Chef David Brown of Kapi'olani Community College

Kapi’olani Community College Recognized for Environmentally Friendly Culinary Practices

by Dr. Robert W. Franco (Director, Office for Institutional Effectiveness, Professor, Pacific Anthropology, Kapi’olani Community College)

Kapi’olani Community College’s Culinary Arts program received the EPA Certificate of Achievement for increasing food waste diversion from landfills by 183% from 2013 – 2014 and preventing 9 metric tons of carbon equivalent. Techniques used were vermi-composting, forced-air composting, waste-oil to biodiesel generation, edible gardens, and aquaponic systems.

The Culinary Arts team is led by Ron Takahashi, Department Chair, and Dave Brown, Pastry Chef Instructor, who is the primary coordinator of the Department’s sustainable food service efforts. The waste oil to biodiesel generation initiative was led by Dr. Kathy Ogata, Assistant Professor, Chemistry, and her undergraduate research and service-learning students. Dr. Ogata developed this initiative after participating in two SENCER Summer Institutes.

This is a great example of interdisciplinary sustainability cross-overs between liberal arts, STEM education, and career and technical education in the community colleges.

The Kapi’olani Service and Sustainability Learning program implements some of these techniques with partners at Palolo public housing with Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander families and with the Waikiki Elementary Food Farm. Both these partnerships have been enhanced with funding from the HUD Office of University Partnerships. The Palolo partnership was additionally supported by the NSF EPSCoR program.

Pictured above: Chef David Brown in a small portion of his sustainable garden. He tends to the garden himself. Photo credit: Kapi’olani Community College.

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