Honolulu, HI (May 12, 2011) – On May 18, 2011, shoppers can dig deep to support the future of farming at Whole Foods Market Kahala’s Community Support Day, which will benefit MA`O Organic Farms. Whole Foods Market will donate five percent of the day’s sales to MA`O Organic Farms’ scholarship fund, which supports social entrepreneurship, organic food and youth leadership for a sustainable Hawai‘i.


“MA`O Organic Farms is always excited to partner with Whole Foods Market whether its providing fresh produce for Hawai‘i residents or working with the store to raise monies for our scholarship fund which provides opportunities for local youth to grow,” said Kamuela Enos, social enterprise director at MA`O.  “Being a non-profit organization ensures that all revenues MA`O generates go directly to our mission of empowering youth form the community of Waianae to take the lead in solving Hawai`i’s pressing food security issues.”


Whole Foods Market’s Community Support Day donation will go towards MA`O Organic Farms’ Youth Leadership Training (YLT) college internship program. For the last five years, MA`O has been hiring youth from the community of Waianae to work part-time on its fully certified organic farm. In exchange for 20 hours of sweat equity, MA`O Organic Farms provides a full tuition waiver to Leeward Community College and a starting monthly stipend of $500. The organization asks youth to make a two and a half year commitment, during which time they receive both their Associates of Arts degree as well as a certificate in community food security.


Currently, MA`O Organic Farms is sending 25 youth from Waianae to college as organic farmers – with a majority of them being the first in their family to enter an institute of higher learning. Doubling the impact of this exciting day is the fact that the Thomas J. Vincent Foundation of Kaneohe, a longtime supporter of the farm, will match Whole Foods Market’s donation.


“The Vincent Foundation is delighted to take this opportunity to contribute to the scholarship fund of MA`O Organic Farms,” said Thomas Vincent.   “It is our pleasure to match the funds contributed by Whole Foods Market and we expect that the community will take advantage of this great opportunity to support MA`O’s important efforts to grow new farmers for Hawai`i.”


As part of its commitment to supporting local causes in the community in which it works, Whole Foods Market stores, nationwide, hold Community Support Days three times a year and donate five percent of that day’s net sales to a local nonprofit or educational organization.


“Whole Foods Market is thrilled to be able to support the great work MA`O Organic Farms is doing to promote healthy food choices as well as social and environmental responsibility, which aligns with our own mission,” said Natalie Aczon, Whole Foods Market Kahala marketing supervisor. “We are excited to work with MA`O Organic Farms as it continues to lead the way in nurturing Hawai‘i’s local food movement.”


As part of the day’s festivities several scholarship recipients will be onsite including, Lindsey Ozawa, former Executive Chef of Nobu and Honolulu Weekly Food Editor Martha Cheng. Ozawa and Cheng are both owners and creators of Melt and will be conducting cooking demonstrations starting at 4 p.m.


To learn more about MA`O Organic Farms, please visit www.maoogranicfarms.org.


For additional information on Whole Foods Market Kahala, please visit www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/honolulu/ or call (808) 738 ?0820. Whole Foods Market Kahala is also on twitter, www.twitter.com/wfmkahala and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WholeFoodsKahala with updates on store events and sales.