HONOLULU — Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui is working collaboratively with the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture and Department of Education to gather information from the agriculture community for the Farm to School Initiative. Farmers across the state are being asked to participate in a Request for Information (RFI) survey for the Initiative’s market research, beginning April 1.
The goal of the Farm to School Initiative is to address the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for our school cafeterias. The Initiative aims to systematically increase State purchasing of local food for our school menus as well as connect our keiki with their food through the use of products from the local agricultural community.
Lt. Governor Tsutsui, who is spearheading the Initiative, said the RFI is an important first step for the Initiative. “We are hoping to hear from all sectors of our agriculture community — from ranchers to farmers – to provide us invaluable information so that we can assess how viable it is to increase local products in our schools.”
“The department is always looking for ways to improve our partnerships with our local growers,” said School Food Services Branch Director Glenna Shim. “The information gathered through the RFI will assist us in increasing our current capacity to purchase local produce.”
“This is one avenue by which we can continue to support our local famers and local economy through teaching students about their agricultural community by way of their school menu,” said Scott Enright, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.
Across the nation, farm to school programs are reconnecting students to a better understanding of the food system and where their food comes from. Farm to school programs introduce students to healthier eating habits and help them become familiar with new vegetables and fruits that they and their families will then be more willing to incorporate into their own diets.
The last day to fill out the RFI will be on April 30th.
The RFI can be found at http://spo3.hawaii.gov/notices/notices/rfi-16-03-add