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.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.