‘Righteous meal’

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Hawaii First Lady Dawn Ige chats with Executive Chef Mike Young of the Sheraton Kauai Resort and Josh Uyehara of Hartung Brothers Hawaii, board chair for the Kekaha Agricultural Association.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Hawaii First Lady Dawn Ige enjoys her lunch alongside Waimea High School students Wednesday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Dexter Kishida of the state Department of Education, left, serves up the heart of the shrimp taco lunch Wednesday at the Waimea High School cafeteria.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    State Sen. Kai Kahele photobombs a Waimea High School student’s shrimp taco lunch Wednesday while waiting in line for his own lunch.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Waimea High School culinary academy instructor Kui Souza, left, welcomes the state Senate Ways and Means Committee to a tour of his academy classroom Wednesday as Kallen Wachi runs video of the group’s reactions.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    State Sen. Kai Kahele breaks away from the state Senate Ways and Means Committee tour Wednesday to talk to Waimea High School student Eilon Jamorabon about the lettuce growing in the school’s farming program.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Robert Kanna of Kauai Shrimp, left, gets a photo Wednesday morning as Dexter Kishida of the state’s Department of Education put finishing touches on the shrimp taco lunch being prepared by Waimea High School culinary arts academy students Hermz Pascual, Kierstin Gummerus, Jaszarae Cudanes and Jemaica Tumbaga in the school’s cafeteria.

WAIMEA — As Kallen Wachi monitored the movement of VIPs at Waimea High School Wednesday morning, he noticed the crowd of students around them.

“Normally, we get about a fourth of this, but when the students found out we were having shrimp, everybody came for lunch,” he said.

Wachi was recording the tour that included Hawaii first lady Dawn Ige and a contingent of officials celebrating the launch of the ‘Aina Pono Program (Farm to School) for 2020.

While education and government leaders prepared Kauai Shrimp alongside students from the Waimea High School culinary academy, the remainder toured the campus, paying special attention to the garden program and the creative-media studios.

“This is a very important tour,” said one of the 30 student ambassadors. “Up until now, the most we’ve had were eighth-grade students. This is impressive, having the state leaders here.”

Following a pilot program on the Big Island in 2016, ‘Aina Pono’s goals include systematically increasing the Hawaii DOE purchasing of local food for school breakfast, lunch and snack programs, with a target of 40% local food.

‘Aina Pono also wants an increase in participation in child nutrition programs. Other goals include increasing student consumption of healthy foods in school, and that the costs will be covered by savings generated by decreased waste and increased efficiencies.

“‘Aina pono” loosely translates to “righteous meal,” or “good meal,” and “pono” is about doing what is right.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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