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New program aims to expand Farm to School concept beyond lunch

ulu breadfruit Adela’s Country Eatery noodles kaneohe
Catherine Cruz
/
HPR
ʻUlu at Adela's Country Eatery in Kāneʻohe on Oʻahu.

Earlier this month, the Hawaiʻi ʻUlu Cooperative launched its new Hoʻopili ʻAi Program, in partnership with the Farm to School Hui and Chef Hui.

The program aims to build bridges between K-5 students and Hawaiʻi-grown food — such as kalo (taro), ʻulu (breadfruit), and ʻuala (sweet potato).

Participating schools and classrooms have the option of receiving one of two box plans. The classroom box contains education materials and 25 individual pre-packaged produce for students and families to try at home.

"Students get to experience food in a variety of ways," said Lydi Bernal, Oʻahu Farm to School coordinator at the University of Hawaiʻi's College of Tropical Agriculture. "What this campaign includes are education videos. It includes a very simple, easy lesson plan to introduce students to nutritional value of the foods — to the farmers that grow them. And then what it culminates in is having them actually taste the foods."

Bernal tells HPR that the education materials are standards-aligned lesson plans for K-5 classrooms.

The program's cafeteria box contains 25 pounds of pre-packaged, pre-cooked and frozen locally-grown starches. The boxes are designed to allow school food service staff to easily prepare the tasting samples for students.

More information can be found at ulu.coop/hoopiliai.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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