THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

190

THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

Requesting the Department of Education to develop a strategic plan to meet the locally sourced food goals established in Acts 175 and 176, session laws of hawaii 2021.

 

 

 


WHEREAS, the Department of Education (Department) provides an estimated 120,000 meals per day to Hawaii's keiki; and

 

WHEREAS, pursuant to Act 175, Session Laws of Hawaii 2021 (Act 175), the Department has a school food goal of thirty percent of food served in public schools to consist of locally sourced products by 2030; and

 

WHEREAS, pursuant to Act 176, Session Laws of Hawaii 2021 (Act 176), each principal department of the State that purchases produce is required to ensure that a certain percentage of produce purchased is fresh local agricultural products and local value-added, processed, agricultural or food products, with a fifty percent minimum by 2050; and

 

WHEREAS, local farm to school and institution goals were set years out to provide the Department with ample time to coordinate with local producers to develop long-term commitments and scale production through 2050 and beyond; and

 

WHEREAS, the Department's existing budget for the School Food Services Program is estimated at $100,000,000, with $50,000,000 to $60,000,000 dedicated to food purchasing; and

 

WHEREAS, according to the Department's 2022 report to the Legislature, the Department encumbered ten percent of its total food budget on local fresh and processed food for its meal programs; and

 

WHEREAS, according to the Department's 2023 report to the Legislature, the Department encumbered 6.2 percent of its 2022 total food budget of $50,500,000 on local fresh and processed food for its meal programs; and

 

WHEREAS, according to the Department of Agriculture, in 2021-2022, Hawaii fresh produce sales for vegetables, melons, tropical fruits, eggs, bananas, papayas, and taro were $118,700,000; and

 

WHEREAS, the Department's local produce purchases during the 2022 calendar year are equal to 0.82 percent of a sample of Hawaii grown fresh produce sales, showing that local producers are able to provide more than enough local products to meet our local food goals; and

 

WHEREAS, considering that the Department buys local produce from large distributors that markup the price charged by the farmer by an estimated 50 percent, it is likely that the Department's local produce purchases in 2022 are actually 0.54 percent of the sample of Hawaii grown fresh produce sales that can be verified with Department of Agriculture reports; and

 

WHEREAS, the Department has learned many valuable lessons with the Farm to School pilot programs in Kohala and Mililani, demonstrating that school menu development, local food purchasing, and scratch cooking can all provide healthy, nutritious meals to our children while also responsibly saving millions of dollars due to less waste and inefficiencies; and

 

WHEREAS, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department cancelled farm to school contracts like the Hawaii Ulu Cooperative and the Aina Pono Meal of the Month program; and

 

WHEREAS, the Department's Farm to School Coordinator is an important position to support connecting the Department with local farmers and ranchers to increase local food procurement, however that position was vacant for years; and

 

WHEREAS, the Department has stated that they will seek a central kitchen model on Oahu to achieve its local food procurement meals goal; and

 

WHEREAS, the centralized kitchen approach requires larger volumes of food ingredients, volumes too large for the majority of farmers, potentially putting local producers at a disadvantage; and

 

WHEREAS, the Department has yet to provide a strategic evaluation and plan for a centralized kitchen on Oahu in reaching its local food procurement goals as provided in Acts 175 and 176; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2023, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Department of Education is requested to develop a strategic plan to meet the locally sourced food goals established in Acts 175 and 176; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the strategic plan is requested to include the following:

 

(1) The existing processes and systems in place relating to school meals, including existing procurement processes, contracts, and distribution systems;

 

(2) An examination of how the Department currently works with local farmers, ranchers, distributors, and food service providers, including unique contract provisions and any difficulties in fulfilling these contracts;

 

(3) An explanation of how the Department plans to scale up procurement of locally grown food and how that fits into a centralized kitchen model and decentralized school kitchen model;

 

(4) Any plans for ingredient shortages or instances when a local food contractor is unable to fulfill the contract;

 

(5) How the operations and plans for the centralized kitchen model will meet local food procurement goals, including related impacts on school cafeteria responsibilities;

 

(6) The production costs for the development of a centralized kitchen; and

 

(7) Any information technology requirements for improved tracking, reporting, and data collection; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department is urged to fill the vacant Farm to School Coordinator Position; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture, Chairperson of the Board of Education, and Superintendent of Education.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

Farm to School; Department of Education; Strategic Plan