The beginning of the open markets is attributed to Mrs. Joyce Fasi. After hearing concerns of women in a discussion group regarding the high cost living in Honolulu and in particular the high cost of food, she relayed these thoughts to her husband, then Mayor Frank F. Fasi. The People's Open Market were thus started to assist farmers with selling their "off-grade", "ungraded" and surplus produce and at the same time help lower food costs for the citizens of Honolulu.
The first People's Open Market (POM) was started at the Banyan Court Mall location in Kalihi in November, 1973. People in other communities began requesting their own POMs. Soon, a caravan of POM farmer/vendors were traveling to various sites to help citizens purchase low cost food items.
The POM staff determines a recommended price that the vendors may sell their produce at (usually 35% below the retail prices). This is done by having the staff do weekly price checks of the retail stores in the city to calculate the POM price. The City also requires all vendors to be authorized to accept food stamps to help those who are on fixed incomes. Vendors may sell below, but not over, the recommended prices.
At the POM, you will find many kinds of ethnic fruits, vegetables and other food items that are not ordinarily available in grocery stores. Depending on the ethnic make-up of the neighborhood, you will find different varieties at different sites.