Farm to Early Care and Education
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Farm to Early Care and Education (Farm to ECE) enhances the health and education of young children, birth to age six, by developing systems and experiential learning that connect children and their families with local food and farms. It includes any type of activities in ECE environments that incorporate local foods through meals and snacks, taste tests, lessons, farmer visits, cooking, growing food, and/or community and parent involvement.
|NC Farm to ECE Programs||Guides & Toolkits|
|National Resources||Funding Opportunities|
- NC Farm to Early Care and Education Initiative: NC Farm to Early Care and Education (NC F2ECE) connects local farms with local childcare centers to empower the development of community-based, equitable food systems. To achieve this goal, CEFS and its partner organizations assist in developing food procurement systems, connecting resources and people across food systems and early childhood education, and providing children with experiential ways to engage with food.
- Wake County Farm to Child Care Project: Summary of a 9-week Farm to Child Care pilot conducted by Advocates for Health in Action (AHA) and partners Wake County Cooperative Extension and Wake County SmartStart (WCSS).
- Growing Minds – Farm to Preschool: Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project
- Preventing Obesity by Design – Wake Project: Incorporating production gardens into childcare Outdoor Learning Environments. A project of the Natural Learning Initiative.
NC State Extension Publications:
- Composting in Childcare Center Production Gardens
- Vermicomposting in the Childcare Center Production Gardens
- School Garden Veggie Planting Guide: Mountains, Piedmont/Coastal
- Veggie Planting Guide- Spin the Wheel: Mountains, Piedmont/Coastal
- Food Safety for School Gardens
- Community Gardening Handbook
- Poisonous Plant List for Childcare Providers
- Soil Testing: Gardeners Guide, Picture Guide, How-to Video, Soils Lab
- NC State Extension Gardening Portal, Growing: Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs
Other Guides & Toolkits:
- Wake County Farm to Childcare Toolkit: “This toolkit is designed to assist child care center and family child care home directors and staff to take the concept of Farm to Child Care and put it into action. Resources included here will help directors, cooks and teachers implement Farm to Child Care: such as where to purchase North Carolina grown produce, menu planning, activities for the classroom to recipes for fresh, healthy and tasty meals by season.”
- The Green Desk: A resource of North Carolina’s Natural Learning Initiative, “The Green Desk is for early childhood educators, childcare providers, administrators, and professionals seeking the latest information to create high quality, healthy outdoor environments for young children.”
- Children’s Vegetable Gardens: Introduction
- Farm to Preschool
- Growing Edibles in Containers
- Harvesting and Eating Sunflower Seeds
- Selecting, Installing and Managing Plants
- Safely Installing Planters on Asphalt
- Starting Seeds in the Spring
- Raised Planters: Timber Construction
- Tomatoes and Childcare in North Carolina
- Farm to Preschool Network: This organization is working to establish “a cohesive network of farm to preschool-type programs and stakeholder agencies and organizations across the nation.” Find the following information, and more, on the Network’s website.
- National Head Start Association: Up to $250, must be a Head Start program and member of National Head Start Association