After a decade of work cultivating Hawaiʻi’s farm to school movement, the Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui’s impact on community food systems and ʻāina-based education is substantial. In recognition, the Hui has undertaken a 10-year retrospective independent evaluation by Groundswell Services, Inc. to assess the health, impact, and reach of this statewide network.
Based on an extensive document review, over 30 stakeholder interviews, and a network-wide survey, the following outcome statements have been developed and substantiated to show the impact of the Hui since its founding in 2010:
- Hawai‘i schoolchildren are eating more locally-produced and school-grown foods cooked from scratch in Hawai‘i’s schools.
- School gardens are safer for students and adults who use them.
- There is increased awareness about rat lungworm disease in Hawai‘i and the adoption of practices to reduce its spread.
- State-level change is being achieved through institutionalization of farm to school programs within state and county governments, and preschool through post-secondary (P-20) public and independent educational systems.
- New stakeholders, including high school students and Early Childhood Education specialists, are more highly engaged in farm to school.
- Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui members are more highly skilled and more effective than they would be without the Hui.
- An increased number of students in Hawai‘i are experiencing garden-based learning as a mode of education with research-based benefits.
As a next step in our network’s growth and in order to significantly scale our work and impact, the Hui will be embarking on a strategic planning process in collaboration with concurrent and exciting initiatives for wide scale food systems change.