The Hawai‘i Youth Food Council (HYFC) is comprised of high school students from across the state with a collective goal of supporting food-related efforts that benefit Hawai‘i’s communities. HYFC launched during the 2019-2020 school year with an inaugural council of five youth from four islands, representing public, charter, and independent schools, and selected to help design and plan for an expanded rollout during the 2020-2021 school year.
In 2019-2020, HYFC’s focus was on school food, and members worked together to conduct a school food assessment by creating a survey and launching a photo contest. The purpose of the survey was to collect data about which foods and practices students like, dislike, or want to change about their school food experience. The photo contest, called Whatchu Eatin’?, was intended as a method for students to share their thoughts and opinions about their school food experiences. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the theme of the photo contest was expanded to include photos of foods eaten by students during school closures. The photo contest received 118 entries and the survey was filled out by 101 middle and high school students. The current council is excited to see what projects future councils members will accomplish!
MEMBERS AND ALLY PARTNERS
Founding Council Members, Spring Semester 2020
- Makena Anderson
- Hannah Apostol
- Julia Barzilai
- Madison Frisbie
- Chase Manosa
Adult Ally Partners
- First Lady Mrs. Dawn Amano Ige
- Hawai‘i Public Health Institute, Hawai‘i Farm to School Hui
- Hawai‘i Appleseed
- Blue Zones Hawai‘i
- Hawai‘i Department of Health, Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division
- YMCA of Hawai‘i
- Ceeds of Peace
- O’ahu Farm to School Network/’Iolani School
- Hawai‘i Department of Education, School Food Services Branch
Meet the 2019-2020 Hawai‘i Youth Food Council Members!
Aloha, I am a 17 year old graduating Junior at Konawaena High School on the island of Hawaiʻi. Growing up in Puna, I was taught that our connection to the ʻĀina was integral for life and joy. This has led me to be very involved in conservation groups around the island and an advocate for wellness of the mind, environment, body. Learning about the link between agriculture and climate change and diet and disease, began to promote plant based/vegan and locally sourced diet for the reasons stated above. I have advocated through my blog (www.bakingonpluto), as the president of the Konawaena Environmental Activist club, and in daily life. I quickly noticed that all of the food being served at my school was not local, didn’t have plant based options, using single use plastic, and not being eaten by my peers. I wanted to make a difference, but found that the difference had to be made on a level higher than was accessible to me. That is, until I found this opportunity. Hawai‘i Youth Food Council has given me a chance to advocate on a professional level, hear the voices of my peers, and get insight into the school meal program. I know with a lot of work, Hawai‘i Youth Food Council can truly make a difference in what it means to eat school meals.
Aloha! I am Hannah Apostol and I’m currently 15 years old. I am a Sophomore attending Waipahu High School and I was given such an amazing opportunity to be a part of the first-ever Hawai‘i Youth Food Council. I joined the council because of my unending love for agriculture and our environment. Being apart of another organization of Future Farmers of America (FFA), I learned many things including our current situation of 90% percent of our food being imported, it really amazed me how we used to be able to rely on nothing but ourselves for food to where we are now. This led me to have a passion for sustainable eating and I wanted to fight for my passion which led me to joining the Hawai‘i Youth Food Council. With our topic being school lunches, I believe that being able to incorporate more local products and goods into school lunches, that percentage will hopefully decrease. Another reason why I joined the council was because I had a bad history with food growing up, I didn’t care what I put into my body and that led to me being overweight and it led to more problems that I had to face. I don’t want anyone to ever go through what I went through and I believe that habits do start at a young age. I saw joining the council, as a way for me to in-build those habits of healthy eating through school lunches to our younger generations by incorporating more healthy food into our school lunches that elementary schools get. This council was able to help me fight for these passions that have been in me for a long time now. I hope to continue in the future as an Environmental lawyer so I could fight for the land use here in Hawai‘i and we could start getting back into our roots of farming and I hope to inspire young generations to take on big roles as we are today!
Hi, my name is Julia Barzilai. I am fourteen years old and am currently a freshman at Island School on Kaua‘i. I am thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of the first Hawai‘i Youth Food Council. I hope that we can make a difference to food in Hawai‘i. I believe that this year’s topic, school lunch, is important because it influences so many school-aged children and has a large impact on the health and happiness of many kids. My love of food stems from an interest in agriculture. I am passionate about the environment and supporting locally grown food. I have a vegetable garden at home and try to grow as much food for my family as possible. Some other groups I am involved in are Blue Planet Foundation and Surfrider Foundation. I am the president of my school’s Student Surfrider Club and our hope is to maintain a small school garden next year. I am excited for the future of the Hawai‘i Youth Food Council and hope to see it take on new goals every year!
Hello, my name is Madison Frisbie, I am 17 years old and a Junior at Kalani High School. When I first heard about the Hawai‘i Youth Food Council I thought of it as a great opportunity to discuss a topic that I love, food. I also thought of it as a new way to contribute to my community and in school. Learning about the different topics we would discuss as a council gave me hope that I could be a part of something that can leave a beneficial impact in Hawai‘i. I have always loved cooking and baking because it was a great outlet to find new recipes and eat healthy. I also love my fruits and vegetables and finding new ways to incorporate them into my meals. Being a high school student also gave me a deeper insight into what we eat during lunch and breakfast. Our topic this year was school food, so seeing everyone’s opinions about the food helped me voice my ideas towards our group. Becoming interested in these issues we face motivated me to take action and get a better understanding about eating healthy and food education. I hope to go on to be a doctor so I can continue to address the importance of healthy eating. Another goal of mine would be to continue to be a member of the Hawai‘i Youth Food Council until I graduate in 2021.
I’m Chase Manosa and I’m a Junior at Kamehameha Schools Maui. I am 17 years old and I was lucky enough to be chosen for the first Hawai‘i Youth Food Council. My interest in food started when I was young with my grandparents who taught me about eating well. Throughout my education I’ve learned a lot about cooking food as well its effects on our bodies. This opportunity has allowed me to improve my own skills, work in a tight knit group, voice my ideas, and advocate for a cause I believe in. I was fortunate enough to be at Kamehameha Schools Maui for the entirety of my school life so quality meals were never an issue for me. I realized early on that I was getting more than others and I wanted to take my own experiences into this in hopes of improving the quality of food in public schools across the state. I highly recommend applying if you are interested in advocating for improvement of school food or even agricultural education.