‘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 systematically increase state purchasing of local food for our school menus as well as connect our keiki with the ‘āina (land) through their food, using products from the local agricultural community.


The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE), the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and The Kohala Center are working collaboratively on the Farm to School Initiative, with a goal to systematically increase local food in school lunches as well as connect our keiki with the ‘āina (land) through their food, using products from the local agricultural community. 

Spearheaded by former Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui in 2015, the Farm to School Initiative was created to increase locally grown food in student meals. The effort started around a pilot program in the Kohala Complex Area through a partnership with HIDOE, HDOA and The Kohala Center. The kitchen located at Kohala High serves about 600 meals a day to its students, as well as Kohala Elementary and Kohala Intermediate schools. It also serves as a cooking and education lab, while providing needed data on costs and waste to inform scaling the program in other regions. The video above provides an overview of the effort.

Today, the Farm to School Initiative is included under 'Aina Pono, which also incorporates school gardens, nutrition, health and food education, test kitchens, meal programs and menu planning at Hawaii's public schools. The effort to include more local ingredients in student meals is made possible through various community partnerships and continued support frovarious local farms across the state.

Next Farm to School Site: Mililani High

Mililani High School will be the next participant in the 'Aina Pono Farm to School program. Mililani High is HIDOE's second largest food production site, providing about 2,500 school lunches daily for approximately 1,000 high school students and an additional 1,500 students at Mililani Uka Elementary and Mililani Waena Elementary.

Starting this February, Chef Greg Christian, president and founder of Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners, will be working with Mililani High’s Cafeteria Manager Debora Kam and her staff.

For more information, click here

‘Aina Pono Harvest of the Month Program

HIDOE continues its efforts to include local agriculture in student meals through its 'Aina Pono Harvest of the Month program, which kicked off in December 2017 with locally grown beef. In January 2018, HIDOE served fresh, local bananas at all public schools. 

This February, local papayas from Hawaii's farmers will be used to make papaya bread from scratch in our school cafeterias statewide. Click here for more information. 

Want to recreate the delicious papaya bread at home? Here's the recipe:

Uncle Jeff's Papaya Bread


  • 7 ⅛ ounces all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ ounce baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ ounce cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ⅞ ounces vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 medium-sized fresh papaya
  • 9 ⅝ ounces sugar


  1. Measure and weigh out ingredients. Sift all dry ingredients. Set aside.
  2. Combine sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract in mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for seven minutes. Reduce speed to low and add papaya.
  3. Once well mixed, add dry ingredients and mix for one minute on low speed.
  4. Pour batter into bread pan.
  5. Bake at 350° F for 30 to 45 minutes.

Servings: 12. Nutrition information per serving (1 piece): 254 calories; 12 g fat (2 g saturated); 39 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3 g protein; 92 mg sodium. 

(Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrient levels may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients, etc. Value of the menu item is listed in grams (g) of carbohydrates rounded to the nearest whole number. While we do our best to ensure accuracy, we make no representation or warranty regarding the information contained in this document. Although we are providing nutritional information for our menus, the information in this document is for informational purposes only. No information, services or materials offered shall be construed as or understood to be medical advice or care.)

Strategic Plan 2017-2020

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