Linking the Food and Health Pieces Together

When working to improve the health of the community and strengthen the local food system, all the pieces of the puzzle are needed. While each part is crucial, the system will not change in any meaningful or lasting way unless all components are present and working together. Without awareness, policies will not be examined. Without policies, actions will not be sustained. Without access, change is not an option. Without education and relationships, access is futile. Families, Farmers and Educators United (FFEU) aims to address all of these components in order to sustain positive change. We spread awareness about the growing childhood obesity issue, we work toward policy change within child care settings, we provide access to nutritious and local food through Community Supported Agriculture and gardening, and we emphasize education and relationship-building through educator trainings and family farm field trips.

In past articles, we have shared photos and stories about Community Supported Agriculture, gardening and cooking with kids. Over the past year and a half, we have also hosted a number of trainings for early educators that provide information about nutrition, local foods, food preparation and gardening. Recently, FFEU organized a weekend family field trip to Maggie's Farm where young children and families got to meet farmer, Barbara Clark and her sheep. Children also got a chance to dig potatoes and plant their own gourds to take home. Through education and family outreach, we hope to change the minds and habits of the early educators and families in a positive way. Children learn from the adults in their lives. By increasing the awareness of adults, we hope that children's lives and health will be improved along the way.

We love being a part of the Lawrence and Douglas County community where community members are making a difference in the health and lives of children. On the same morning as our Maggie's Farm field trip, the Garden Incubator (a child-centered community garden next to Ballard Community Services) partnered with Dads of Douglas County and the 2012 Summer Fun Hunt for a kids hunt in the veggie maze. This Saturday, Growing Food, Growing Health will host a 5K to support their school gardens. The FFEU program is just one of the amazing groups working toward similar goals, and we are grateful to be a piece of the health and gardening puzzle here in Douglas County. Perhaps together, the solution to childhood obesity will no longer be so puzzling!

Finding delicious pears at Maggie's Farm orchard!

Finding delicious pears at Maggie's Farm orchard! by Healthy Sprouts

Maggie's Farm Field Trip

Maggie's Farm Field Trip by Healthy Sprouts

Farmer, Barbara Clark shows the group how she spins her sheep's wool into yarn

Farmer, Barbara Clark shows the group how she spins her sheep's wool into yarn by Healthy Sprouts

Digging potatoes!

Digging potatoes! by Healthy Sprouts

Finding treasures beneath the dirt!

Finding treasures beneath the dirt! by Healthy Sprouts

So, THAT'S where beans come from!

So, THAT'S where beans come from! by Healthy Sprouts

Look what I found!

Look what I found! by Healthy Sprouts

Staring contest

Staring contest by Healthy Sprouts

Introduction to Gardening and Local Foods Training

Introduction to Gardening and Local Foods Training by Healthy Sprouts

Chef, Rick Martin conducts a Local Food Tasting and Preparation training

Chef, Rick Martin conducts a Local Food Tasting and Preparation training by Healthy Sprouts

Root for Food Curriculum Training

Root for Food Curriculum Training by Healthy Sprouts

At a What's On Your Plate training, early educators partake in the Little Red Hen story

At a What's On Your Plate training, early educators partake in the Little Red Hen story by Healthy Sprouts

Early educators learned all about whole grains at the What's On Your Plate Training

Early educators learned all about whole grains at the What's On Your Plate Training by Healthy Sprouts

Tagged: children, farm, early education, CSA, wellness, local food, health, obesity, childhood obesity

Comments

DCCDA 1 year, 8 months ago

We plan to begin work toward written wellness policies at child care centers in the fall. We also hope to encourage child care centers to participate in WorkWell Lawrence. Thank you for the link to this document, Charlie--it looks like it will serve to be very helpful in this process!

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Charlie Bryan 1 year, 9 months ago

In your work to improve the health of young children, have you considered examining the written policies used by childcare centers in Douglas County?

The following report might be a useful reference document for better understanding the impact childcare center policies have on the health of preschool-aged children:

http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resources/upload/docs/what/communities/WellnessChildCareAssessmentTool_JADA_12.11.pdf

Here's a quote found near the end of the article:

"The Wellness Child Care Assessment Tool is, to our knowledge, the first instrument developed to quantitatively assess both the strength and comprehensiveness of written policies on nutrition and physical activity at child-care centers. This instrument provides a means through which written policies can be compared across programs and will be useful for studying predictors or consequences of child-care wellness policies."

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DCCDA 1 year, 9 months ago

That's a great idea. We will continue posting about our progress, and as we get further into the policy realm, we would love to share what we find!

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Marilyn Hull 1 year, 9 months ago

Targeting the little ones is such a good strategy.

I would love to see a post about the types of policy solutions you think are worth pursuing.

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