Maui Business

Project MAHI‘AI Goes Online Offering Fresh Products from Island Cultivators

December 18, 2021, 10:30 AM HST
* Updated December 21, 8:45 AM
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Kēōkea homestead farmer Hi`ilei Martinson has been named project manager of the OHA-funded Project MAHIʻAI. Set to debut later this year, the program will be an Amazon-style system of farmer-to-consumer online ordering and in-person delivery of native-grown farm-and-ranch products. PC: courtesy.

Project MAHI‘AI has launched its online marketplace for fresh products, with an initial participation of eight cultivators enrolled so far.

The Amazon-style distribution system for Maui farmers and ranchers seeks to provide fresh produce, meats, eggs and dairy mostly Grown by the Native Community.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs funded the program offering a virtual platform, where cultivators may sell and arrange delivery, and where residents and visitors may buy fresh goods. Both farmers and consumers may sign up at website projectmahiai.net

MAHI‘AI cultivators will host a distribution point at the Maui Sunday Market at Kahului Shopping Center from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sunday evenings, starting Jan. 9, 2022, project manager Hi‘ilei Martinson said.

Mahi‘ai is the Hawaiian word for “farmer,” and MAHI‘AI is an acronym for: Mea ‘Ai Hawai‘i In the ʻĀina to Ingestion, i.e., Grown by the Native Community. Martinson said the initiative aims to support cultivators, who are both startup and veteran, as well as backyard and large scale. The project targets native growers, but welcomes all farmers and ranchers, she said.

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Participants include the Ka‘auamo family of Wailua providing poi. The latest enrollee is Waikapū minister and pig farmer Hanalei Colleado offering fresh pork. 

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OHA awarded the grant to Pa‘upena Community Development Corporation, a 5-year-old Upcountry Maui-based nonprofit. Its mission is to provide resources, training and advocacy to empower Hawaiian homesteaders to build homes and self-sufficient communities.

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