Farm to early care and education (farm to ECE) offers increased access to the same three core elements of local food sourcing, school gardens and food and agriculture education to enhance the quality of the educational experience in all types of ECE settings (e.g., preschools, child care centers, family child care homes, Head Start/Early Head Start, programs in K – 12 school districts). Farm to ECE offers benefits that parallel the goals and priorities of the early care and education community including emphasis on experiential learning opportunities, parent and community engagement and life-long health and wellness for children, families and caregivers.
Why Farm to Early Care and Education?
Ohio Farm to ECE work
Ohio is one of 10 states awarded the ASPHN Farm to ECE Implementation Grant (FIG). Our newly formed Ohio Farm to Early Care and Education Coalition seeks to support processes that get more nutritious, local foods to young children in early care settings, while supporting more local farmers. We especially want to increase opportunities for children of color and farmers from underrepresented populations, and we recognize that we need more voices at our table to do this well. The newly expanded coalition will submit a policy recommendation to improve Ohio’s obesity prevention and child nutrition standards. The coalition will also create/pilot an innovative ECE procurement innovation.
Prior to the FIG, Ohio was involved in the ASPHN Farm to ECE Mini CoIIN. The goal of this project was to support and enhance state level farm to early care and education (ECE) initiatives to increase the quality of ECE settings and access to healthy environments for young children by July 2020. This project will provide technical guidance and support for state teams utilizing a quality improvement process to increase the number of ECEs conducting sustainable, comprehensive farm to ECE.
Learn more about the former Mini CoIIN initiative and Ohio’s plan here.
Farm to ECE Resources
- Getting Started with Farm to ECE
- Getting Started: Planning Guide for Farm to ECE
- Research and literature on Farm to ECE
- The significance of Farm to ECE in the context of COVID-19
How to Buy Local Food for Early Care sites
- Local Procurement for Child Care Centers
- Local Food for Little Eaters:
- Step-by-Step Guide Farm to Early Childhood
- How to Buy, Prepare and Serve Local Foods
How to Serve Local Food for Early Care sites
- How to integrate local foods into meals/snacks
- School Garden Food Safety Manual
- Taste Test guide from WI (Home Grown Taste Test Guide)
Tools to teach about food
- Creative Curriculum Guide
- NFSN Coloring Pages
- Healthy Children Healthy Weights- Rings of Fun
- Pint Size Produce Farm to ECE Activities