The Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) is inviting interested vendors such as farmers and distributors to provide product information and feedback to assist in increasing locally sourced food in public schools.
The HIDOE has posted a Request for Information (RFI) for potential vendors that could include farmers, ranchers, food hubs, processors, cooperatives, distributors and others. The information gathered will help in developing the subsequent Request of Proposals (RFP) under the state’s procurement process to provide HIDOE school cafeterias with local produce, proteins and packaged foods.
The Department is the state’s largest institutional consumer of food products, serving over 100,000 students a day. Current locally sourced items in schools statewide consist of ground beef, tomato, papaya and green onion. O‘ahu schools also have local cucumbers and Hawai‘i Island schools have local bananas. In an effort to increase local menu offerings to students, the Department most recently featured local ‘uala, (sweet potato) and poi made from local kalo in school lunches.
The Department’s Farm and School Program aims to enhance food sustainability in Hawai‘i and aligns with Act 175, which focuses on improving the health of students while supporting local farmers.
The RFI has been posted to the Hawaii Awards and Notices Data System (HANDS) and is due by 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023.