STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1262

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

                  

 

RE:    S.R. No. 126

       S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Donna Mercado Kim

President of the Senate

Twenty-Eighth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2015

State of Hawaii

 

Madam:

 

     Your Committees on Education and Agriculture, to which was referred S.R. No. 126 entitled:

 

"SENATE RESOLUTION ENCOURAGING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO ESTABLISH A VOLUNTARY FARM TO SCHOOL PROGRAM,"

 

beg leave to report as follows:

 

     The purpose and intent of this measure is to encourage the Department of Education to establish the Hawaii Voluntary Farm to School Program to improve school children's access to nutritious foods in public educational institutions by providing Department of Education Complex Areas with the opportunity and option to purchase locally grown food for schools from food safety certified farms in the State; provided that the respective Complex Area Superintendent authorizes participation in the Hawaii Voluntary Farm to School Program.  

 

     Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Farm Bureau, Hawaii Public Health Institute, Hawaii State Teachers Association, Local Food Coalition, Hawaii Farm to School and School Garden Hui, and two individuals.  Your Committees received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Department of Education.  Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Hawaii Island School Garden Network.

 

     Your Committees find that farm to school programs benefit farmers, children, and the community by using locally grown food in school meals, supporting local agriculture, and encouraging sustainable food practices.  Farm to school programs can start small, by locally sourcing even a single product, and can grow from there as the market allows.  A voluntary farm to school program will provide flexibility in implementation by providing opportunity for exploring options and feasibility before participating.

 

     Your Committees have amended this measure by:

 

     (1)  Adding language regarding the Department of Education's need for flexibility in implementing a farm to school program due to the challenges presented by the scale of the Department's food service needs and the requirement that farmers participating in the program be food safety certified; and

 

     (2)  Deleting language requiring a Complex Area Superintendent to authorize the Complex Area's participation in the Hawaii Voluntary Farm to School Program.

 

     As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Education and Agriculture that are attached to this report, your Committees concur with the intent and purpose of S.R. No. 126, as amended herein, and recommend that it be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, in the form attached hereto as S.R. No. 126, S.D. 1.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Education and Agriculture,

 

________________________________

RUSSELL E. RUDERMAN, Chair

 

________________________________

MICHELLE N. KIDANI, Chair