Do you dream of a world with access to fresh, local produce and groceries within walking or biking distance?
The Market at Kalani, a non-profit natural food market slated to open in Fall 2015, will make this dream a reality for Puna residents, many of whom must travel as many as 50 miles round-trip for food and other basic essentials.
2014 was wrought with challenges for the residents of Puna. Although nearly a year has passed since Pele and Iselle delivered two unpredictable natural events to Hawai'i Island - lava that threatened to isolate the region, along with the first hurricane landfall on the island in recorded history - the area is still recovering and initiating new practices to prepare more effectively for the future.
The Market at Kalani emerged as an idea to help further this effort and continue building Puna as a model for a thriving planet. Upon launch, The Market at Kalani will represent a collective leap forward for the area, currently considered a 'food desert' by the US Department of Agriculture.
Food deserts are defined by limited access to grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers. While Puna is blessed with an abundance of fresh produce due to the proximity of local farms, residents often find themselves behind delivery vehicles en route to farmer’s markets and grocery stores at considerable distances. Currently, the closest full-service supermarkets and wholesalers are located in Hilo, an average of 15-25 miles each way.
“We have taken the charge of leading the effort to open the non-profit market, so that people will have the access to the basic staples that they need to maintain their families right here in Lower Puna." L.J. Bates III, Kalani’s Executive Director shares.
In addition to providing an accessible, affordable, and bountiful food oasis, The Market at Kalani will support Puna resident’s sustainable living practices, delivering food from farm-to-fork at a significantly reduced environmental impact. The availability of fresh food and other essentials within walking or biking distance will be a huge improvement to residents’ quality of life as well as to area visitors and guests.
Utilizing a membership-based model, The Market at Kalani will provide an abundance of locally favored goods and services, contributing to a thriving local economy. Customers of The Market will be treated to farm-fresh organic produce, juices, smoothies, Big Island Coffee Roasters espresso, Tin Shack baked goods, grocery, bulk, hot and cold prepared foods, and frozen items such as Nicoco Gelato. The Market will also create new job opportunities for Puna residents.
Because The Market is a non-profit venture, all proceeds will facilitate the creation of even more enlightening free classes, events, and services at Kalani, many of which are open to the community.
To help bring The Market at Kalani to fruition, local residents and global supporters of the organization are being asked to contribute.
Visit Kalani.com/TheMarket to find out how to support this significant development for Puna and beyond!