Hawaiʻi Community College and the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo have partnered together on Local First, a new initiative that aims to support the development of farms and the agricultural industry on Hawaiʻi Island by maximizing consumption of produce, meats and other locally grown and/or manufactured products.
To showcase the high quality and variety of local products available, the dining facilities at UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College, both in Hilo and Kona, are currently featuring a 100 percent Local First lunch special once a month through April 18.
The Local First specials are available in the Hawaiʻi Community College’s Manono Campus Cafeteria, the college’s culinary arts program restaurant Bamboo Hale, and at the University of Hawaiʻi Center, West Hawaiʻi in Kealakekua.
Currently, 50–60 percent of the products used by the campuses are locally grown, depending on weather and climate. Island grown, grass-fed beef in hamburgers are used daily.
The effort is not only an attempt to support local farmers and providers, but it’s also an educational opportunity for students. The concept is incorporated into the curriculum for Hawaiʻi Community College’s culinary arts program. Students are planning, preparing and delivering a meal with 100 percent locally grown ingredients while also learning the nutritional, sustainable and economic benefits of utilizing local ingredients and products directly as part of their coursework.
Some of the ingredients used also come from right outside the back door of the Manono Campus Cafeteria where students in the college’s Hawaiʻi Life Styles program maintain a beautiful garden of sugar cane, taro, sweet potato and many herbs.
Learn more about the Local First program as highlighted last month in Hawaii Tribune-Herald.