During the first week, Greenwork (USF Partner) had an orientation where we traveled to different places on the island. We went to Malama Kauai’s farm, tried some of the local foods, visited a vendor craft and food fair, and just generally aimed to get us more acquainted with the island and it’s unique culture.
From sandy beaches, and fields of green crops, to mountains hidden by clouds, it’s easy to see why Kauai, Hawaii is considered a paradise. But reflecting on what I learned during the first week and how many farmers there are on the island, it’s strange to realize that most of the food on the island is imported. Through the USF partnership with Greenwork, I have the opportunity to join the efforts of Malama Kauai as they work with local schools to help encourage kids from a young age to foster interest in local agriculture. My role in this endeavor will be to help bridge the gap between small farms and the school system. For my project, I’ll be using Kawaikini as a pilot study — assessing the foods that they would need, finding farmers that could meet those needs, and figuring out how to meet all of the state and federal guidelines for a school lunch program. My favorite part of orientation was going to Poipu beach where I got to see two endangered monk seals sunbathing! I also happened to find a juvenile snowflake morray eel in one of the tidepools at the beach.