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April 08, 2016

Hawaii Farmers Invited to Showcase Produce and Goods

Categories: Food | Press Release | Featured

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HONOLULU — Local farmers have a unique opportunity to showcase their produce and goods at a “Farm to School Information Session and Mixer.” Those interested are encouraged to register beginning today or call The Kohala Center at 808-887-6411. Registration ends April 21 and it is free to register, but space is limited.

The Farm to School Information Session and Mixer will be held on Wednesday, April 27, from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m., at the Hawaii State Capitol, Fifth Floor.

While sharing information about their products and farm, farmers will also be able to learn how they can become a qualified vendor and increase their supplies with the State. Additionally, those in the agriculture community will have a chance to connect with the Department of Education’s food service branch.

“I highly encourage farmers and ranchers to attend this rare opportunity to educate people about their products while learning about ways to partner with the State to increase locally-grown food on school menus,” said Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, who is spearheading the Farm to School Initiative.

“This event is one way we are helping to maximize opportunities and support our local agricultural industry,” said Scott Enright, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Hawaii’s agricultural industry is facing many challenges and this initiative will help to provide new business prospects for island farmers.”

“The Hawaii Farm Bureau has been a strong advocate for the increased use of locally grown agricultural products in our schools and other public institutions,” said Brian Miyamoto, Executive Director of the Hawaii Farm Bureau. “The Lt. Governor’s support for Hawaii’s agricultural industry through programs like the Farm to School Initiative will help increase markets for local farmers and ranchers and can help place agriculture at the forefront as a driving economic force by providing jobs and increasing food security for Hawaii.”

“Increasing the amount of local food purchased for school meals can create more economic opportunities for local farmers and stimulate local food production, while also giving our keiki more access to fresh and nutritious local food. This is an ideal union between health, food, and education and something our keiki and communities deserve,” said Dr. Kamana Beamer, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Kohala Center. “We appreciate the support of the Lt. Governor, the Hawaii Department of Education, and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture for developing a local farm to school supply chain.”

The Farm to School Information Session and Mixer is an event organized by the Farm to School Initiative. The event is hosted by the Office of the Lt. Governor, State Department of Agriculture the Kohala Center and the Hawaii Farm Bureau.

The Ulupono Initiative has been a staunch supporter of the Farm to School Initiative and the information session and mixer. “Our farmers, ranchers, and all local food producers have the opportunity to help inform the government about what could be produced either the next year or in future years,” said Kyle Datta, General Partner of Ulupono Initiative. “This exchange of information will be used to help redesign the menus to match what can be produced and to inform the farmers and ranchers on what is needed. The leadership of the Lt. Governor and the Hawaii Departments of Education and Agriculture have opened an unparalleled opportunity to work together to shape the future.”

About Farm to School Initiative:

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.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.

For more information on the State’s Farm to School Initiative, please contact Jayson Watts, Senior Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor. Phone: (808) 586-0255 Email: jayson.watts@hawaii.gov