Sustʻāina ble Molokai would like to thank all the local farmers who supplied us with fresh produce for Maunaloa and Kilohana Elementary Schools’ Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program (FFVP) this year. This is a federally funded program, which allows students to receive a snack of a fresh fruit or vegetable every Tuesday and Thursday, along with information on how the item was grown and its nutritional benefits.
We would also like to thank everyone at Maunaloa and Kilohana Elementary Schools who contributed to the successful implementation of this program, including the Principals, cafeteria managers, administrative staff, along with all of the teachers who welcomed us into their classrooms and schedules. (It should be noted that Kualapu’u Elementary serves FFVP every day, and we were able to help them source local produce for their program a few times as well.)
Thanks to our island farmers, we were able to serve Maunaloa and Kilohana students over 50% Molokai-grown produce through this snack program. This included papaya, starfruit, oranges, carrots, cucumbers, green and purple asparagus, and apple bananas. In addition, mahalo to Friendly Market, who helped us order “exotics” such as blackberries, blueberries, Asian pears, cantaloupe, and more; and to Molokai Community Health Center, who let us rent their kitchen to prep. We were also able to hire part-time workers to help implement the program, Maddie Stark and Zena Wetzel – you guys were amazing! Zena was able to do this AND receive college credit through our partnership with the UH Maui College Molokai Agricultural Program, which offers paid internships, coordinated by Jamie Ronzello.
It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm the kids had for trying these local products, which was a first-time experience for some of them. One of the primary goals of this program is to get kids used to eating fresh local produce. It also exposes them to new fruits and vegetables, encouraging them to eat fresh produce regularly. Our hope is that they will have fun, enjoy the fresh snack, and that this will help lead to better eating habits and improved lifelong health.
We hope to offer more local produce to all of the island’s schools through this program, as well as local produce and proteins through our schools’ meal programs. To do this, we need more growers, so please let us know if you have product, or if you are interested in growing for this program next school year. Schools may also contact us if you would like to work on getting more local produce into your cafeterias. Our goal is to make these connections simple for both sides. If you’re interested, please contact Harmonee at 560-5410 or [email protected] Mahalo!