Hawai‘i Schools Celebrate Farm to School Week
The Hawai‘i Farm to School Initiative is celebrating Farm to School Week by highlighting its pilot project in Kohala. From Oct. 2 to 5, students at Kohala public schools will enjoy delicious, fresh cooked meals that will feature local ingredients such as Big Island ground beef, apple bananas, sweet potatoes and pineapple.
The Initiative’s Farm to School Week coincides with Farm to School Month, which is being celebrated in Oct. across the nation. The celebration brings an awareness to the growing importance of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, encourage diverse careers in agriculture, support local economies and educate children about the origins of food.
Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui spearheads the initiative and works collaboratively with the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE), The Kohala Center and the Hawai‘i State Department of Agriculture (HDOA). The Hawai‘i Farm to School Initiative is the officially the first state run farm to school program in the HIDOE system.
“Farm to School Week highlights a major milestone that was accomplished for the Farm to School Initiative. This celebration drives home the message of encouraging students to eat healthy and eat locally produced food,” said Tsutsui. “With Hawai‘i importing about 85% of our food, the Farm to School Initiative is influencing generations in helping the state to move towards becoming food sustainable.”
HIDOE has 256 public schools and its school food services branch feeds approximately 100,000 students and staff each day.
While executing farm to school strategies that improve student nutrition, supports local businesses and expands agricultural career opportunities for our students, the pilot project serves as a learning laboratory that conceptualizes a statewide farm to school program within the HIDOE by December 2020. The next phase of the project includes expanding to additional schools on Hawai‘i and Maui islands during the 2017 to 2019 school years.
The Farm to School Initiative is a public-private partnership with the Lt. Governor’s office, HDOA, Hawaii State Department of Health, HIDOE, Dorrance Family Foundation, Hawaii Appleseed, Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, HMSA, The Kohala Center and Ulupono Initiative.