HONOLULU — Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui recognized the Hawaii State Department of Education’s Kohala Complex Cafeteria Manager Priscilla Galan with a Certificate of Commendation. Priscilla and her staff have been working with Chef Greg Christian, president and founder of Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners, to bring delicious local, fresh scratch-cooked food to students as one of the objectives of the Hawaii Farm to School Initiative.
“The remarkable cafeteria staff at the Kohala Complex, under the leadership of Cafeteria Manager Priscilla Galan, possessed the willingness to accept change and the challenge to prepare fresh, scratched cooked food for our keiki. Priscilla Galan and her staff have played a critical role in helping to move this initiative forward. Without her support, leadership and aloha, this initiative would not be where it is today. Priscilla Galan is leading the charge, and has become an agent of change – a pioneer – in the way school meals are being prepared. As a result, Priscilla Galan’s kitchen is the first in the State’s public school system where meals are prepared with fresh ingredients every day,” states the certificate.
Since launching in 2016, the Farm to School Initiative’s Pilot Project has been working to increase local ingredients in school cafeterias. The team works with local farms and markets to source fresh, seasonal ingredients. Kohala students actively help create the menu by participating in taste tests and Chef Greg and Cafeteria Manager Galan work together to develop recipes that incorporate more freshly cooked food that the students both love and are familiar with into the daily menu. They also revamp favorites such as pizza and kalua pig with cabbage. Now, laulau made with local beef, local laulau and ti leaves has been added to the menu.
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 Farm to School Initiative is a public-private partnership with the Lt. Governor’s office, HDOA, Hawaii State Department of Health, HIDOE, Dorrance Family Foundation, Hawaii Appleseed, Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, The Kohala Center and Ulupono Initiative.