State seeks feedback, more in effort to increase local food in schools
The Hawai‘i Department of Education is inviting interested vendors, such as farmers and distributors, to provide product information and feedback to assist in increasing locally sourced food in public schools.
The Education Department’s Farm and School Program aims to enhance food sustainability in Hawai‘i and aligns with Act 175, which focuses on improving the health of students while supporting local farmers.
The Education Department has posted a request for information for potential vendors that could include farmers, ranchers, food hubs, processors, cooperatives, distributors and others. The information gathered will help develop a subsequent request for proposals to provide schools with local produce, proteins and packaged foods.
The request for information was posted to the Hawai‘i Awards and Notices Data System (HANDS) and is due by 4 p.m. Nov. 27.
The Education Department is the state’s largest institutional consumer of food products, serving more than 100,000 students a day throughout the state.
Locally sourced items in schools statewide consist of ground beef, tomato, papaya and green onion. Big Island schools also have local bananas and O‘ahu schools receive local cucumbers as well.
Local ‘uala (sweet potato) and poi made from local kalo also was recently featured in school lunches throughout the state.