HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Local ingredients will be a main attraction on menus at 148 restaurants statewide for the month-long Localicious Hawaii campaign. The Hawaii Agricultural Foundation (HAF) promotion from March 1-31 supports Ag education in public schools, through sales of dishes featuring local produce, meat or seafood.
Restaurants will donate $1 for every Localicious dish sold in March to HAF's Veggie U educational program to expand to more classrooms. 113 Hawaii public schools currently have garden kits and curriculum received in connection with the Localicious Hawaii campaign.
Now in its third year, Localicious Hawaii's message to support restaurants that buy local hits home. The looming closure of H C & S sugar operations on Maui reinforces the value of the HAF mission to promote sustainability of Hawaii's ag industry.
"It is even more critical today to support local farmers, fishermen, and ranchers" stresses HAF Board Chair Dean Okimoto. "People need to start looking at what agriculture brings to this state, and if they want more sustainability, they must really start committing to buying and supporting local ag production."
Veggie U teaches that lesson to our youth. Chef Matt Young of Hula Grill, a restaurant that adopted 5 classrooms last year says "Each time we visit with the kids we try to educate them on how important it is to support our local farmers and our economy."
August Ahrens Elementary School 4th grade teachers provided this testimonial: "Veggie U gave our students the opportunity to participate in engaging hands-on lessons, visit a local farm, be encouraged & exposed to healthy foods, and start a class garden." As part of the month-long educational campaign, students in grades K-6 are encouraged to enter an art and essay contest called "Eat Local- My Favorite Dish Created with Locally Grown Produce." There are two categories, an art contest for students in grades K – 3 and an art and essay contest for students in grades 4 – 6. Winners will receive a class party with a celebrity chef , farmer and an iPad mini.
For details, visit www.localicioushawaii.com/agcontest.