In an effort to cultivate strong and responsible relationships with island farmers, Sodexo, dining services partner at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, launched the “Local First” initiative.
The program involves on-site visits by Sodexo chefs and management to local produce farmers, ranchers and seafood harvesters to gain full understanding of best practices and seasonal availability of local foods.
“The insights gained are instrumental in planning a fresh, varied and sustainable menu,” said Bridget Awong, Sodexo general manager for UH-Hilo. “The University is extremely enthusiastic about our sustainable, culinary contributions.”
According to Awong, students, faculty and staff appreciate the fresh, seasonal offerings and have come to know local vendors and food suppliers through Sodexo’s annual Food Festival hosted every October.
The food festival provides a platform for local food producers to introduce different varieties of produce, offer new product samplings and taste test new recipes.
“This has created a fun and informative community event that instills a connection to the source of our food,” said Awong. “Our ‘Local First’ initiative has grown to be a community asset and the university takes pride in these achievements.”
For more information, contact Julie Callahan, UH-Hilo University Dining Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (808) 932-7352.