Department of Education; Farm to School Program
Establishes a state farm to school policy, and a farm to school program in the department of education. (SB1179 HD1)
TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2009
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO EDUCATION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that there are numerous benefits to introducing the farm to school program in the State's public schools. The farm to school program connects schools with local farms with the objectives of supporting local agriculture, educating students about food cultivation, mitigating adverse environmental impacts caused by transporting food across long distances, and instilling healthy eating habits in students.
The farm to school program contains two major components. First, students receive education on nutrition, and are taught the value of buying and eating local food. The second component involves the serving of local food in school cafeterias, giving students the choice to eat healthier, more nutritious local produce.
The National Farm to School Program reports that some form of the farm to school program is currently operating in eight thousand seven hundred seventy-six schools in forty different states. In Hawaii, three schools participate in the farm to school program: Aikahi elementary, Moanalua elementary, and Hakipuu learning center. In addition, Haiku elementary buys produce from local farmers when it is available. These schools can serve as models for an expansion of the farm to school program in public schools statewide.
The legislature further finds that the benefits of serving locally produced food in school cafeterias have been demonstrated by the success and growth of the farm to school program in several states, including California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Oregon. Studies conducted by the Center for Food and Justice have found that students who ate from the salad bars provided through the program received an average of fifty-eight per cent more servings of fruits and vegetables than those eating hot meals. Additionally, the farmers supplying produce gained an additional $1,700 monthly on average.
According to the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui, Hawaii imports ninety per cent of its food, pays sixty-six per cent more than the national average for food, and has, at any given time, only seven days' worth of food in the state. The Institute's assessment strongly recommends a decrease in importation of food and an increase in local food production. Students also support the farm to school program. At the 2008 Hawaii secondary student conference, more than seventy per cent of the student delegates supported implementation of the program in the State's public schools.
The demand for inexpensive, local food is growing as global food prices and transportation costs increase. Statewide implementation of the farm to school program would substantially expand the market for local farmers and boost the local farming industry to relieve the State's dependence on imported food.
SECTION 2. The purpose of this part is to support the farm to school program in Hawaii by establishing a farm to school policy in chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes.
SECTION 3. Chapter 302A, part II, subpart C, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§302A- Farm to school policy; established. The legislature finds that the use of locally grown food in schools fosters the long-term health of Hawaii's children and supports the local agricultural industry. The legislature finds and declares that it shall be the policy of the State to encourage and support a farm to school program in Hawaii's public schools."
SECTION 4. The purpose of this part is to establish the farm to school program in Hawaii's public schools.
SECTION 5. Chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§302A- Farm to school program. (a) There is established in the department of education a farm to school program.
The purpose of the farm to school program is to connect schools with local farmers with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing health and nutrition education opportunities that will last a lifetime, and supporting local farmers.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the farm to school program, in consultation as necessary with the department of health, the department of accounting and general services, and the department of agriculture, shall:
(1) Coordinate the identification and development of policies and procedures to implement and evaluate the program;
(2) Investigate the potential of various procurement procedures and tools for school food authorities to purchase local farm products, including procuring from local farmers, processors, and suppliers within larger food contracts;
(3) Educate food service personnel on procurement techniques to promote the use of these techniques for farm to school initiatives implemented under this section;
(4) Implement food preparation training for food service personnel to accommodate sourcing fresh and local produce and products;
(5) Encourage procurement from local farmers, processors, and suppliers for farm produce and products whenever possible under the procurement code;
(6) Encourage all new school construction projects to consider kitchen facilities capable of producing fresh and healthy school meals;
(7) Identify and encourage the use of existing curricula, programs, and publications to educate students on the nutritional, environmental, and economic benefits of preparing and consuming Hawaii-grown produce;
(8) Support efforts to advance other farm to school connections such as farmers markets on school grounds, school gardens, and community-supported agriculture;
(9) Hire a farm to school coordinator to identify local farmers, processors, and suppliers to enhance the farm to school connection;
(10) Identify, target, and promote job creation around farm to school initiatives;
(11) In cooperation with commodity groups and grower associations, use existing web-based market development tools or adopt a voluntary web-based directory of farmers searchable by location; provided that the directory shall be updated and consistently maintained and usable by anyone interested in locating local farmers and local produce and products;
(12) Assist food growers and distributors to market Hawaii-grown produce to schools by informing them of food procurement opportunities, bid procedures, school purchasing criteria, and other requirements;
(13) Investigate opportunities for farmers to supply their products to commercial distributors that service public schools;
(14) Identify and recommend mechanisms that will increase the predictability of sales for producers and the adequacy of supply for purchasers; and
(15) Seek additional private and public sector funds to leverage any appropriations."
SECTION 6. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect on January 1, 2050.