What is the Kōkua Harvest Program?
Did you know that The Food Basket has a food rescue (or “gleaning”) program? Kōkua Harvest is the first Hawai’i Island-wide food rescue project: they collect and harvest excess fresh food from farms and private residences for donation to community partners and The Food Basket’s own DA BOX and emergency food distribution programs.
Kōkua Harvest depends on goodwill and collaboration to succeed. Crop donors voluntarily opt in to donate their excess produce, volunteers put in the hard work of harvesting, and community partners work with Kōkua Harvest’s Project Coordinator to distribute the produce. With all of these partners working together, Kōkua Harvest is now in its second year and still going strong!
Due to the seasonality of produce, Kōkua Harvest regularly goes through produce fluctuations. Recipients of rescued produce may receive the same item multiple times before another crop is ready to be harvested. Such is the value of eating fresh, local produce. Connection with ‘aina can be found in many places, including eating what is in season and storing extra for times when those items are no longer available.
Food rescue is a great way to reduce the waste of valuable produce while giving more people better access to fresh, locally grown foods. Through the act of working together to share fresh produce, we intend to connect and nourish our island, build stronger community relationships, and foster a deeper appreciation for the food our island gives us.