Taro Served for First Time in Public SchoolNovember 29, 2018, 12:06 PM HST (Updated September 8, 2020, 10:53 AM)
The ‘Aina Pono Hawai‘i State Farm to School Program celebrated another milestone on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, on Kaua‘i with ‘Ele‘ele Elementary School becoming the first Hawai‘i Department of Education school to officially serve kalo or taro in its food service menu.
“It’s very gratifying to see how much the ‘Aina Pono Hawai‘i State Farm to School Program has revolutionized school meals,” said Lt. Gov. Doug Chin. “So many students, farmers and state legislators have already praised the program for providing healthy meals made with locally produced ingredients.”
Everyone wants the program to succeed and grow, which has been the goal for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor since it launched the program in 2015 and began working with public and private sectors.
‘Ele‘ele Elementary Principal Paul Zina invited Lt. Governor Chin, Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho and Kaua‘i Mayor-elect Derek Kawakami helped serve kalo to the students and taste the goodness themselves in the form of the Poi Breakfast Parfait, made with poi, plain yogurt, pineapple chunks and granola.
They also talked story with Principal Zina and Kaina Makua, of the Aloha Aina Poi Company, about the importance of sustaining local farmers and producers so they can continue to supply public schools with fresh, local ingredients. One example was in the taro field right there on the ‘Ele‘ele school campus, where a Kumu Sabra Kauka and Kumu Chad Shimmelfennig’s fifth grade class presented a cultural program to celebrate the land and the coming together to be able to feed our keiki healthy food while they’re in school.
Lt. Governor Chin, the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) and the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture have been working together with private stakeholders to transform HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch. The work in progress is making a difference that public school students will be able to taste and enjoy for years to come.