Pepe‘ekeo Senior Center – 2nd Thursdays, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

DA BUS Project is also integrating:

  • Outreach education on cooking, nutrition and gardeningProviding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
  • Program (SNAP) outreach materials and application assistance

Other Food Policy Information:

  • On Oct. 1, 2018, County of Hawai‘i will be hiring the first of its kind in the state: Food Access Coordinator. Blue Zones Project secured the grant funding from DOH ($50,000 for 3 years) and County provided the match.

  • Ordinance passed Farmers Markets to now operate in County Parks.


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