Kona Pacific Receives Kukui Award for Farm to School Programs

At the 2017 Hawaii Agriculture Conference and Farm to School Symposium in Honolulu August 29–30, it was announced that Kona Pacific Public Charter School was selected for recognition as a valued leader in Hawaii’s Farm to School movement.

Robyn Pfahl, the coordinator of Hawaii’s statewide Farm to School Initiative, said “We are excited to honor the amazing farm to school (F2S) connections Kona Pacific Public Charter School (KPPCS) has made through a substantial school garden and food farm program and innovative food service programs.  KPPCS’s strong vision of place-based hands-on learning woven with Hawaiian Culture and sustainable agriculture has created inspiring programs that are shining light on a more direct, locally sourced, community driven way to educate and feed the keiki.

“The school garden learning opportunities and integration of an on-site school food farm and certified school meal and community kitchen are exemplary opportunities to connect keiki with the `āina, farmers with markets, and community producers with resources.  With KPPCS’s passion to source meals through local growers and strengthen food security in their community, KPPCS has become a visionary with the development of a broad-based strategic community partnership that focuses on the food and nutrition needs of charter school students across Hawai`i Island.

“By taking the initiative to start a charter school foodservices hui, KPPCS has offered an opportunity to address the administrative burdens of subsidized school meal compliance while combining smaller purchases to achieve better economies of scale with local producers and distributors.  KPPCS’s farm to school programs are a shining light to inspire others trying to make farm to school connections.”

The state Farm to School Initiative was spearheaded by the Lt. Governor’s office and is a partnership of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, the Department of Education and The Kohala Center. The annual Kukui Award (light, learning and illumination) honors an exemplary school or organization and its work in the field of integrated farm to school activities.

Kayla Strom, our Nutrition Programs Manager, accepted the award on behalf of Kona Pacific. Kayla also participated in a symposium panel discussion on foodservice procurement, and Shannon Ramirez, our FarmCorps Hawaii (AmeriCorps) program director, shared a visual “poster presentation” about the FarmCorps Hawai‘i program.

The conference and symposium was is an exciting opportunity to showcase our work at Kona Pacific to the leaders of the sustainable agriculture and farm to school movements in Hawai’i.