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 current programming is focused on a Veggie Rx Prescription Program that serves a network of 12 health clinics and 600 patients island wide for the 2021-2024 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 2021-2024 program is currently connecting CSA farmers and markets with our members who enroll through a health clinicor nutrition partner. Each enrolled participant can receive up to $600 in fresh local produce at no cost. Households can have one or more participants, each with their own Veggie Rx subscription. See sign up locations below. Space is limited in 2023 and the program closes in 2024.
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.
Since launching again in 2021, Same Canoe has been providing produce to members in North and South Kona, Miloli’i and Ocean View, North and South Kohala, and Hamakua. A combination of nutrition funding and pandemic response funding is allowing the project to expand and to provide focused services to the Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Filipino communities that have been the hardest hit by the pandemic.
To learn if you qualify for the Same Canoe program with sign-ups running through June of 2023, contact your Care Coordinator at: Hawai’i Island Community Health Centers, Hamakua-Kohala Health, Mango Medical or Island Heart Care. Limited spaces remain for 2023 and the programs close in 2024. If you have a different health provider and want to inquire, please click here