Same Canoe is a food access program connecting local farm fresh produce with limited income residents on the Island of Hawaii.
Launched in 2015, the program has served over 2,000 households and has focused new programming on a Veggie Rx Prescription Program that serves a network of 12 health clinics and 600 patients island wide for the 2021-2023 period.
During the 2015-2019 period, the project served SNAP-eligible individuals and families with a buy one / get one program where EBT purchases were matched with up to $320 in produce coupons for use at local farmers markets and selected retailers, and conducted a pilot CSA produce pick-up at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Special education events included farm tours and tastings, chef demos, medicinal plant talks, smoothie socials, holiday local food baskets, exercise classes, educational activity ‘passport’ rewards, and health education meals.
The 2021-2023 program is currently connecting CSA farmers with our members, who enroll through a health clinic, and will be providing nutrition education resources to members and to our clinic staff partners.
This transition to a Veggie Rx format was initiated as the result of hearing from our SNAP participants that one of the strongest motivators for seeking new ways to add more produce to their diets was due to a personal or family health condition that stimulated a re-thinking of their diet and the impact of their food choices. As a result of this feedback, we began developing a Food as Medicine program in conjunction with local health clinics.
In 2021, Same Canoe has been providing produce to members in North and South Kona, North and South Kohala, and Hamakua. In 2022, the program will expand to serve the Hilo and Puna communities. A combination of nutrition funding and pandemic response funding is allowing the project to expand to an island wide scale, and to provide focused services to the Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Filipino communities that have been the hardest hit by the pandemic.