Report Title:

UH; DOE; Farm to School Program; Education; Appropriation

 

Description:

Establishes a farm to school policy in chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes; directs the University of Hawaii to convene interested stakeholders to consider the feasibility of introducing the farm to school program in Hawaii's public schools. (SD1)

 


THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

1179

TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2009

S.D. 1

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 farm to school programs is currently operating in 8,776 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 $1700 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.

PART I

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."

PART II

SECTION 4. The purpose of this part is to direct the University of Hawaii, college of tropical agriculture and human resources, in cooperation with the department of agriculture, the department of education, and the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, to convene a working group of stakeholders to consider the feasibility of establishing a farm to school program in Hawaii's public schools.

SECTION 5. (a) The University of Hawaii, college of tropical agriculture and human resources, in cooperation with the department of agriculture, department of education, and the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, shall convene a working group of stakeholders to consider the feasibility of establishing a farm to school program in Hawaii's public schools, including but not limited to an assessment of the:

(1) Student preferences and nutritional requirements;

(2) Infrastructure needs and costs of implementing the farm to school program statewide;

(3) Financial aspects of implementing the program, including price differentials between locally produced and imported products; and

(4) Regulations and potential compliance issues as they relate to federal school food programs.

(b) The University of Hawaii, college of tropical agriculture and human resources, shall submit its findings and recommendations to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2010.

SECTION 6. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2009-2010 for a feasibility study on establishing the farm to school program in the State's public schools.

The sum appropriated shall be expended by the University of Hawaii, college of tropical agriculture and human resources, for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 7. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 8. This Act shall take effect upon its approval; provided that section 3 shall take effect on July 1, 2009.