The Hawai‘i State Department of Education needs more local farmers and vendors to supply fresh produce for student meals on the island, with an emphasis on locally grown fruits and vegetables. This is part of the department’s efforts to introduce fresh, locally grown products in student meals through its ‘Aina Pono programs, including Farm to School and Harvest of the Month.
“Our students have shared with us how they enjoy eating fresh, local ingredients in their school lunches,” said Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “We want to continue serving these healthy meals to our students through our ‘Aina Pono programs. In order to do that, we need to grow and expand our partnerships with Hawaii’s agriculture community.”
During the next two weeks, HIDOE will be hosting produce solicitation pre-bid meetings for local farmers and vendors across the state. Representatives from the Lieutenant Governor’s office, HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch, HIDOE’s Procurement and Contracts Branch, Hawai‘i Department of Taxation, and Hawai‘i Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will be available to answer questions.
The meeting in Maui will be Thursday, Oct. 25, 4:30-6pm at Maui High School Library. For more information about selling goods and services to HIDOE, visit Hawaiipublicschools.org.
HIDOE continues to increase local food in student meals through its ‘Aina Pono programs, including Farm to School and Harvest of the Month. These programs help to connect students with the ‘āina through food, while using products from Hawai‘i’s local agricultural community. The original Farm to School Initiative was spearheaded by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in 2015, after Senate Bill 376 was signed into law as Act 218. Today, the Farm to School Initiative is included under ‘Aina Pono, which features SFSB’s other educational programs, test kitchens, meal programs, menu planning, nutrition, school gardens and more.
Pomaika‘i Elementary School on Maui has already started participating in the initiative and last week included ulu (breadfruit) in their beef stew.
Photo courtesy Hawaii State Department of Education