“Cultivating healthy habits for our littlest eaters”
– National Farm to School Network
What is “Farm to ECE”?
Farm to Early Care and Education (farm to ECE) promotes child health and well-being through a collection of strategies that are centered in experiential learning, as well as family and community engagement. The three key strategies of farm to ECE include: sourcing local food, school gardens, and food, nutrition, and agriculture education. Collectively, these strategies can ensure that children of all identities and backgrounds can access and learn about local, nutritious food. Farm to ECE strategies extend to all types of ECE settings, including early learning centers, family home programs, preschools, Head Start/Early Head Start, and programs in K-12 school districts.
Connect through our Community of Practice
Learn and share ideas, resources, questions, and best practices with other network members across Washington about gardening, sourcing local food, education, and other food & agriculture topics in ECE settings. Our Community of Practice cultivates connection among farms and ECE settings to work towards an equitable, environmentally responsible food system. Connection is driven through a listserv and regular conference calls. The Washington State Department of Health is the lead organization for this Community of Practice.
Join our Community of Practice and email listserv by following these steps:
- Click on “Join the Network” in the red toolbar at the top of this page
- Complete the “Washington State Farm to School Network Membership Form” and select “Farm to Early Care and Education (ECE)” as your Community of Practice
- Members can email the listserv by sending a message to this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Past conference calls:
- March 18, 2020 at 2pm – View the recordings
- November 7, 2018 – Stream the recording – Audio or Video
- January 9, 2019 – Stream the recording – Audio or Video
- March 6, 2019 – Stream the recording – Audio or Video
- July 3, 2019 – Stream the recording – Audio or Video
- September 4, 2019 – Stream the recording – Audio or Video
Current Farm to ECE Community of Practice Members:
Farm to ECE Resources
Establishing and enhancing Farm to ECE programs:
- A Roadmap for Farm to Early Care and Education: A guide to understanding farm to school opportunities in early care and education settings by the National Farm to School Network
- Farm to Early Childhood Programs: A step-by-step guide by Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems
- Recording of the National Farm to School Network’s February 2019 Farm to ECE in Family Child Care webinar
- Farm to preschool resources on WSDA’s Farm to School Toolkit
- Check out this video of a success story from an early learning center in Wilmington, NC
Racial equity assessment tools for Farm to ECE programs:
- Racial and Social Equity Assessment Tool for Farm to School Programs and Policy by the National Farm to School Network
- Racial Equity Toolkit by the Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative
Food, nutrition, and agriculture education:
- Grow It, Try It, Like It! Fun with Fruits and Vegetables at Family Child Care
- Harvest for Healthy Kids (English and Spanish)
- Currículo de la cosecha del mes (Spanish)
Sourcing local food:
- Resources for early learning centers and family home programs by the National Farm to School Network
- Local Food Purchasing Guide by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems
- Farm to Early Care and Education Local Food Purchasing Resources
- Gardening resources from Team Nutrition
- Steps To A School Garden from Collective School Garden Network
Resources for Farm to ECE During COVID-19:
- Considerations for Outdoor Learning Gardens and Community Gardens from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Farm to school and farm to ECE COVID-19 information and resources by the National Farm to School Network
- The significance of farm to ECE in the context of COVID-19 by the National Farm to School Network
- COVID-19 outdoor learning has information on guidance, equity, outdoor learning infrastructure and school program integration. From Green Schoolyards America.
- Gardening with children and physical distancing by the Snohomish Health District
- Resources to support school gardens during COVID times by the School Garden Support Organization Network
- A webpage and pdf on how to Nurture Young Children’s Health and Curiosity During COVID-19 for ECE providers to communicate how farm to ECE can be helpful during the challenges and uncertainty of COVID-19 pandemic.
- Get Outside! Resources on using outdoor learning to engage children while promoting social distancing from the National Wildlife Federation.
- Farm to ECE social distancing and family friendly activities from the National Farm to School Network
- Community supported agriculture (CSA) and your early care and education program by Rooted.
- CACFP nutrition meals and guidance by the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.