Agriculture education is key to the development of future farmers and to a society that values, supports, and understands the vital role of local agriculture in increased food security and self-sufficiency in Hawai‘i.
While many challenges remain for rebuilding Hawaii’s community food systems, there is hope on the horizon. During the past decade, thanks to the collective work of many, including the Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui, a vibrant grassroots movement has emerged to support agriculture education in Hawai‘i. We’re also seeing a marked increase in new farmer-training programs and student involvement in Future Farmers of America (FFA).
To encourage this momentum, the Hawai‘i State Senate in 2015 passed Senate Resolution No. 80, requesting that the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH CTAHR) “convene a working group to develop a coordinated framework of support for preschool through post-secondary (P-20) agriculture education and a plan for implementation,” including any proposed legislation, through annual reports to the Hawai‘i State Legislature prior to the 2017, 2018, and 2019 legislative sessions.
For three years, UH CTAHR has convened the P-20 Agriculture Education Working Group, which includes both governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. The group’s final report to the 2019 legislature (DC149) outlines a Coordinated Framework of Support for P-20 Agriculture Education in Hawai‘i. It asserts that implementation of the framework will require a P-20 Agriculture Education Coordinator position be established within UH CTAHR and funded for the purposes of overseeing ongoing communication and collaboration of the P-20 Agriculture Education Working Group and spearheading the Implementation Plan. A primary focus of the Implementation Plan is to infuse agriculture education into pre-service teacher development programs at all levels across the state.
This session, the legislature is considering a bill to create and fund the P-20 Agriculture Education Coordinator at UH CTAHR: SB762 Relating to Agriculture Education. You can voice your strong support for this effort by registering at www.capitol.hawaii.gov to track this bill and by submitting supportive testimony! Together we can rebuild Hawaii’s community food systems for the wellbeing of all.
To get involved with Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui, contact Lydi Bernal at firstname.lastname@example.org.