Some early learning programs won’t be able to incorporate every piece of farm to ECE, but even one activity can make an impact. Deciding which pieces to incorporate depends on your resources and priorities. For those who plan on creating a larger farm to ECE program, introducing one piece at a time may be more realistic and sustainable.
Starting farm to ECE can be done at no or very low cost with simple activities such as reading a food-related book at story time, singing songs, doing a taste test with a low cost produce item such as a carrot, watching a video of a farmer, and sprouting seeds in the classroom. Take a look at the curricula and activities linked on the gardening and food, nutrition, and agriculture education pages for more ideas.
Introduction to Farm to ECE
- 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
- Benefits of Farm to School The National Farm to School Network’s factsheet on the benefits of farm to school
- Farm to ECE in Family Child Care recording of the National Farm to School Network’s February 2019 webinar
- Video of a success story from an early learning center in Wilmington, NC
Starting Farm to ECE
- Farm to Early Childhood Programs: A step-by-step guide by Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems
- Farm to Preschool resources on WSDA’s Farm to School Toolkit
- Getting Started with Farm to ECE A handout to help you create a plan of action for your farm to ECE program
- National Farm to School Network Farm to ECE resources, curriculum and activities, research and literature, webinars, and newsletters
- Preschool Wellness and Local Policies Resource list created by the National Farm to School Network includes sample wellness policies and resources for creating wellness policies
- Getting Started with Farm to ECE This worksheet will help you plan your farm to ECE program step-by-step (available in Spanish)
Sustaining Farm to ECE
- Farm to ECE Self-Assessment NFSN and ASPHN’s self-assessment designed to help ECE providers assess their current farm to ECE practices and develop goals and action plans to help grow farm to ECE at their site. Available in both English and Spanish.
- Farm Raisers Learn more about Farm Raisers with examples that emphasize a direct connection with farms and schools
- SPARK Grant Finder The SPARK Grant Finder Tool helps you locate funding for your program. Grants can be used for curriculum, teacher training, or equipment
- NFSN “Funding Farm to School” Fact Sheet Tips for acquiring funds for your program through grants, donations, and special events. Some information can be applied to ECE
One of the keys to sustaining farm to ECE is continual parent engagement and support. Learn more on our engagement resource page.