Laulima Food Patch and Chef Hui Launch Meal-Kits
UPDATE: The limited six-week program is almost at capacity. This pilot program is being offered to current low-income customers who are participating in the The Food Basket’s Community Supported Agriculture Program.
Beginning Mar. 5, Laulima Food Patch in partnership with Chef Hui, Roberts Foundation and the The Food Basket will begin a six-week pilot project to distribute locally sourced meal kits to families in need on Hawaii Island.
Chef Hui introduced the Mahiʻai Meal Kit Program last year to support local farms, restaurants and families in need during the pandemic while encouraging cooking at home with local ingredients. In 2020, Chef Hui distributed more than 10,000 meal kits on Oʻahu as part of the new program with the intention to expand statewide in 2021. Statewide expansion and further involvement from chefs will provide an additional revenue stream for restaurants and partner local food vendors.
By partnering with Laulima Food Patch, Chef Hui combines this initiative with its Give and Go program, which subsidizes local restaurants to prepare and distribute meals free of charge to underserved communities including keiki and kūpuna. In lieu of producing ready-to-eat meals, the Mahi‘ai Meal Kit Program encourages families to cook at home together by providing bags filled with local ingredients, house-made sauces, and simple recipes. Families can learn about local produce, meats and fish available in Hawaiʻi. Recipes included in each kit are fun, delicious, and inspired by the Bowl-centric menu at Laulima Food Patch.
“Our organization has a deep desire to help bridge the gap for our local food system and inspire one another to create long lasting impacts for our future,” said Bonita Lao, owner of Laulima Food Patch. “Working with the Roberts Foundation and Chef Hui is a huge step for us towards empowering families to unite our systems so we can become more sustainable as a community.”
Distribution will be organized by Hawai’i Island Food Basket to serve families still struggling from the impact of COVID-19. Chef Hui selects distribution partners with close ties to its community in an effort to discover how the program will serve each community best.
“By working collaboratively with restaurants and nonprofits who are committed to sourcing local and have an intimate connection to their community, we are successfully able to keep farmers farming, chefs cooking and communities fed with nutritious, locally-sourced food,” said Amanda Corby Noguchi, Co-founder of Chef Hui. “Our goal is to take this model a step further by encouraging folks to cook at home with easy-to-follow recipes and fresh, high-quality ingredients from our local co-producers .”
Born from the pandemic, Chef Hui transitioned from a chef’s network to a nonprofit last year with the mission to “keep farmers farming, chefs cooking, and communities fed.” Chef Hui’s core initiatives include its Give and Go Meal Program, Mahi‘ai Meal Kit Program, and Feed the People HI food distributions that provide thousands of produce boxes a week to families in need. Most recently, Chef Hui created a five-part video series called “Farmers In the Kitchen” to celebrate immigrant and refugee owned farms on Oʻahu. Chef Hui aims to continue to expand with additional projects and partnerships like these for years to come.