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NC State Extension

Farm to Childcare

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).

  • 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.”

Growing Minds – Farm to Preschool
Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project

Early Childcare Gardens

Preventing Obesity by Design –  Wake Project. Incorporating production gardens into childcare Outdoor Learning Environments. A project of the Natural Learning Initiative.

The Green Desk
(a resource of North Carolina’s Natural Learning Initiative)

“The Green Desk is a resource for early childhood educators, childcare providers, administrators, and professionals seeking the latest information to create high quality, healthy outdoor environments for young children.”

Childcare Production Gardens Extension Publication series

  1. Composting in Childcare Center Production Gardens (LF-007-07)
  2. Vermicomposting in the Childcare Center Production Gardens (LF-007-08)
    1. School Garden Veggie Planting Guide:  Mountains, Piedmont/Coastal
    2. Veggie Planting Guide- Spin the Wheel:  Mountains, Piedmont/Coastal
    3. Food Safety for School Gardens
    4. Community Gardening Handbook
    5. Poisonous Plant List for Childcare Providers
    6. Soil Testing:  Gardeners Guide, Picture GuideHow-to Video, Soils Lab
    7. NC State Extension Gardening Portal, Growing: Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs

National Resources

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.

Farm to Childcare Curriculum
Activity ideas and resources for implementing Farm to Childcare at childcare centers. “This curriculum was collaboratively developed by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and New Horizon Academy (NHA), a MN-based childcare provider, as part of a pilot Farm to Childcare program….” May 2014

Funding Opportunities

National Head Start Association
Up to $250, must be a Head Start program and member of National Head Start Association

Written By

Joanna Lelekacs, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionJoanna LelekacsExtension Local Food Flagship Program Manager Call Joanna Email Joanna ANR/CRD
NC State Extension, NC State University

Contributing Author

Caroline StoverProject Director Email Caroline Center for Environmental Farming Systems
NC State Extension, NC State University
Page Last Updated: 2 months ago
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