5th Annual Statewide Farm to School Conference RecapPosted On: Jul 03, 12
On June 1 and 2, Kokua Hawai’i Foundation, Hawai’i Association of Independent Schools - Grow Hawai’i, and Waikiki Elementary hosted the 5th Annual Statewide Farm to School Conference. 155 educators from five islands gathered to learn and share about the growing Farm to School movement in Hawai’i, including best practices for garden-based learning.
Day 1 was jam-packed with inspirational presentations and workshops. In his opening remarks, KHF Board Member Chef Ed Kenney shared that “There’s no conflict between a better food and a better world” while tossing bags of fresh MA’O greens to the audience. In her plenary session, Kalei Nu’uhiwa captivated the audience with an introduction to the Hawaiian moon calendar and its applications to gardening and other aspects of our daily lives. KHF’s Dexter Kishida and Waikiki School’s Debbie Millikan presented their experience in pursuing food safety certification for the school’s Food Farm—a requirement to serve garden-grown food in school meals. Conference participants were also treated to breakout sessions addressing an array of topics: gardening curricula, school snacks, Hawaiian medicinal herbs, nutrition education, peace gardens, and more. Additionally, forty people gathered in a special Administrators’ Session for an engaging discussion on the big picture of Hawai’i's Farm to School movement. Participants included School Principals, UH Department Chairs and Professors, Legislators, Honolulu City Council Members, administrators from the State Departments of Agriculture, Education, and Health, and members of the Hawai’i Farm to School & School Garden Hui. Discussions centered on the sharing of working models, challenges experienced, visions, needs, and actions for advancing Hawai’i's Farm to School movement in order to simultaneously strengthen our local food systems and agricultural economy, improve academic achievement in schools, and address the health of Hawai’i's students and communities. Be sure to sign up to receive the ‘AINA In Schools e-newsletter to receive follow up information on this session and other updates.
Day 2 of the conference focused on hands-on learning in school gardens across O’ahu, including: Punahou School, Ka Papa Lo’i o Kanewai, UH Manoa Children’s Center, University Laboratory School, Kainalu Elementary and Windward Nazarene Academy. During their field trips, the educators enjoyed garden-to-table lunch demos from our local celebrity chefs, including D.K. Kodama, Lindsey Ozawa, Colin Hazama, Lance Kosaka and Jason Peel. Kamuela Enos and interns from MA’O Organic Farms closed the conference with an inspirational talk that reminded all of why we are all doing the work that we do—to grow a better future for Hawai’i's keiki.
We thank all the participants and presenters who made the conference a success. Mahalo to Kaiser Permanente for their generous support of the conference and to Hula Grill and Whole Foods Market for their delicious food! For more information about how to join the Farm to School movement in Hawai’i, visit www.kokuahawaiifoundation.org/aina.