Hawaii’s Farm to School program gets new name and look

29-Mar-2018

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor unveiled a new logo and name for the Farm to School Initiative on March 29 at Mililani High School in the presence of students, teachers, HIDOE staff, state lawmakers and community supporters.

New 'Aina Pono logoThe Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor unveiled a new logo and name for the Farm to School Initiative on March 29 at Mililani High School in the presence of students, teachers, HIDOE staff, state lawmakers and community supporters.

The program's new name – ‘Aina Pono Hawai‘i State Farm to School – and logo (pictured right) designed by Blackletter Group is the result of rebranding efforts designed to unite all of the programs operated by the Department's School Food Services Branch (SFSB).

"We've created ‘Aina Pono as a way to combine the Farm to School Initiative with our other educational programs, including ‘Aina Pono Harvest of the Month, test kitchens, meal programs and menu planning," said Albert Scales, SFSB's program administrator. "Health and food education, nutrition and school gardens are now included under ‘Aina Pono as well."

The Hawaiian word ‘aina – without the kahakō or macron – refers to eating or meal. Pono means righteousness and is often used to mean being honorable, doing things correctly, being in a state of balance and harmony.

"When we combine the two words together – ‘Aina Pono – it can loosely translate to 'righteous meal' as one interpretation," said Scales. "Along those same lines, to be 'pono' is about doing what's right. We want to honor and return to our Islands' roots, bringing scratch-cooked meals back into our school cafeterias. It's about finding a balance in the food we are serving with the USDA's nutrition requirements and creating a harmony of locally grown ingredients that we incorporate into student meals."

The original Farm to School Initiative was spearheaded by the Lieutenant Governor's Office in 2015, after Senate Bill 376 was signed into law as Act 218. A pilot program followed in the Kohala Complex Area on Hawaii Island through a partnership with HIDOE, Hawaii Department of Agriculture and The Kohala Center. The program's goal is to address the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for Hawaii public schools. The program also aims to systematically increase state purchasing of local food for student meals.

In January 2018, the program expanded to Mililani High School on Oahu. As HIDOE's second largest food production site, Mililani High School provides about 2,500 school lunches daily for approximately 1,000 high school students and an additional 1,500 students at Mililani Uka and Mililani Waena elementary schools.

In celebration of the program's new name and logo, Mililani High School cooked kalua pork overnight in an imu (underground oven) on its school campus. While some Hawaii schools have organized Thanksgiving fundraising imu events to cook turkeys, this is the first imu-cooked meal to be officially sanctioned and served in a public school cafeteria to students. Lunch also included local pineapples and bananas, spinach, poi, lomi tomato and a freshly baked sweet roll.

For more information on the ‘Aina Pono Hawai‘i State Farm to School program, as well as delicious recipes, please click here.


Honoring the 'Aina Pono Hawai'i State Farm to School Program

A special plaque from Hawaii's State Senate was presented to the Hawaii State Department of Education. It reads: 

The Senate honoring and commending 'Aina Pono Hawai'i State Farm to School Program upon their logo unveiling

A special plaque from Hawaii's State Senate

Just in time for our beautiful and bountiful island spring weather, we come together to celebrate the State's ongoing 'Aina Pono Farm to School Program. The goal of the 'Aina Pono Farm to School Program is to address the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for our State school cafeterias. The program also aims to connect our keiki with the 'āina through their food, using products from the community's agricultural industry.

'Aina Pono incorporates school gardens, nutrition, health and food education, test kitchens, meal programs, and menu planning at Hawai'i's public schools. The effort to include more local ingredients in student meals is made possible through various community partnerships and continued support from various farms across the state. Farm to School aims to help students become "citizen eaters" who understand the connections between food, health, and agriculture. From improving academic performance to encouraging healthy food choices, to supporting farmers and the local economy, the benefits of farm to school programs are truly abundant.

What better location for a Farm to School site than sunny Mililani. Mililani High is the Hawai'i Department of Education's second largest food production site, providing close to 3,000 school lunches daily for high school students and students at Mililani Uka Elementary and Mililani Waena Elementary.

As we have all witnessed recently, our youth can be a powerful force to bring about positive change. That is what is happening with the 'Aina Pono program. Students are demanding the unprocessed, fresh, locally-grown food choices that the 'Aina Pono Farm to School Program is providing. The program has brought local agriculture into school cafeterias, and in the process, educated students and school administrators about the undeniable taste and value of fresh, locally-grown food versus canned, processed food. After tasting the difference, students at Mililani are getting the word out that 'Aina Pono is truly pono for all.

The Hawai'i State Senate hereby honors and commends 'Aina Pono Hawai'i State Farm To School Program upon their logo unveiling. Mahalo for your efforts to improve school lunches for the nutritional benefit of our keiki, while supporting our local farmers. By providing meals for Hawaii's next generation, we can grow an understanding, respect, and aloha for the land.

Michelle N. Kidani, Sponsoring Senator

Mike Gabbard, Sponsoring Senator

Ronald D. Kouchi, President of the Senate

Carol Taniguchi, Clerk of the Senate


Contact Information

Donalyn Dela Cruz

Phone: 808-586-3232

Email: donalyn_dela_cruz@hawaiidoe.org

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