Aloha, HIDOE Community –
Agriculture technology in South Korea
This week a team – including myself, Board of Education member Shanty Asher, Senate Education Committee Chairperson Michelle Kidani, Windward Community College Chancellor Ardis Eschenberg and Castle-Kahuku Complex Area Superintendent Ed Noh – is visiting South Korea to learn more first-hand about the agriculture technology industry. The HIDOE has prioritized workforce development and innovation to ensure students are prepared for existing and emerging careers. Ag-tech and automation are emerging industries for which South Korea has become recognized as a global leader.
Seeing the facilities, equipment, and employees at work and having conversations with industry experts will allow us to better understand how we can prepare students for this near-future work. Visits to schools with strong agriculture and ag-tech educational programs will enable us to develop stronger programs of study in these areas within our own schools. Equipping our education leaders with the knowledge and resources needed to prepare our students to be successful in current and future career fields and thrive here in Hawai‘i supports our workforce innovation initiative.
Increasing locally produced menu items in school meals
During National Farm to School Month in October, nearly 60 of our schools incorporated locally grown ‘uala (sweet potato) in school lunches. We purchased approximately 2,500 pounds of ‘uala from several local farmers as part of our overall effort to increase local menu offerings to students.
To advance that effort, the Department recently posted a Request for Information (RFI) for potential vendors that could include farmers, ranchers, food hubs, processors, cooperatives and distributors to provide HIDOE school cafeterias with local produce, proteins and packaged foods. As the state’s largest institutional consumer of food products, serving over 100,000 students a day, the impact of the farm-and-school initiative will strengthen our local food sustainability and improve the health of students while supporting the state's local food production goals.