How YOU can support Farm to Preschool

Did you know there is a growing national Farm to Preschool movement? Douglas County is a part of the movement and you can be involved in a number of ways! But first, you might be wondering, "What is Farm to Preschool?" Farm to Preschool (or Child Care) has many of the same goals and activities as Farm to School programs. The National Farm to School Network increases access to local food and nutrition education to improve children’s health, strengthen family farms, and cultivate vibrant communities. Today, all 50 states participate in Farm to School in one way or another.

Now there is growing recognition that it is also important to reach children at an even younger age with access and education around local foods. Here is what farmtopreschool.org has to say about the movement: “Farm to Preschool is a natural expansion of the national farm to school model and encompasses a wide range of programs and activities. Farm to Preschool serves the full spectrum of child care delivery: preschools, Head Start, center-based, programs in K-12 school districts, nurseries and family home care facilities. Its goals are multi-level and include: influencing the eating habits of young children while their preferences are forming; creating healthy lifestyles through good nutrition and experiential opportunities such as gardening; improving healthy food access at home and within the community; and ultimately influencing policies to address the childhood obesity epidemic through a local food lens. Program activities can take an environmental and systems change approach by serving preschoolers, teachers and child care providers, parents and family members, as well as communities.
Program components can include the following: sourcing local foods in school snacks and meals; promoting and increasing access to local foods for providers and families; offering nutrition and/or garden-based curricula; school gardening; in-class food preparation and taste testing; field trips to farms, farmers’ markets and community gardens; parent workshops; implementing preschool wellness policies which address Farm to Preschool principles; and influencing policies at the local, state or national level.”

Douglas County’s Farm to Preschool program, Families, Farmers and Educators United includes most of the above components. We would love more community involvement! So, how can you get involved? We have a few ideas!

• Post here, or email some of your favorite gardening, cooking, nutrition, or farm-related activities to do with young children. We might include your activity in our Root for Food curriculum!

• Subscribe to pick up fresh produce at one of the Community Supported Agriculture drop-off sites (contact Emily to find out your options).

• Send us examples of wellness policies that have been successful in your workplace or child care setting.

• Donate gardening supplies!

• Connect your organization to ours! If you are involved in health, gardening or local food systems through education, policy, research, outreach or any other way, we want to collaborate!

Let’s work TOGETHER toward a healthier, more sustainable community!

Contact Emily Hampton with ideas or more details: emily@dccda.org

Young children at a local farm

Young children at a local farm by Healthy Sprouts

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

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