Farm to school programs enhance the total well-being of students, families, schools, and community food systems and comprise three core elements: 1) school gardens and farms; 2) experiential education; and 3) school food improvement through local procurement.
Each October, schools, and communities are encouraged to celebrate Farm to School Month in Hawai‘i, established in perpetuity via Act 10 (2017). This year’s National Farm to School Month theme of “Our Food, Our Future” centers on amplifying youth leadership around six community values – economic and environmental justice, health, racial equity, workers’ rights, and animal welfare – for a racially just food system.
On July 2, 2021, Governor David Ige signed Act 175 (2021) into law, establishing the Hawai‘i Farm to School Program within the Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE). The purposes of this program are to:
- Improve student health;
- Develop an educated agricultural workforce;
- Enrich the local food system through the support and increase of local food procurement for the State’s public schools;
- Accelerate garden and farm-based education for the State’s public school students; and
- Expand the relationships between public schools and agricultural communities.
This law also establishes a Farm to School Coordinator position within HIDOE, and sets a goal that “by 2030, the department shall meet the local farm to school meal goal that thirty percent of food served in public schools shall consist of locally sourced products, as measured by the percentage of the total cost of food.”
The following resources are available to support schools in celebrating Farm to School Month and developing their farm to school programming year-round:
- Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui: Find links here to each of the five Island Networks, farm to school curriculum, advocacy materials, and other resources.
- ʻUlu Education Toolkit: Offers an array of resources for learning about, growing, and eating ʻulu on campus or at home. Developed by the Hawai‘i ‘Ulu Cooperative, Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui, and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Education STEMS² Program.
- FEAST Student Workbooks and Teacher Guides: “Food Experiences for Agricultural Science Training” distance learning resources for grades 3-5 and 6-8. Developed by the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and The Center for Getting Things Started (C4GTS). Download for free or order printed copies.
- Grow Eat Think (GET) Local Farm to School: Regional Coordinators currently serve the communities of Wai‘anae and Moloka‘i. Hosted by the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH CTAHR). Stay tuned for the upcoming launch of the Hawai‘i Farm to School Toolkit, a resource hub for developing, expanding, and sustaining high-quality farm to school programming in Hawai‘i!
- Hawai‘i Fruit Tree Sources by Island: Compiled by the Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui.
- Funding Opportunities:
There are many ways to celebrate Farm to School Month and get involved! Whether you conduct a taste test with students, start a garden, enjoy a virtual farm tour, or spread the word on social media, we wish you all a Happy Farm to School Month!