MILILANI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There's a new farm-to-school initiative at Mililani High School that's getting the attention of local lawmakers – and famous musicians.
The school hosted a concert by famous North Shore entertainer Jack Johnson on Wednesday in a show of support for a program designed to tap local farms to provide fresh produce the high school can use in its lunches.
The program, which encourages healthy eating and buying local, is called Aina Pono Farm to School. Over the last several weeks, it's been recognized by Lt. Gov. Chin and other DOE officials.
Now, school lunches – which have a street rep of not always being the most appetizing – are being revamped.
"The farm to school new menu items have been more flavorful, the appearance and taste is better, and we're not only supporting local farms, but we're producing less waste," Mililani High School Student Activities Coordinator Janet Ward said.
Students are also seeing value in the program.
"The school senate has been working hard to get student feedback and insight to what students would like in our cafeteria. We love how this initiative supports local farms and teaches the students about sustainability," Associated Students of Mililani High School President Alyssa Yamada-Barretto said.
"A huge thanks to all those who are helping make this vision become a reality," she added.
Jack Johnson and fellow entertainers Paula Fuga and David Kahiapo to jammed to a small crowd in a cafeteria concert for the kids for Wednesday's kick-off meal.
"When you see all that food being made from scratch you realize that more food from Hawaii, farmers grew that food here, that food is coming to the schools now. As this grows, it'll put more farmers on the land," said Johnson, co-Founder and vice-president of Kokua Hawaii Foundation.
The students also helped with a two-week audit of their lunch waste audit and that was spearheaded by Johnson's foundation to collect data for the program.
The first public school to kick off the Aina Pono Farm to School program was Kohala High and Elementary. Next is a Maui school. The goal is one day have scratch made meals in every public school.
"We are revamping all school meals across the state. Here right now we are doing about 60 percent processed and 40 percent fresh food and we are trying to increase local," said Albert Scales, School Food Branch Program Administrator.
Aina Pono hopes to increase local food purchases by the Hawaii DOE to 40 percent.