October as Farm to School Month in Hawai‘i, bringing attention and coordinated awareness to farm to school programs across the state. This includes school gardens, efforts to purchase Hawai‘i-grown products, nutrition and health education, agricultural education in and out of the classroom, and other activities that connect keiki to the ‘āina.
SB 882 will further align agricultural communities and state activities with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “National Farm to School Month.”
Hawaiʻi’s farm to school movement is growing stronger every year! The Hawaiʻi Farm to School and School Garden Hui is a statewide group with members representing school garden networks from Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Maui/Lānaʻi, and Hawaiʻi Island. The Hui’s mission is to strengthen Hawai‘i’s statewide farm to school and school garden movement by supporting our island networks in the areas of capacity building, resource development and sharing, professional development, and policy development and advocacy.
In 2016, the Hawaiʻi Lt. Governor’s office, with governmental and non-profit partners, spearheaded a Farm to School Initiative to address the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for our State school cafeterias. The Initiative also aims to systematically increase State purchasing of local food for our school menus as well as connect our keiki with the ʻāina through their food, using products from the local agricultural community. Now in its pilot phase in the Kohala Complex on Hawaiʻi Island, the project will move to a larger complex on Maui next, to ultimately scale successful farm to school strategies into HIDOE’s statewide operations. While sourcing local produce in school meals has been challenging, many schools have turned their attention to serving local produce in school snack programs, which can be more flexible. According to the Hawaiʻi Department of Health’s 2015-16 School Safety and Wellness Survey, 87 percent of K-12 public schools in Hawaiʻi have a school garden.
More information on the National Farm to School Network: http://www.farmtoschool.org/our-network/Hawaii