2020 Aina Pono Nutritional Program to launch in January
Sponsored by Kekaha Agriculture Association
Farm-to-table is nothing new, but now the movement is being initiated across state and county lines. As Kauai Week continues, HI Now host Kanoe Gibson is visiting the the Menehune of Waimea High School. The students are among the first to partake in the state farm-to-school initiative in 2020: The Aina Pono Nutritional Program.
“The 2020 Aina Pono Nutritional Program is gonna be first rolled out in January here on Kauai,” says Senator Ronald Kouchi. “We are proud to be the first complex statewide to have the authorization from the department to proceed.”
Senator Kouchi explains that the farm-to-state initiative started with farm-to-school. The pilot project started in Kohala and found that there was a lot of processed food being served in Hawaii schools. While much of the food was not made from scratch, students were not interested in eating what was being served.
“It’s so important, I believe, for the people in the state of Hawaii to have food that’s locally grown, nutritious, delicious, and just easily accessible,” says First Lady of Hawaii Dawn Ige. “As an educator, I know how important a healthy meal is. If students have a healthy meal in their stomach, it just makes them feel better, so learning becomes a more natural and more exciting thing for them to do.”
Farm-to-school is one thing, but farm-to-state is an even bigger goal. Aside from the 100,000 meals that the Department of Education puts out a day, the prisons serve both the corrections officers and inmates. Senator Kouchi estimates that that’s another 13,000 meals, and points out that there’s also the state hospitals to take into consideration.
“If we hit this goal, we can more than double our food production here in Hawaii,” says Senator Kouchi.
“I’m so excited to see the community coming together to really make this happen for our students. With the help of the legislature and Senator Kouchi, it just really makes it a model for our state,” says Ige.