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Farm-to-School in Laupahoehoe PDF Print E-mail

Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School has recently received a USDA Farm-to-School Planning Grant. According to Jenny Bach, Farm-to-School Planning Director, the grant will be used to draft “a detailed implementation plan to create a robust farm-to-school program. “

Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School has a jump on the process, though! They already have a trial organic garden on the property and are testing out crops.  The plan is to convert a portion of the 33-acre campus to a large-scale organic farm.  The on-campus farm will grow 2-3 crops for the cafeteria, with an emphasis on foods that the students enjoy—carrots, cherry tomatoes and watermelon. They are growing fast…the school plans on having crops in the cafeteria by May. Locally grown taro, breadfruit, sweetpotato, beef and local fish will be added to the menu later. 

The goals of the Farm-to-School planning grant are to:

· Improve the nutritional health and well being of children. Including using local and seasonal organic food from organic farms and the school garden.

· Support experiential nutritional and educational activities.

· Procure local foods from small and medium sized farms, thereby increasing farm income by facilitating farmers’ access to school and other local markets.

· Develop a sustained commitment to a farm-to-school program in the community.

The project must abide by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service guidelines, so part of the planning grant is to work out the specifics of how to incorporate organic, locally grown foods into the school lunch program. Among other things, that may mean developing the food safety certification infrastructure necessary for the school and local farms to utilize. 

Currently, the school has some of the classes and students participating in gardening and cooking classes, but the goal is to integrate the garden program in to the school curriculum through project-based learning. 

“We don’t want to import so much food from the mainland when we have such an amazing variety of food in Hamakua,” says Jenny Bach, “We want to support local, organic farmers and improve the eating habits and health of the children by teaching them about seasonal foods.”

Jenny sees the biggest challenge to the program being the school budget for food. “Local and organic can sometimes cost more than the mass produced, pre-packaged food cafeterias are accustomed to buying,” say Bach.

Once the team at Laupāhoehoe Public Charter School gets it all figured out, they will be sharing the “how-to” and lessons learned with other schools that want to implement a comprehensive farm-to-school program.

"There is a growing awareness and interest in communities across Hawai‘i to reconnect children to the land and the true source of their food and health,” says Nancy Redfeather, Program Coordinator of the Hawai‘i Island School Garden Network. “Growing our own and creating new relationships with our local farmers will eventually sprout Farm-to-School programs that will change the way children eat, improving their health and growing a local economy." 

If you have any questions or want to help the project grow, please contact Jenny Bach 962-2200 x227 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it The school’s website is


Rusty's Hawaiian Coffee PDF Print E-mail

Like coffee itself, the story of the success of Rusty’s Hawaiian coffee is bittersweet.  When Rusty and Lorie Obra moved from New Jersey to Ka‘u with a dream to coax a coffee farm out of old sugarcane land, they had no idea that seven years later, after Rusty’s untimely death, Lorie would be left on her own with a big farm and a big dream.

And Rusty was a man with a dream—to make Ka‘u coffee some of the best in the world. 


Pigs, Potatoes and Ulu Mau Puanui PDF Print E-mail

The drive along Kohala mountain road between Hawi and Waimea is one of the most beautiful in the world.  The landscape is dominated by a sea of green grass, the color ever changing with the passing of the sun and clouds. Deep green tree-covered pu‘u (cinder cones) rise up out of the landscape like giant waves. The strong wind sweeps through—bringing rain, rainbows, moonbows. Black and white cows blink their sweet eyes at passerby.

If you look carefully makai (towards the ocean) you can see rock walls and contours in the landscape. Climbing on top of Pu‘u Kehena, the vertical and horizontal delineations below become even clearer. Obvious, really. The past is hidden right under our eyes.

A Kiawe Forest in Puako - The terroir behind Volcano Island Honey PDF Print E-mail

Richard Spiegel - Volcano Island Honey

Terroir is a French word that describes thesense of place” that you can taste in an agricultural product. According to Wikipedia, the concept of terroir “is the special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the plant's genetics, expressed in agricultural products.” Most frequently applied to wine, terroir is also used to explain the unique taste qualities in coffee, cheese, tea and…honey! It may be a little hard to explain terroir, but it is easy to taste it. Especially when we are talking about the Organic White Honey from Volcano Island Honey Company.

The Essential Ingredients in Waimea Body Essentials PDF Print E-mail

Your skin is the largest organ in your body! Waimea Body Essentials owner Jane Hanano’s latest line of body products is called ‘ili—which means skin in Hawaiian. Jane believes that healthy skin is key to a healthy body.

Making luscious body products is actually a third career for Jane. She started out as a court reporter in Kansas and was then assistant to the headmaster at Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy for 13 years. Jane’s father was a farmer and rancher in Kansas, where she grew up, and she was raised with a “have your own business mentality.”  When she left her job at HPA, her latent entrepreneurial upbringing began to take root.


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