DA BUS Mobile Market and Food Pantry Project is a three-year initiative funded by a USDA Community Food Project grant award, to address food insecurity and health disparities on Hawaiʿi Island, particularly in the 12 USDA designated low income/low access areas,  known as “Food Deserts”.  

The project goals are:

  • To improve access to affordable healthy food among low-income residents
  • Build target area community involvement in addressing food security
  • Support local agricultural development
  • Improve healthy eating and reduce health disparities in chronic diseases
  • Strengthen linkages between agricultural, entrepreneurial, health, and human service sectors to create a secure local food economy

To achieve these goals the project has developed DA BUS Mobile Market and Food Pantry which is providing access to affordable locally-grown produce, emergency staple food items, seeds, and garden starts to low-income residents on Hawaiʿi Island. 

DA BUS Project is also integrating:

  • Outreach education on cooking, nutrition and gardening
  • Providing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly known as ‘food stamps’) outreach materials and application assistance. 

DA BUS currently visits designated community gathering sites in low-income/low-access rural areas including senior centers, low-income housing complexes, and County Park and Recreation centers scheduled in conjunction with The Food Basket’s (Hawai`i Island’s Food Bank)  Commodity Supplemental Food Program “Kupuna Pantry” which serves low income Seniors island-wide.

Our project partners include:

  • The Kohala Center
  • Blue Zones Hawaii
  • CTAHR
  • KTA Super Stores
  • Hawaii Island farmers
  • Hawaii Department of Health SNAP-Ed
  • County of Hawaii
  • Hawaii Island Food Alliance (HIFA)

DA BUS Project directly addresses the needs of low-income individuals with limited access to healthy food in several ways: 

  • Through a long-term solution to food distribution
  • Increasing community self-reliance and encouraging healthy lifestyle development through gardening and cooking instruction and demonstrations
  • Increasing the economic viability of the local food economy by supporting local farmers and grocers

DA BUS project started in January 2018.  For more information please contact info@hawaiifoodbasket.org