Promoting Healthy Food Systems

By Joy Barua
Wednesday - July 20, 2011 Share

By Joy Barua, Director, Community
Benefit Kaiser Permanente Hawaii

Since our founding more than 50 years ago, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii has been actively involved in our local communities. Through our Community Benefit program, we are working with community partners to improve the health of Hawaii and its people.

As part of this mission, Kaiser Permanente encourages healthy eating and supporting local farmers. As we like to say, “Locally ono, health pono” by eating local we promote a robust food commerce and healthier communities.

At a time when Hawaii imports approximately 85 percent of its food, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii is committed more than ever toward improving our islands’ self-sufficient food systems and supporting local agriculture.

Because we strongly believe that what we eat shapes our health, we have supported several initiatives to promote nutritious eating habits and empower communities to make better food choices, including:

Keiki participate in Kokua Hawaii Foundation’s ‘AINA in Schools program, a program supported by Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit program. Photo courtesy Kokua Hawaii Foundation

Kanu Hawaii’s “Eat Local Challenge” provides information on where residents can find affordable and healthy local food and produce. More than 50 businesses and 13,000 online followers have committed to the challenge.

Hawaii’s first Food Policy Council in partnership with the state of Hawaii, Office of Community Services, promotes nutritious diets and sustainable food systems through program development, research and advocacy.

Kokua Hawaii Foundation’s Aina in Schools program works with 10 Oahu schools on environmental stewardship, childhood obesity prevention and efforts to link Hawaii’s farmers to institutional markets.

Food nourishes and sustains us, brings people together, creates opportunities to learn about cultures, determines our health and so much more.

Making healthy food affordable and accessible should be part of any healthy food commerce and advocacy. Let’s all get involved, make a commitment to eat well and lead healthier lifestyles.

For more information on Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefits program and how you can support nutritious, sustainable agriculture in Hawaii, call 432-5673 or visit

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