Mao farms is located on 24 acres In Waianae on the island of Oahu and is the largest organic farm on the island. It’s also home to Kauhale, a youth leadership training program which is made of interns who make a two-year commitment to work part-time in exchange for college tuition waivers and a $500 a month stipend. Perhaps more importantly, learn leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

The program caught the eye of Michelle Obama who’s been following the progress of the farm over the years and what it should draw attention to the success of the program. She met with its directors and interns to learn firsthand how the operation works. She then sat down for a roundtable discussion where she acknowledged the achievements of the interns and led a talk about youth leadership.

She also took time to draw parallels between what’s happening at Mao and the obesity campaign she is passionate about. Teaching children early about making healthy eating choices part of their everyday life is at cornerstone of her fight obesity initiatives in schools. She said that what’s happening at Mao Farms is what she is trying to work to accomplish across the country. She said that she’s reaching out to chefs in communities and asking them to adopt a school by providing healthy menu choices in the public schools.

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